In an extensive blog entry, James Montgomerie reveals that Apple has repeatedly rejected his eBook reader iPhone application, Eucalyptus, due to its ability to access a version of the ancient Indian text Kama Sutra, which Apple considers to contain objectionable content.
As Montgomerie describes, the Eucalyptus application does not contain the "objectionable" text, as it merely serves as an interface to Project Gutenberg, a well-known distributor of free eBooks based on content that is in the public domain. Moreover, translations of the Kama Sutra are readily available on the iPhone via a host of other sources.
The exact book (the Kama Sutra) that Apple considers the ability to read 'objectionable' is freely available on the iPhone in many ways already. You can find it through Safari or the Google app of course, but it is also easily available via other book reading apps. You can get it easily via eReader, though the search process is handled by launching a third-party site in Safari, with the download and viewing taking place in eReader. Stanza offers up multiple versions, some with illustrated covers. Amazons Kindle app, the latest version of which was approved by Apple this week, offers multiple versions too - although it does charge from 80 to $10 per book - and you again purchase via Safari before Kindle downloads the book.
I am at a loss to explain why Eucalyptus is being treated differently than these applications by Apple. Im also frankly amazed that they would suggest I should be manually censoring content that is being downloaded from the public Internet - classic, even ancient, books, no less.
While Apple's rejection of Eucalyptus could very well have been a result of an overzealous reviewer, Montgomerie proceeds to document his numerous attempts to contact Apple to have his case reviewed, only to be met with silence, automated e-mail responses, and in the responses that actually address his submission, tersely worded messages that provide little assistance.
Montgomerie has resubmitted for Apple's consideration a version of Eucalyptus that manually blocks access to the version of the Kama Sutra available through Project Gutenberg.