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Izneo Removes 40% of Their Catalog After Receiving Censorship Threats From Apple

powergirl-bd[1]Apple, a company with a long history of censoring content, is back again today with a new purity campaign.  Reports are coming in that the digital comics distributor Izneo has had to radically prune their catalog or face banishment from iTunes.

Izneo has been selling digital comics on the iPad since they released an iPad app in mid-2010, and they successfully built a catalog of over 4000 French and Belgian titles. Business was good and everything was going fine until late Friday night when one of Apple's censors noticed that Izneo sold adult comics. And since Apple clearly cannot allow their precious iPad to be sullied by salacious content, the censor abruptly gave Izneo 30 hours to remove all adult comics.

IDBoox broke the story earlier today, and they report that Izneo had absolutely no warning that there was a problem or guidance as to which titles needed to be removed.  All they were reportedly told by Apple was that the adult content had to go, so Izneo drastically pruned any comic that showed a breast, cleavage, and  even ones with characters evoking a suggestive gesture.

All in all 2800 titles were initially pulled from the iPad app. After removing the titles, the Izneo staff went through a second time and restored some of the less explicit titles. Izneo is back up to a catalog of 2500 titles, far fewer than they had before.

Izneo has not released any details publicly, but they have confirmed the news via Twitter (here, here).

They also have not mentioned any future plans, but so far as I can see they really have only 2 options. Either Izneo can grin and bear it, thereby putting up with Apple's censorship, or they can find some way to get around Apple.  Izneo could always follow in the footsteps of The Financial Times and release an HTML5-based reading app, but a simpler option would be to simply stop selling comics from inside the app.

All the major ebookstores took that step last year, and besides saving the 30% vig that Apple demanded for in-app purchases the move also keeps Amazon, B&N, and other ebookstores from being hassled by Apple's censors. Izneo would be well advised to do the same.

About Nate Hoffelder (11128 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

10 Comments on Izneo Removes 40% of Their Catalog After Receiving Censorship Threats From Apple

  1. seriously you need to do some research... // 5 April, 2013 at 2:41 am //

    The content was rated 4+ when it clearly wasn’t — what do expect them to do ignore it and then cope clowns like you calling them out for adult material rated for kids?

  2. There is a huge difference between correcting the label and removing content. Izneo says they removed the content.

  3. How is this censorship? One business entity elects not to sell product from another business entity that they find objectionable. Is the other business entity prevented from selling the product anywhere else? No? Then no censorship, which is a function of government. I don’t have to agree with what Apple has done, but that doesn’t make it censorship.

  4. BTW, only governments can censor or create censorship, anything else is just a business decision that you may or may not agree with.

  5. Michael D. Mullins // 7 April, 2013 at 12:17 am //

    Censorship is only a function of government up to the point that the major power entities are national governments. Corporations have been increasing in size for a good century now, and with this increase they’ve found a commensurate increase in political power. By all rights, much of our behaviour is perniciously controlled by corporations and their virtually bottomless pockets.

    Enter the concept of monopolies and the legislative barriers put in place to protect individual freedoms. These protections, however, naturally assume that governments are the more powerful entities. This is increasingly not the case.

    In one respect you are correct: there is no censorship de jure. But when the vast majority of avenues to publication and promotion can be severed by, what, a mutual decision by just two corporations — say, Amazon and Apple acting in concert — then you are indeed experiencing a very real form of de facto censorship.

    And I quite like both Amazon and Apple.

  6. Ya gotta love the knots the Apple fanboys will twist themselves into in order to “defend” whatever the company does. “How is this censorship?” Read a goddam history book on the subject, moron.

  7. Given that it was Comixology that made the decision, and not Apple, I don’t see where your unwarranted “fanboy” slur comes from. And my point still stands, if the product is available form other sources, which it is, there is no censorship. But thanks for the screeching, clown. Read a book on human interactions in polite society, jackass.

  8. FYI: the Izneo decision was made by Apple. The comiXology censorship was an entirely different situation.

  9. This is NOT censorship. A seller does not have a RIGHT to a store owners shelf — digital or otherwise. Is it censorship that I can’t but Playboy in the local Christian Bookstore.

  10. The problem with your argument is that it’s not Apple” store shelf. The shelf is inside Izneo’s store, and Apple is telling Izneo what they can put on the shelf. Censorship

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