Apple reconsiders policy after Trent Reznor goes on the offensive

Trent Reznor has prevailed in a row with Apple – and it could be good news for Eric Cartman.

The Nine Inch Nails frontman had reacted angrily after the company rejected an update to the official iPhone application for the band. Apple explained that it had rejected the app for inappropriate content, specifically the inclusion of the album The Downward Spiral which contains some explicit language – or as CNET’s Chris Matyszczyk poetically put it, “The Downward Spiral is a 1994 album that laces a touch of earthy nihilism into a musical screwdriver of heavy psychological meltdown.”

As is now a familiar pattern with Apple, the rejection was inconsistent on a couple of grounds. For one thing, the offending songs can be bought through iTunes and played on the phone without any problems. For another, this was merely an update and the original version of the app – complete with The Downward Spiral – had already been approved by Apple.

Whereas most developers would hire a lawyer to issue a statement urging Apple to reconsider its assessment at the earliest opportunity, Reznor had a response more appropriate to the circumstances: “Thanks Apple for the clear description of the problem—as in, what do you want us to change to get past your stupid ****ing standards? … Come on Apple, think your policies through and for ****’s sake get your app approval scenario together.”

Reznor now reports that the app has been accepted by Apple complete with the album, posting on twitter to say: “The NIN iPhone app is unchanged, the ‘issues’ seem to have been resolved.” Apple isn’t commenting on the issue.

Fortunately for Reznor, he’s having a smoother ride elsewhere online. He’ll be receiving a special award at this year’s Webby ceremony recognizing his success in making the band’s latest album available as a free download. Winners are traditionally limited to a five word acceptance speech, which presumably means Reznor will have to leave out two terms from George Carlin’s list.

Assuming the Apple decision over the Nine Inch Nails app constitutes a firm policy rather than simply backtracking over media reports, the company should now have to revisit its decision to reject a South Park app. It turned down the app on the grounds that it contained offensive content (which is kind of the point), despite the same clips being available through the iTunes video store.

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