Cue the outcry — more big Twitter changes on the way

Friday. Good morning (or good evening, if you’re reading this at night). Andrew Beaujon is back next week.

  1. Let’s freak out about Twitter changes: Sayeth Twitter: “in many cases, the best Tweets come from people you already know, or know of. But there are times when you might miss out on Tweets we think you’d enjoy.” Noooooooo! (Twitter) | Stuart Dredge weighs in: “The difference between the two social networks is that Facebook is taking stories out of its news feed – it prioritises around 300 a day out of a possible 1,500 for the average user – while Twitter is only adding tweets in. For now, at least.” (The Guardian) | Previously: I wrote about the Facebookification of Twitter and the Twitterfication of Facebook.
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Team podcasts disappear from iTunes after MLB complains about trademarks

NBC Sports | Awful Announcing

A number of baseball podcasts disappeared from iTunes after complaints from Major League Baseball about trademark infringement, Craig Calcaterra reports for NBC Sports. MLB says it notified Apple about “infringing uses of trademarks of Major League Baseball and certain Clubs” and “asked Apple to have these trademarks removed from the podcast titles and thumbnails.”

A bunch of podcasts vanished after that, Joe Lucia reports for Awful Announcing. Ted Price, who hosts a Texas Rangers podcast, tells Lucia iTunes accounts for almost all his downloads.

An MLB spokesperson told Calcaterra it didn’t ask for the podcasts to get 86′d: “Given our many years of experience in notifying Apple about trademark issues on the Store, we trust that removing the podcasts was an oversight, and ask that you please look into this matter as soon as possible.”

At least one professional sports team has zealously protected its trademarks when it comes to media coverage. Read more


Apple removes Financial Times apps from iTunes

Apple has revoked its approval of the Financial Times iPhone and iPad apps, which have not complied with new terms that took effect two months ago. Apple now requires apps to use its iTunes payment system for all content purchases, but the Financial Times has refused to do that. The publisher uses its own transaction system, which gives it access to subscriber data and avoids paying Apple a 30 percent fee. The move seemed inevitable after the two parties reached a standoff and the FT launched a browser-based version of its app to circumvent Apple. || Earlier: Financial Times launches Web app to avoid Apple’s fees and restrictions | New York Times begins selling mobile subscriptions through iTunes Read more


Unofficial WikiLeaks app pulled from iTunes store

The Guardian

An unofficial WikiLeaks iPhone app has been pulled from the iTunes store less than a week after being approved for sale.

The app, which cost $1.99 and donated $1 of each sale to WikiLeaks, provided a mobile version of the controversial website. Jemima Kiss reports that the app’s developer was given no reason for its removal from the store.

A search in the iTunes store reveals several other apps that include WikiLeaks RSS feeds, and Kiss points out that a few WikiLeaks apps are also available for download in the Google Android Marketplace.

While the iPhone app may have been removed for violating Apple’s terms of service, the abrupt action adds to the perception that the company is tone deaf in its role as media gatekeeper. Read more


Case in Japan raises question of ‘safe harbor’ copyright protections for Apple

The Wall Street Journal

A dispute over pirated books in Japan raises an interesting question for publishers concerned with the restrictive nature of Apple’s mobile app approval policies.

A consortium of Japanese publishers is reportedly upset that apps containing illegally copied books have been sold in the iTunes store. Daisuke Wakabayashi reports that material from several well-known Japanese authors was scanned, converted into mobile apps and placed for sale. Apple has since removed the apps.

The publishers, Wakabayashi writes, are calling on Apple to be more careful in its review process:

“In a joint press release on Tuesday, the Japan Book Publishers Association, the Japan Magazine Publishers Association, The Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan, and Digital Comic Association said Apple’s distribution of content that clearly infringes copyright is ‘illegal.’

‘The associations we represent believe that Apple bears grave responsibility for this problem,’ the statement said.”

In response, Apple claimed it has a duty to remove illegal material once notified of it, but said that it cannot monitor all such violations during the original app approval process. Read more


Doctor: iNewsstand “not too far away”

Nieman Journalism Lab
Ken Doctor predicts the long-awaited iTunes subscription news stand is on its way, and might be announced in conjunction with the iPad 2 unveiling in January.

Regardless of the timing — some expected it on Dec. 9 — Doctor describes what he believes it will look like:

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Time Inc. digital chief says customer relationship a core principle on mobile

Ad Age
The new chief digital officer for Time Inc. said Monday that maintaining contact with customers is a “core principle” of the subscription business, even on mobile devices.

Randall Rothenberg, speaking Monday to Edmund Lee, declined to comment directly on Apple’s iTunes store policies, which currently restrict the customer information available to publishers. But Rothenberg was clear he believes Apple must compromise on the issue:

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