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Summary:

Anyone who’s ever subscribed to Cinemax might know it better for the availability of softcore porn during late-night hours than its Hollywood movie library. Now it’s bringing that content to the iPad through its Max Go app. But does that violate Apple’s strict anti-porn policy?

cinemax max go ipad

Anyone who’s ever subscribed to Cinemax knows that one of its biggest draws is not the availability of Hollywood movies, but the softcore movies and TV shows available on the network. With the recent launch of its iPad app, Cinemax is also making those titles available for mobile viewing on the tablet device. But the inclusion of these movies seems to go against a very prominent anti-porn policy put in place by Apple and CEO Steve Jobs.

Dubbed “Skinemax” by many, the programmer typically has several hours of titillating titles interspersed between big budget Hollywood films during the late night hours. It’s not unusual for shows like Lingerie or Co-Ed Confidential to appear alongside movies like The A-Team after midnight.

The good news for Cinemax subscribers is that — at least for now — they no longer have to wait until late night or early morning to peruse that type of content: The Max Go iPad app includes a very prominently placed “Max After Dark” tab, which makes about a dozen softcore movie titles and another dozen TV series available for viewing anytime on the go. Those movies include titles like The Hills Have Thighs and Bikini Jones and the Temple of Eros.

Apple and CEO Steve Jobs have historically taken a hard line against pornography being available through native iOS apps. In an email exchange with Gawker’s Ryan Tate last year, Jobs said that the iPad would offer users “freedom from porn.” And in a Q&A session after the launch of iOS 4, Jobs told reporters that porn was one reason Apple wouldn’t allow unsigned or unapproved apps onto iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad.

You know, there’s a porn store for Android. You can download nothing but porn. You can download porn, your kids can download porn. That’s a place we don’t want to go – so we’re not going to go there.

Apple has worked hard to enforce that policy, removing applications from its App Store that it considered “overtly sexual,” including those that did little but offer up photos of partial nudity. It has also kept big name publishers of girly mags from making nude pictorials available on the App Store. Playboy is one example: After publishing an iPad app that didn’t include any nudity, the magazine publisher bypassed the app store altogether with an HTML5 web app that provided access to its library of nude photos.

Cable networks like HBO have never shied away from racy content, and viewers of shows like Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones have almost come to expect full-frontal female nudity and simulated intercourse as part of the story telling. And those shows have been available on the iPad as part of its HBO Go app for months.

But porn is like art: You know it when you see it. Breaking up the action of True Blood with occasional nudity is different from breaking up the nudity of Lust at First Bite with occasional dialogue. And a quick perusal of the Cinemax iPad app proved, to me at least, that’s exactly the type of thing to expect from most of the “Max After Dark” content. After all, viewers aren’t watching Bikini Frankenstein because they’re interested in the story.

The Max Go app comes with a warning that it contains adult material when you download it, and there are parental controls to ensure kids aren’t able to access some of the real racy stuff. Even so, it’s not clear how Max Go got approved as a native app after Apple has worked so diligently to remove apps containing partial nudity and kept uncensored apps like Playboy off the App Store. Will it remain on the App Store, softcore porn and all, or will some modified version of the app need to be released once Apple catches wind of what’s really available in “Max After Dark?”

  1. Erik Schwartz Sunday, August 14, 2011

    All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.

    If Apple wants Time Warner movies (Dark Knight, Harry Potter et al), Apple takes the HBO and Cinemax apps as is.

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  2. Aaron Watkins Sunday, August 14, 2011

    HBO had had this, and their skin flicks, for a while already with HBO GO app.

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  3. World Traveler Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Another slow day at Gigaom for Ryan. Let’s see, lets not act like there’s ton’s of porn on the internet and that other movies sites like HBO or Netflix or StarsOnline, etc don’t have access to steamy romance titles. Let’s just single out Cinemax, because that’s what Ryan uses the channel for. So we call it Skinemax, so it’s on the iPad with everything else in the world. Get over it. Go figure out some other ‘real’ story so you can put “porn” in the title and get people to read your stuff.

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  4. Robert Calise Sunday, August 14, 2011

    How is this any different from the Netflix app, which does not exclude movies with sexual content from its Watch Instantly offerings?

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  5. Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire have relatively explicit sex scenes.. they could be construed as soft-core porn (even though that’s not the theme of either of those shows).. I don’t see a problem with this.

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  6. When the right amount of money is involved I don’t think Stevo will stick to those ideals.. never thought he would.

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    1. Funny, it’s not coded in the App, Netflix has the same offering.

      And the most important, you must have a subscription to acces this, this is a Apple Haters Bull Sh** Propaganda writeup.

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  7. I’m really not interested in having Apple censor content for me. I don’t consume the soft core offerings of HBO or Cinemax but if I change my mind about that I should be able to do it.

    I don’t think that either app is available for Honeycomb tablets yet but if Apple makes HBO remove those titles then it will increase the appeal of Android tablets for some consumers and it will hasten the availability of these apps on Android tablets.

    I’m buying a tablet computer and I’m an adult. If I want to watch late night Cinemax shows that should be my choice, not Apple’s.

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  9. Hbo go has a late night/adult movies annnd then there is using a slingbox.

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  10. Has nobody discovered Crackle yet? It’s free and doesn’t require a cable subscription.

    Oh yeah, and they have Brown Bunny. So anyone can watch Chloe Sevigny give unsimulated **** right on their iPad. For real. For free.

    App Store approved!

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  11. While you are asking this, ask why Paypal and other credit card companies do business with cyberlockers.

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  12. Jesus, guys!

    I thought we had all agreed to keep Steve in the dark on this one!

    Ryan, sorry, but you’re out of the Man club.

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  13. Then Apple needs to remove Safari, because you can get p0rn through the web.

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  14. man you are going to blame apple:)

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  15. No way Apple turns this down. Dark Knight? Harry Potter? The Porn stays!

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  16. Netflix has several independent films with hardcore scenes. This is not news.

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  17. Um, Google “Porn on Netflix” and you’ll find guides to the most explicit movies you’ll find on Netflix. This isn’t a new issue, nor is it a Cinemax only issue. Apparently, Apple (correctly, in my opinion) doesn’t care.

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  18. Cinemax ISN”T porn. Porn is the unmistakable filming of actual sex. Anything on HBO and Cinemax only show FAKED sex. It’s difference. No penetration = it’s not sex. It’s NOT a nudity issue (or quantity of nudity either).

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    1. Thank you!!

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  19. Cinemax is a premium service, and the people who pay for it choose to have access to that content. The app simply allows Cinemax subscribers to access the data they have already approved on a mobile device. This is not the same as an application designed to be pornographic from the outset. It’s like web browsers – you can choose to only access Google and “safe” sites, or you can choose to access porn – or both. An app with legitimate use should not be blocked, regardless of how the purchaser chooses to use it.

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  20. Using this standard iDisk and DropBox are also porn apps.

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  21. OMG, porn to iPad, apple passed?
    That is to say any app can put onto the iPad?
    God bless please, at least approval the apps like iFunia, really can help people to solve some problems.

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  22. We just wish Apple would make up its mind already! Either nipples are ok or they’re not. If they are, then let other, smaller developers and companies in on the action.

    On that note, we LOVE nipples. So if your an adult and you want more skin, follow Mr. Jobs advice and get an Android. Then download MiKand. ;)

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  23. Who cares really? I mean, if people are interested in porn on their iPads they don’t even need an app. The browser works perfectly well and they can surf all of the porn they want, heck there are even sites like PinkVisualPad which are made especially for the iPad. So why do they even bother attempting to censor the app store when the browser is wide open?

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  24. Does Cinemax’s iPad app violate Apple’s no-porn policy? http://t.co/Iax3zENf

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  25. RT @lostMolly: Does Cinemax’s iPad app violate Apple’s no-porn policy? http://t.co/Iax3zENf

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