Plot Thickens – is AT&T to Blame?

Or being blamed? Are we all to be treated like 10 year olds?

We’ve done a bit of digging. And the rules that the guy at Apple told me the other day on the phone – and have been published around the interwebs seem to be very close to the rules listed below for AT&T mobile apps development.

Whilst the USA provides about 70% of our revenue, it *looks* like these new guidelines from Apple might be coming from AT&T. So effectively an American company forcing Apple to comply has affected our income worldwide where guidelines might not be as stringent???

However, it still doesn’t explain the following:
1. Why Apple can’t tell developers what the guidelines are – I have asked numerous times for them to publish the guidelines to avoid wasting everyone’s time.
2. Why the guidelines weren’t clearly published now or previously to Appstore developers – why not be clear?!
3. Why Apple approved any apps at all in the past that they knew would breach AT&T policy eventually – were they just seeing how it went and deferring a decision?
4. Why this hasn’t been implemented smoothly across all apps – there are still apps in the store that breach rules, one in particular that has been moving up the charts quickly for the last few days…
5. It doesn’t tell us why these guidelines exist at all – this is a phone that has the web on it – are they going to proxy your web traffic next to comply with the rules below???

Above all, it doesn’t tell us why Apple have gone through the motions of ratings for appstore games. Was this some weird experiment with our livelihood to see what would happen?

There is more to this story!

Of course, Apple might have just cut and paste the AT&T Rulebook…

The Rules from MEdia Net Search ATT  website are

All apps and other downloadable content must strictly follow these guidelines:

  • Images must comply with the standards for the TV and MPAA ratings G and PG.
  • Video and audio must comply with the standards for the TV ratings G, TV-Y, TV-Y7, and PG and for the MPAA ratings G and PG.
  • Games must comply with the standards for the ESRB ratings EC, E, and E10+. (Games rated T with a mobile-version rating equivalent to E10+ are acceptable.)
  • All content should be appropriate for children who are at least 11 years old.(emphasis mine)

Your submission must NOT contain any of the following elements:

  • Nudity, including partial nudity
  • Depictions of sexual activity or sexual behavior
  • Profanity
  • Hate speech
  • Depictions of violence, especially intense violence that results in blood, gore, injury, or death
  • Explicit references to or explicit depictions of alcohol, drug use, tobacco use, and gambling

SAVE YOU SOME TIME – for completeness, here are the ratings – reproduced from wikipedia

Ratings

TV-Y

(All children)[1]

Whether animated or live-action, the themes and elements in this program are specifically designed for a very young audience, including children from ages 2-6. These programs are not expected to frighten younger children.[2] Examples of programs issued this rating include Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go! and The Backyardigans. Additionally, on some TV-Y programs, an E/I logo will be shown through the program’s entirety if it contains educational content.

TV-Y7

(Directed to children 7 and older)

These shows may or may not be appropriate for some children under the age of 7. This rating may include crude, suggestive humor, mild fantasy violence, or content considered too scary or controversial to be shown to children under seven. Examples include Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Johnny Test and SpongeBob SquarePants.

TV-Y7-FV

(Directed to children 7 and older (fantasy violence))

When a show has noticeably more fantasy violence, it is assigned the TV-Y7-FV rating. Action-adventure shows such as Digimon, the Pokémon series (after being transferred to The Pokémon Company, where it was formerly rated TV-Y) and Power Rangers are assigned a TV-Y7-FV rating.

TV-G

(General audience)

Although this rating does not signify a program designed specifically for children, most parents may let younger children watch this program unattended. It contains little or no violence, no strong language and little or no sexual dialogue or situations. Networks that air informational, how-to content, or generally inoffensive content (such as the Food Network ,HGTV and Disney Channel) or older archive programming (such as Game Show Network‘s shows and the classic cartoons shown on both Cartoon Network andBoomerang) usually apply a blanket TV-G rating to all of their shows (unless otherwise noted). Some teen shows, such as Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, The Suite Life on Deck, and iCarly (formerly rated TV-Y7) are given a TV-G rating if their content is considered too strong for a TV-Y7 rating.

TV-PG

(Parental guidance suggested)

This rating signifies that the program may be unsuitable for younger children without the guidance of a parent. Many parents may want to watch it with their younger children. Various game shows and most reality shows are rated TV-PG for their suggestive dialog, suggestive humor, and/or coarse language. Some prime-time sitcoms such asEverybody Loves Raymond, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Simpsons, Futurama (on FOX and adult swim airings), and Seinfeld usually air with a TV-PG rating. Recently,Cartoon Network has been using the PG rating to rate shows that may contain suggestive dialogue, crude humor, or scary elements, such as Total Drama Island, 6teen, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Gundam Wing and reruns of Goosebumps (on FOX, Goosebumps was rated TV-Y7 for scary/disturbing content)[3]. Also, on Nickelodeon, Invader Zim is also rated TV-PG when uncut. The uncut MTV airings of The Ren & Stimpy Show are rated PG. Many[which?] feature films rated PG and some movies originally rated PG-13 and R are edited for content in order to earn a TV-PG rating when shown on broadcast and cable television. On August 1st, 2008 WWE programming went to this rating to appeal to a wider range of sponsors. Many[which?] music videos are also given this rating, though some[which?] music videos have content that is a lot higher than what the rating indicates.

The TV-PG rating may be accompanied by one or more of the following sub-ratings:
  • D for some suggestive dialogue
  • L for infrequent coarse language
  • S for some sexual situations
  • V for moderate violence


  1. Brian! on Monday 22, 2010

    Sorry to hear about your ordeal. I don’t sit well with censorship in any form. I do think that apps could have ratings put on them and then blocked unless you want to give yourself access. It isn’t like you can’t use Safari to surf a porn site anyway or go to a page like Maxim.

    All they have served to do is hurt developers.

    Also, what next? Will they ban books then? Start banning music? How about videos they don’t like? Sure, it is their store – but since it is the only store you can buy from, there needs to be some laws put in place. Closed systems like this are bad news for consumers. I pray that Android and the new WinPho7 start hitting even harder on the iPhone marketshare. Not that I wish bad for Apple either, but that company needs a wakeup call.

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