Apple rejects BitTorrent control App for the iPhone

Mon, May 11, 2009


It seems that we have yet another addition to the growing list of rejected iPhone apps, with the latest rejection being a BitTorrent control App called Drivetrain

In its rejection letter to the developer, Apple wrote:

…this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store.”

It should be pointed out, however, that the app itself does not download or upload any data.  Rather, the app allows users to remotely control and manage the BitTorrent client “Transmission”.  On one hand, I can see where Apple is coming from.  While there’s nothing inherently illegal about BitTorrent, what percentage of BitTorrent actually use the service for legal purposes? 

Still, is it really up to Apple to make that judgment call?  I mean, there are a large number of perfectly legal torrents floating around as well.  And seeing as the app itself is used merely as a means to access the desktop app, why does Apple really care?  In all honestly, it seems a bit ridiculous that Mac users can download 20GB worth of movie files a day via Transmission, but an iPhone app which allows those same users to manage the app from afar is frowned upon.

It seems that almost every week now there’s a new controversy regarding Apple’s submission policies regarding the iTunes App Store, and it appears that Apple just can’t win.  One week it’s criticized for being too lenient, and the next its criticized for being too draconian. 

What do you guys think about Apple rejecting Drivetrain?  Please chime-in in the comments below.

via iLounge


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. James Katt Says:

    Apple is right.
    Apple should also stay the course.
    Apple should ignore the criticism.

    There is little harm to Apple for rejecting an application. The developer can easily go elsewhere. Any noise from the critics dies away. After all, over 95% of apps are approved.

    There is A LOT of potential harm for Apple for NOT rejecting an application. Should people be harmed by this (like children), then Apple could get sued via a class-action lawsuit that would cost millions of dollars even if Apple ultimately wins.

  2. zaphod Says:

    Apple needs to lighten up.

    Of course bit torrent is used by pirates, it a great technology!!!

    However, that is not it’s exclusive user base. I use it to download large disk images of open source software, ie. ubuntu 9.04. It’s also a great way to get your own works out to the world, there are millions of torrent users out there.

    Humans need to accept the fact that computers are designed to copy things.

    @James Katt
    how exactly does a bit torrent client harm children?!

  3. Constable Odo Says:

    Apple should reject all apps that they deem risky in some form of liability to them. I love using BT to pirate everything and I’ll continue to manage to do it without using an iPhone app. I believe Apple should take a good deal of time to research and review with their lawyers any app that may cause them some problem.

    Yes, I think it’s Apple’s judgment call because they run the store and theoretically can reject anything they don’t want. I’m willing to to bet 99.8 of the apps get through without a problem. Otherwise, there is no benefit for them at all to reject any app they can make money from. The few rejects, the better. I believe Apple knows what they are doing and if they don’t, they’ll eventually learn from their mistakes. People keep forgetting that the App Store is less than a year old and the apps are still pouring in. Apple has to go through some sort of a learning curve to perfect the approval process.

    People that are criticizing Apple’s decisions should toss their iPhones and move to either RIM or Microsoft and see if they approve every app that comes to their stores as people are claiming they will allow everything. I say BS to that bogus claim.

    By the way, Transmission can be controlled through a browser interface, so the Drivetrain app isn’t a must have.

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