Over Time, iTunes, and Allowable Content

Hey, if you’re waiting for Over Time to show up on iTunes, there’s good and bad news. The good news is it should hopefully be up soon. The bad news is it will be up minus one of the images, which iTunes determined it does not want to allow for sale on its site.

The image in question is in the first chapter and is a pretty explicit picture of Dev and Lee having sex. Penetration is visible and I think that’s the first time that’s happened in any of the books (and indeed, in almost any of my books). Even though iTunes’ content guidelines draw a distinction between drawn and photographed content and only prohibit photographed penetration, even though they force the book’s primary category to be Erotica and include a checkbox for whether the book has Explicit Content, the reviewers decided that this image was not appropriate for iTunes.

I will put a warning in the description and on the page where the image would be notifying people that the image was removed at iTunes’ request, so it might take a couple more days, but I’m about to do that.

If you feel moved to complain to iTunes about this, I don’t recommend you point out any one of my other books that might contain a similar image, as they might just pull that one. If you have other books (non-furry) that contain drawn images, it might be worth mentioning those, but I pointed out to them a yaoi manga that has a guy getting a blow job on the cover and that didn’t make a difference (you can’t see the actual genitals in that one so that’s probably the distinction).

The iTunes rep with whom I was in contact directed me to send you to https://www.apple.com/support/itunes/contact/ > Contact Store Support > Other iTunes Store Topics > iBooks and iBooks Store > Email to complain. I’ve included a sample letter below that is how *I* would go about complaining; feel free to modify as you like (I’ll talk to Ket and Rukis about maybe posting the offending image, but trust me, it’s on the tame side of stuff that shows up on FA). As long as the people screaming for prudish standards are louder, the big companies will continue to listen to them. At some point we have to let them know that there are a lot of us who might not want to see all the things people want to put in their books, but we don’t mind other people seeing them as long as there’s warnings (the Explicit Content label works quite well for that).

For the record, iTunes’ current content guidelines are pretty much fine with me. The problem with photographed explicit images is that there is no way to determine whether the subjects are being exploited; the other things they list are incitements to illegal behavior. All those things are up front prohibited and that is fine. But a drawn picture of two guys loving each other–it’s hard to see where that falls into the same category.

I should also point out that you can get the book with all its images from baddogbooks.com, Rabbit Valley, and Jaffa Books (all furry-owned). The ePub imports very nicely into iBooks. I have a book coming up with a bunch of images that will likely be problematic with the non-furry sites so I think I will just offer one version through the furry sites and one without so many images through the mainstream ones. I would like to think that the market is moving toward a place where this is no longer necessary, but for the moment you should get used to it.

 

Sample letter to iTunes:

Dear iTunes,

I’m writing to complain about the requested removal of an image from the book “Over Time” (ISBN 9780997279405). Having seen the image elsewhere, I feel it is perfectly suitable to be included in a book labeled as including explicit content (which this book is), since it does not violate any of the published content guidelines for iTunes. In addition, none of the other major e-book retailers have requested the removal of this image. I hope that hearing from me will help you better understand your customers and serve their needs in the future.

Sincerely,

 

 

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