Above are represented both the censored and the original photographs from the books. Below you will find additional information about the case, including links to the international media coverage of the story.
In October 2012, Apple removed or refused to sell all versions of the two documentary books Hippie 1 and Hippie 2 by one of Denmark’s most prominent non-fiction writers, Peter Ovig Knudsen. They came to this decision because the books contain photographs of naked or partly naked hippies from the late sixties. As a protest, the publisher and the writer created censored versions of the books by masking the relevant areas of the photographs with images of a red apple.
In the European Parliament the case is referred to as ‘The Danish Case’.
International e-book edition of the censured Hippie project
On November 14, Gyldendal will publish an English e-book edition of Peter Øvig’s Hippie books. The books are published in order to give an international audience an opportunity to read the story behind the censured photographs – a story that travelled the world on the news. The book is an abbreviated version of the two volumes in Danish and English.
The e-book, Hippie – The Danish Case, is published on the day of an EU hearing in Copenhagen that will discuss the topic of ’Freedom of speech online’. The hearing will take its starting cues from the fact that both Apple and Facebook have chosen to censure the images of the publication. For the first time, representatives from Google and Facebook will take part in the hearing. Apple has not responded to the invitation.
In the autumn of 2012, both Apple’s iBook store and App store decided against making the Hippie books available to their customers, as the books contain images of naked hippies.
As a happening under the name of ‘Operation Apple’, Peter Øvig and his publisher equipped the documentary photographs taken forty years ago with red apples covering the unacceptable private parts. In the following weeks, the story of the censured photographs went around the world.
Since then, Facebook too has censured out the Hippie photographs. As a protest, thousands of Facebook users shared an image of four naked hippies bathing in the waves of the North Sea.
In the EU, the case was taken up at the request of the Danish culture secretary and several EU parliamentarians. Especially vice chair of the EU culture committee Morten Løkkegaard involved himself in the case, meeting with both Apple and Facebook. In Brussels, they call it ‘The Danish Case’, which is also the subtitle of the international e-book edition.
’Ever since the images from the book were in papers all over the world, I’ve wanted to make an English version available to international readers,’ says Peter Øvig Knudsen. ’Apparently, the case continues to raise political debate, which is why I’m so happy that an international audience is now able to read the story behind these images.’
The pictures from the book has also been removed from Facebook. Read more about this here:
The Apple-Case: the break with Steve Jobs?
By Morten Løkkegaard, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament's Cultural Committee
One of Denmark’s most prominent non-fiction writers, Peter Øvig-Knudsen's books about a Danish Hippie camp in the 1970's has already been moved out of a Danish context and thrown in to the international, political spotlight. The reason for this being the Danish author's fight for his artistic freedom - and the US-giant, Apple's, censorship of his books. Being the Vice-Chair of the European Parliament's Cultural Committee, I have been deeply engaged in this matter - and I have long ago asked Apple for a meeting about the censor-ship issue. The fight for setting up a meeting finally ended this week when two representatives from Apple agreed to meet me to discuss their decision of censoring the books.
Two things are very clear to me after my long waited face-to-face meeting with Apple:
1. The Danish author, Peter Øvig-Knudsen and his many European author-colleagues that have experienced Apple's censorship can forget all about a quick fix to the censorship-problem.
Truly, it is a matter of cultural differences when Apple removes selected works, titles or pictures from their digital book-shelf, iBook Store. And now, I finally had the chance to hear directly from Apple what has been the argument to remove the Danish author's two documentary books Hippie 1 and Hippie 2 on the Danish hippie movement from iBook Store. Their comment was: "It is pure pornography!" adding: "Imagine if children were exposed to photos of this kind..."
Ok then. If a few copulating hippies on a faded black and white photography from the Danish hippie camp named "Thy" is pornography and extremely depraving to children, then I do indeed see why we would have a problem.
For the meeting, I also brought along some other examples where the issue of "sex" is slightly less explicit but where nakedness in itself seems to be the problem. In this case, the only thing the two Apple representatives and guests could do was to shrug their shoulders and state that nakedness is indeed reason enough to remove a book.
But what is nakedness then...? Does it mean not wearing a single thing...? Or is it enough if you just show off one breast to be black-listed by Apple...? That fact was not perfectly clear during the meeting. And that is actually an important point to make and an important conclusion to draw: Neither the producers of the apps or the consumers that use them are aware of where to draw the line on Apple's rules of application. And this might be another good argument as to why Apple should look in to the possibility of creating more transparency in their policy.
2. Apple is a top-down oriented company where a smaller group of leading actors in California makes the decisions - without the public knowing how exactly Apple makes sense of their very own rules.
As a result, I got a clear and firm - but polite - 'no' to my idea of hosting a hearing in the European Parliament, where Apple could defend, discuss, and elaborate on their views with a large number of stakeholders who would all like answers on the censorship case.
Amongst others, the European Journalists Association and the European Publishers.
But my two guests from Apple did accept my appeal for a continued dialogue on the decision-making level. In practise, by asking a meeting between the European Parliament's Cultural Committee (where I am the Vice-Chair) and the Apple representative and decision maker from Silicon Valley, who occasionally travels to Europe.
So, this is where we are now: I will contact Commissioner Kroes (Commissioner for the Digital Agenda) to suggest that we pursue the option of a meeting with the policy officer in charge.
Here, I will suggest that Apple breaks with the Steve Jobs mythology and declares itself ready for the 21st century. That is to say: ready to engage in a dialogue with the same consumers who, after all, decide the fate of Apple.
... to be continued
15.4.2013 Motion proposed by the Danish Union of Journalists to EFJ, European Federation of Journalists general meeting in Verviers, 13-15 May 2013:
We urge that Apple’s censorship of books and other journalism and information be stopped immediately.
In the autumn of 2012, Apple censored documentary books by the Danish writer Peter Øvig Knudsen on the Danish hippie movement.
Initially, Apple's digital bookstore iBooks refused to sell Peter Øvig Knudsen's ‘hippie’ books because of a series of documentary photographs of naked people. Peter Øvig Knudsen’s publishers then covered the bared breasts, buttocks and genitals in the many photographs with red apples. This satisfied Apple for a brief period.
Peter Øvig Knudsen drew attention to the censorship threat posed by Apple's rejection and their subsequent acceptance. Apple then once again removed the hippie books from both iBooks and the AppStore without explanation.
- This sequence of events illustrates the major barriers to the free flow of information that have been brought about by Apple's market dominance. Through its size and attitude, Apple constitutes a real obstacle in relation to the distribution of cultural products.
- The case clearly shows that the kind of dominant position in the market that Apple enjoys in relation to, for example, e-readers, can have unfortunate consequences.
Regrettably, there have recently been a number of cases of censorship. Naomi Wolf's "Vagina: A New Biography" fell victim to censorship and became "V **** a: A New Biography", while the Syrian book "The Proof of Honey", which featured a naked bottom on the cover, was removed from sale. The Danish author Michael Næsted Nielsen has had a picture of a naked man removed from the cover of his book, and countless other examples can be mentioned from the recent past.
It must be emphasised that EFJ takes very seriously the growing trend towards censorship in cyberspace. Private companies may be said to have a right to adhere to their own values and business models and decide which books they want to publish, but when such a dominant player as Apple or others use their values to create a marked degree of self-censorship by writers, this calls for a response from European society.
In Europe, we have a tradition of a free and independent press and uncensored artistic and cultural communication. Printers, publishers and cultural communicators have up until now taken responsibility for diversity and for what has been published. Apple and other publishers of a certain size must understand that they are now responsible for ensuring diverse artistic and cultural communication, and that market forces and people's freedom of choice and judgment are sufficient to control what people can tolerate to see, hear or read.
The EFJ GM demands that the EFJ Steering Committee urges the European Parliament to take action and prevent censorship, and to prevent market dominance resulting in the censorship of free communication.
09.11.2012 Apple tightens the screw: Hippie books removed from the App-Store
Apple are escalating it’s censorship of Danish author Peter Ovig Knudsen’s two hippie books by removing the App editions from it’s App Store. The decision was announced via telephony from Apple’s headquarters in California.
”This latest step by the Apple Corporation is even more alarming than Apple’s first act of censorship. Until now it has been possible to purchase the e-books elsewhere on the Internet, but the App-edition, made solely for IPad and Iphone can only be bought through the Apple Store, and it is therefore no longer possible for us to sell the most advanced edition of my book”, says Peter Ovig Knudsen
The App-edition of the Hippie books combines an e-book edition containing text and photos with a Audio book including the author reading his work and newly composed music by Tomrer-Claus (Carpenter Claus) one of the main protagonists of the book. The App edition is a special edition developed by The Hippie Company, which gives the user a choice of combining reading with listening to the Audio book and music. It is, to our knowledge, the first of its kind worldwide.
The app edition of Hippie 1 was released simultaneously with the paper edition October last year and was back then approved by Apple. As such it has been available for more than a year through the App Store. The App edition of Hippie 2 was also at first approved and has been in the App Store for more than two weeks.
”Apple’s decision was communicated to us by an Apple employee who was not very forthcoming and gave standard answers to my objections. The consequences for us are significant. We have spend a lot resources and considerable amounts of money in developing this App, which is now of no use to us. Even if we self censor it is unlikely that it will be approved for sale by Apple, says Jens Lauridsen, CEO of the Hippie Company.
Last week, after Apple had at first rejected the books on grounds of showing photos of naked people, an edition of the Hippie e-books where nudity was concealed using apples was approved. Four days later the books were however removed from the site by Apple with no further explanation.
The developments have caused considerable debate. Several political spokespersons have raised the matter in the Danish Parliament and Danish members of the EU Parliament have complained to the European Commission. Danish Culture Secretary, Uffe Elbaek, has promised to contact his colleagues in Europe to establish a European common ground on the matter of Apple censorship.
”This is a matter of great principal significance” states Peter Ovig Knudsen “ The pattern for how we deal with the use of digital cultural content is being established here and now, and suddenly we have to consider whether big foreign and multinational corporations will censor content, or simply reject selling work, written in Danish for a Danish audience”.
Excerpts from the Hippie-Apps:
Jeppe Lajer, reader reviewer, Hippie App 2: ”The Ipad App for Hippie 2 is just as good as number 1 with Tomrer Claus fascinating soundtrack and the exiting choice of shifting between Audio book and e-book - which has made my bicycle rides A LOT better, while at the same time I can continue reading when that suits the social surroundings I am in.”
Nina Maria Mørk, reader reviewer, Hippie App 1: ”Peter Ovig and i have established a very intimate relationship over the last four days. We have been cuddled ud on my sofa, been peeling potatoes, making supper and even bin in the hot tub together. The thing is that I have been reading Hippie 1 on my Ipad, which makes it possible for me to shift between reading and listening. This has made it possible for me to bring the stories of Tomrer-Claus, Henning Prins, The-Dan and the so far very unappealing Peter Louis-Jensen with me where ever I go.”
According to the danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende Apples ban of the books Hippie 1 and 2 by Peter Øvig is now known as "The Danish Case regarding Apple" at highest level in the EU parliament. At the same time "The Case" is spreading in different media all over the world.
International links for The Apple Case:
International Business Times:
The Globe and Mail:
CBC Radio (5:50):
The Copenhagen Post:
Press release from the publisher:
The pictures for download:
'Letter from the Publisher' 29.11.2012:
I would like to bring to your attention a story that involves Apple forcing self-censorship and showing arrogance towards a small Danish digital publishing house called "Hippieselskabet" (The Hippie Company).
The Hippie Company has published Hippie - a documentary book, app, ebook and audiobook in 2 parts about the Danish hippie movement from 1967 to 1970. It is written by one of Denmark's most prominent non-fiction writers Peter Ovig Knudsen. The book contains rich photographic documentation including pictures of naked hippies. A natural part of their expression of freedom at the time.
Apple has - despite previous approvals - decided to ban our Apps and eBooks from their stores. Now over a month later they will still not explain why. It has become a huge media story in Europe.
Events as they unfolded:
In October 2011 we developed and uploaded Hippie 1 iOS App to App Store. The App was approved by Apple and made available for sale on October 27th, 2011. Since then we have updated the App twice and Apple approved it each time.
Early summer 2012 we uploaded Hippie 1 ebook to Apple iBookstore. It was rejected by Apple with reference to their Guidelines (re. nudity and pornographic content).
In October 2012 we developed and uploaded Hippie 2 iOS App to App Store. The App was approved by Apple and made available for sale on October 25th, 2011.
In October 2012 we uploaded Hippie 2 ebook to Apple iBookstore. It was rejected by Apple with reference to their Guidelines (re. nudity and pornographic content).
After the rejections of our ebooks 1 & 2 we decided to create censored versions of the eBooks where we masked the relevant areas (genitals etc.) of the pictures with images of a ripe, red apple. We re-uploaded the ebooks to Apple iBookstore. Apple approved the censored ebooks and they were available for sale late October 2012.
On the day of launch we issued a press release to the Danish media regarding the fact that we had to censor our ebooks in order for them to be approved by Apple. The story was covered by all major media companies in Denmark. 3-4 days later Apple removes our ebooks from iBookstore without any warning or message to us. We then issued a new press release and the story has now appeared in media across most of Europe.
In addition to this the Danish minister for Culture has raised the issue on a European level with the EU Commission. And 2 of the Danish representatives in the EU Parliament have raised the issue as well.
So, what's the fuss all about?
Basically, we are deeply concerned that authors, journalists, photographers, film creators, game designers and others who publishes creative, interactive works for mobile use will censor themselves with the sole purpose of gaining access to the most powerful distribution platform controlled by Apple.
So far Apple has ignored us. Despite numerous requests for an explanation from Apple raised by both ourselves, the Danish minister of Culture and countless journalist we cannot get an answer.
Hippieselskabet / The Hippie Company