Just when we thought we were getting used to Apple's cuddly new stance on iOS4 App approval, the company has retrospectively rejected an App which had already made it through the process.
IS Drive is a BitTorrent helper application which allows users to monitor downloads from the popular Image Shack photo and video sharing site.
The App's author Derek Kepner was careful not to mention BitTorrent in the title or description of the software, precisely because he didn't want people to use the software for piracy purposes, but a number of shrill reports appeared on the tech blogosphere yesterday smugly pointing out that Apple had let the App through despite its ability to download 'illegal' files.
Kepner told Macworld that an Apple rep cited Section 22.4 of the App Store Review Guidelines: “Apps that enable illegal file sharing will be rejected.” Kepner said he was appealing the decision on the grounds that Safari and other third party Apps also allow illegal file sharing. "If they take my App down, they should take those Apps down too,” he said.
Image Shack is well known for its anti-piracy stance but, as it is based on the Internet, and relies on user-generated content, it is obviously open to abuse. But that's no reason to brand it a hot-bed of piracy.
Apple's knee-jerk reaction to the publicity surrounding IS Drive will do little to continue the good work the company has done in opening up the App approval process. Whoever is responsible for pulling the plug should do a bit more research into legitimate uses of P2P file sharing and Bit Torrent, and worry a bit less about what a few tatty tech blogs have to say about the matter.