Freedom of App-spression

Friday, May 27, 2011


KG Dogfighting is an Android app that allows users train and fight their virtual dogs. Several groups have asked Google to ban the game. But Android’s relatively liberal content policy gives its customers the freedom to choose. You won’t find KG Dogfighting or anything like it in the Apple App Store which maintains much tighter control over what you can download onto your iPhone. Too much control, according to The Berkman Center's Jonathan Zittrain.

Comments [6]

Daniel Bennett from Washington, DC

Dear DMF,
You should know that OTM can be subscribed to in many different ways, including that advertisement you clicked on for receiving it through iTunes. On the home page of OTM there are links to:
(the PodCast link for any podcasting software, take your pick)
each story has its own link for downloading an MP3 file, which an enterprising person could figure out how to pull a specific story based on the URL or to go to the Archives and find the story.
and each story can also be streamed.

DMF- if this is not freedom-- free media, that is-- it is the closest thing to it I know. Thanks to OTM for being a great ongoing resource.
Daniel Bennett
Washington, DC
P.S. I think it is fine for OTM to allow their work to be made available non-exclusively by Apple's iTunes.

Jun. 01 2011 01:39 PM
dmf from Netherlands

hey speaking of freedom, i click on the "OTM Podcast - Subscribe now" img on the left, there, and i'm sent directly to iTunes. i have so much anger and frustration at that i am actually at a loss for words. so this is going to be a lot shorter than i wanted it to be...

May. 31 2011 09:40 AM
Daniel Bennett from Washington, DC

For example, the comment from cam of detroit, equates the multiple platforms that Kindle software runs on to an open system, when actually it is a closed system in terms of the licensing of the book is only for Kindles and cannot necessarily be used in non-Kindle software. And although Apple restricts the applications that can run as iPhone/iPad apps, Apple does not restrict HTML web sites or pure HTML web applications (which is how Playboy was able to bypass the iPad app restriction and by just having a web app/site). And just like applications that run on our computer versus the move to web applications, mobile apps are likely to be overcome by richer web apps thanks to HTML5 and feature migration to the browser.

It is easy to look at our screens and make assessments, what is much more difficult is to have someone convey the richness and complexity of this thing we call the Internet and understand how the business process, legal overlay and the integration of tech takes place.

May. 31 2011 07:59 AM
Daniel Bennett from Washington, DC

Jonathan Zittrain was right on the technology and legal aspects of the story. But as evidenced by the questions and comments, there is a divide between the reality of technology and how it is explained and understood. Then add a layer of how the law interacts with technology and most people are beholden to a handful of "experts." Zittrain being one of the few good ones.

Perhaps it may be helpful to have the basics of the technology explained first. What is an iPhone app? How does it compare to PC software or web apps? What is digital rights management (DRM) and how is it effected? What is online identity? What is the difference between legal issues that come from regulations, contracts and "terms of service"? What will the impact of HTML5 be on these issues?

A method to help to understand any tech issue is to carefully map three layers of any system, the business model, the legal layer and the tech implementation layer.

Daniel Bennett

May. 30 2011 12:27 PM
cam from detroit

Zittrain states that, "when you leave your Kindle, you leave your books behind" but that is really not accurate at all. All of the Ebooks you purchase on Amazon are available on multiple platforms (PC, MAC, Android, etc) up to a limit of 5 devices at any time. This is, in fact, the advantage of an open platform. Apple is perhaps the most closed-system that exists today but has amassed such a loyal following that any critic is decried as heretical. I have an Android phone and an iPad 2 and whenever I comment on the IOS shortcomings I am accosted by the party faithful. Think Different? I think not.

May. 28 2011 07:52 AM
marty siegrist from michigan

Apple is not the only game in town. Those who buy Apple products (and those who don't) know their ground rules. Those who don't like those ground rules can buy another company's product to access the apps they want. I agree that there is reason for concern about "gated communities" springing up in the cyberworld, but I don't see this situation as evidence of that.

May. 28 2011 07:47 AM

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