Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Private Censorship

It appears that Apple, Inc. is retaliating against a book publisher that will be releasing an unauthorized biography of Steve Jobs.

After unsuccessful attempts at persuading publisher John Wiley & Sons not to release "iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business," Apple, Inc. resorted to pulling other books by that publisher off of their Apple Store shelves.

This is certainly a stupid thing to do from a PR standpoint for apple and the publicity will only benefit the publisher but is such censorship wrong? Absolutely not!

**FULL DISCLOSURE: I'm not a Mac owner but I'm not rabidly anti-Mac either.

This is a business that is trying (but failing miserably) to protect itself from criticism. They are perfectly within their rights to censor materials within their own stores. This not censorship in terms of 1st Amendment rights as some might argue.

I've heard people complain of violation of 1st Amendment rights because a newspaper refused to print a particular story or a radio station wouldn't allow a point of view to be heard. 15 years ago, when I first started studying the red herring of "seperation of church and state" I ran across a case where a magazine salesman threatened a convenience store owner (who was a Christian) with a lawsuit because he refused to carry Playboy and Penthouse magazine in his store. The magazine salesman claimed it was censorship. Sadly; the store owner capitulated.

Follow this Google search and look at the number of instances Walmart is accused of censorship for not selling certain rap CD's etc. There are people that actually believe that WalFart doesn't have the right to censor what it sells!

I practice private censorship all the time. You have the right to speak your mind but you don't have the right to make anyone else listen to you.