App Store Rejection Letter of the Day: Trailers

In the latest string of application rejects, the iTunes App Review team has rejected 14 year old Jonah Grant’s impressively crafted Trailers. Trailers, which focuses on film previews rather than mobile homes, scrapes information via the publicly available trailers feeds from Apple. After working on the application for roughly two months, Grant proudly submitted his product to Apple, fingers crossed and palms sweaty.

Sadly, Trailers was rejected for violating section 3.3.10 of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement which reads:

Applications may not perform any functions or link to any content or use any robot, spider, site search or other retrieval application or device to scrape, retrieve or index services provided by Apple or its licensors, or to collect, disseminate or use information about users for any unauthorized purpose.

In short, Trailers was rejected because Apple does not provide a public API for the service in question. Nonetheless, Apple’s review team has been somewhat lenient with this in the past, even going so far as featuring a number of applications that have scraped Apple provided indexes. These applications, such as BargainBin, AppSniper, and PandoraBox, crawl the publicly available Apple feeds to rank and display information – which is precisely what Grant is doing with Trailers. To make matters worse, there are other applications that do the exact same thing as Trailers, such as Filmtrailers, iTrailers, and Trailers US.

The staff’s main argument against Trailers, besides the obvious violation of the license agreement, was that Grant is not allowed to stream trailers because Apple has certain obligations to uphold in their agreements with film studios. In so doing, there are reportedly only a number of ways that Apple is allowed to use the trailers: on and on iTunes. However, as Jonah notes, there is virtually no difference from streaming via Trailers, downloading the trailer via Mobile iTunes, or watching the trailer online. Seeing as Grant is not charging for the application, which also includes iAds, there shouldn’t be a massive problem here.

Though the application will certainly not arrive on the App Store anytime soon, as Steve Jobs himself has spoken on the matter, it may reach the home screens of jailbroken iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches via Cydia. What’s your take on the matter?


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