Relaxed App Store Rules Lead to Approval of iOS BitTorrent Clients

  IS Drive application icon (iTunes Artwork)
A BitTorrent-based application called “IS Drive” was approved by Apple this week. Available for $4.99, the app allows you to check and manage the downloads in your ImageShack Drive account. For downloaded videos, users can even view thumbnails (if ImageShack is able to provide them).

A BitTorrent-based application called “IS Drive” was approved by Apple this week. Available for $4.99, the app allows you to check and manage the downloads in your ImageShack Drive account. For downloaded videos, users can even view thumbnails (if ImageShack is able to provide them).

Basically, IS Drive allows users of the Imageshack torrent download service to control and add torrent downloads through an intuitive interface.

The app’s approval is a surprise as Apple believes that BitTorrent is often used to infringe copyrights.

Last time we checked, Apple’s official explanation to the BitTorrent ban was: “Because this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights, we have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store.”

However, Apple is known to have relaxed some of the App Store Review Guidelines, which led to the approval of multiple applications (or types of applications) that had been previously rejected.

Some of these were BitTorrent apps. Apparently, Apple has eased off a bit in this area as well.

TorrentFreak spoke to the developer of IS Drive, Derek Kepner, who said “I’m on dangerous ground here, and I know that. I’ll probably add a search feature where it’s up to the user to manually add the torrent site they want.”

“The app will not be designed to easily break the law and I hope no one intends to do so,” added Kepner. “But if a user is determined to break the law, what business is that of mine or Apple’s? They could do the same in Safari anyway, right?”

According to the interview, Kepner loves Imageshack’s Torrent Drive service, which is what prompted him to code his app.

He explained to TorrentFreak that, when he was out of the house, he often found himself wanting to queue something up to his Torrent Drive account. IS Drive seemed the logical move for the developer.

“I always had the thought that if I didn’t call the app a “torrent client”, Apple would probably let it through the review process. After all, there is no real torrenting happening on the client side. It’s *not* a torrent client. It’s an ImageShack Drive client,” Kepner told interviewers.

“Plus, I didn’t see any reason for the app to be rejected in Apple’s recently released guidelines. So, I was very careful with this release to not use the dirty word ‘torrent’, and I’ll continue to carefully add new features, so stay tuned,” Kepner noted.

Download IS Drive for iOS ($4.99)

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By    3 Oct 2010, 12:06 GMT