Fed up after the continued rejection of his app Celebrity Smack, indie developer One Little Goat has published a satirical open letter in which he lampoons Apple's censorship and review process.
Comic version of Apple's approval process
Online PR News – 30-January-2013 –One Little Goat proprietor Philip Lemon, believes his app was rejected solely because one of the eight celebrity caricatures in the game is based on the late Steve Jobs. He supports his claim by providing the following correspondence from Apple;
"We've reviewed your app and determined that we cannot post your application because it appears to contain features, namely, imagery, that bear a resemblance to several well-known third-party marks, including Steve Jobs."
Lemon's response to this was, "It's a parody. Do a search and you'll find dozens, if not hundreds of apps that use the likeness of celebrities. I didn't see Apple taking down Joustin Beaver when Justin Bieber sued the game maker for using his likeness. "
Lemon thinks there is both censorship and double standards at play and highlights what he sees as examples of blatant copyright rip-offs like Mole Kart, Ultimate iZelda Climb and Pokemon Yellow, all of which were approved by Apple. Lemon reports that he has questioned Apple about this inconsistency, and has requested Apple specify which elements of his game are in breach of copyright, but his questions have been met by a firewall of silence. This stonewalling is what prompted the open letter to the CEO of Apple and Lemon decided satire was the best way to deliver his message.
When asked why he hasn't just removed the offending cartoon character, Lemon replied, "I could remove Peeved No-Jobs (Lemon's pet name for the character) but why should I have to? Apple isn't North Korean and I'm not making fun of Kim Jong Il - at least I think I'm not."
Though he supports Apple's vetting of apps based on quality and security, Lemon is against certain Apple developer policies such as the one that states;
"we (Apple) may reject or remove your application for any reason, in our sole discretion."
Like most mobile developers worldwide, One Little Goat relies on sales through iTunes and not having his game available there could lead to commercial oblivion. Celebrity Smack is available for Android devices through Google Play and Amazon and Lemon hopes his game will garner enough support through these online marketplaces to make the game financially viable.
"I think it is totally unacceptable that a company that dominates an industry built on ideas can dictate what people share," Lemon says. "They're an American company and the majority of their paying customers are from democratic countries."
When asked if he would submit future apps to iTunes Lemon responded, "Definitely. I'm like most game makers, I just want as many people as possible playing my games and enjoying them. Hopefully Apple will improve its policies or Android will become the platform of choice for developers."
The open letter to Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, can be found at http://onelittlegoat.com/letter_to_apple_ceo.html
Philip Lemon is a developer and artist living in Melbourne, Australia. One Little Goat is the name of his studio and Celebrity Smack is his first solo game. Past achievements of Philip's include being the lead Animator on the iOS game Desert Zombie, Executive producer on the Australian film The Hobby Farm, and authoring the children's novel The Barbarian Librarian. Philip loves doing interviews and can talk at length without saying um. He has been told his voice is melodic and well suited to radio but this is yet to be proven.