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Parliamentary questions
4 January 2011
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Morten Messerschmidt (EFD)

 Subject: Apple's censorship of the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet

In most of the world, including in the EU, Apple's mobile products iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch have become incredibly popular. What the three products have in common is that they can access Apple's App Store, from where users can download the applications they want.

For many years, the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet has enjoyed great success as an online medium. It therefore wanted to develop an App Store application for customers to download in order to access Ekstra Bladet's online content.

To date, Apple has refused to approve the application developed by Ekstra Bladet on the ground that it is not in line with Apple's rules. At the heart of the rejection is Ekstra Bladet's ‘page 9 girl’ — a scantily clad woman appearing every day on page 9 of the print edition of the newspaper. This is entirely in line with Danish and European legislation. Ekstra Bladet has been published in Denmark since 1904, and the ‘page 9 girl’ has been a permanent daily feature since 1976.

Ekstra Bladet did not want to make its online content more limited than the print version, which is why it wanted to include the ‘page 9 girl’ in the application. Apple regards the ‘page 9 girl’ as incompatible with its rules and has therefore refused to include the application in the App Store, at all, in spite of the fact that there was to be a version accessible in Denmark only. See also http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/12/06/one-danish-tabloids-beef-with-apple/.

It should be pointed out that similar images appear in other news media available via the App Store, which is why the rejection of Ekstra Bladet is actually discriminatory in nature.

What is the Commission's position on this form of censorship by Apple in this case?

What is the Commission's position on the fundamental issue, i.e. the fact that through its market share, and what is a unique concept, a US firm can exert such influence that an EU Member State's lawful products are prevented from being sold on the same terms as comparable products in other Member States?

Original language of question: DAOJ C 279 E, 23/09/2011
Last updated: 11 January 2011Legal notice