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Mizuu has been removed from Google Play

Minutes ago, I received an e-mail from Google Play, notifying me that Mizuu has been removed from the application store. The reason? Violation of Google Play's content policy regarding sexually explicit material.

Mizuu uses as its movie database, and yes - it does contain a limited number of sexually explicit movies. However, these are all unavailable in Mizuu by default. As a user, you will need to enable adult content in the application settings before you have access to any of it.

Mizuu isn't a source of sexually explicit content, but it will allow you to match your video files against sexually explicit entries in the movie database if - and only if - you have enabled the adult content setting.

There is literally nothing that separates Mizuu from a generic web browser. You'll be able to find tons more sexually explicit content using a web browser than using Mizuu - you just have to search for it. Why is that allowed if Mizuu isn't?

Certain sexually explicit movies on are NOT marked as adult content. This means that they might appear in Mizuu - this is, however, not my fault nor my intention. Mizuu fully follows the TMDb API regarding adult content and filters it by default.

I plan on re-uploading Mizuu to Google Play in the near future. It'll be available under a new package name, but this sadly means that all existing users will have to purchase it again and that the application loses its 4.7 star rating. Worst of all is that there's absolutely nothing I can do about it.

It's more or less impossible to complain about this to Google Play. I have sent a complaint, but there's usually no communication from Google in cases like this.

Update #1:
Received an update from Google Play support. It will not be reinstated and that is apparently the final decision. Wow, Google...

Update #2:
I'll have a solution ready later today. Keep an eye out on
Viktor Niniadis's profile photoCarsten “Technikfaultier” Hard's profile photoNik Zantner (Nobol)'s profile photoRobert Norris Hills's profile photo
The new app that you'll re-upload will face the same fate eventually I suppose. Can't you just remove the part that causes the removal, and ask them to put the app back on Google Play?
'That's the thing. It already blocks adult content. I'm doing everything I can. TMDb sometimes has adult content that isn't categorized as being such. There's nothing I can do about that.
Is there another database that you could use instead of TMDb? You need to figure out a solution man, because personally, I won't pay for the same app twice, and also there's a chance that the new app will be removed.
Nope, there isn't. Anyway, like I said, the removal is just stupid. If a browser is allowed, Mizuu should be as well.
Erich W
+Mizuu this is a big problem to just for you but for other developers I wish +Google Play had a way to sort out these issues with a person instead of sending out a generic response
+Reto Meier I know you've looked at Mizuu and even bought it - can you help here?
damn man, that sucks.  what I dont get is how something like a Reddit client is any better than this.  there is some filthy stuff (seriously adult content) on that site all of which is accessible through the app.

this seriously sucks.  been using the app for a long time.  hope you can get things sorted out.
+Steven Rothermel Yep. If anything, Mizuu is a content browser - just like a Reddit client. It's beyond stupid...
Erich W
+Mizuu can't you just offer it on another app market like slideme and be able to validate those who already bought it by email account. Another app had the same problem of being removed and did the same thing +TV Portal 
Mmm ... are you sure that THAT part of Mizuu is the culprit? ..  .  did Google specified that the inclusion of is the problem? .. what are the options besides just re-uploading Mizuu to the playstore?

I am not trying to be dense or to be anoying, just trying to open options!
+Jose Alberto Guerra Ugalde I can't think of anything else that would violate it. The problem is that Google Play never specifies the exact violation other than the  category.
Yeah, I know that, I had a similar problem with a website and adsense, and after sending an email asking about the problem they answered very detailed with what part of my site was the problem, so MAYBE if you ask they will tell what "exactly" the problem is!!

Let's hope!

Best Regards
+Erich W I'd wish it was this simple. Fact is that Google Play is the best app store there is and I'm not going to use anything else when I have close to 10,000 paying users who expect access, updates and support via Google Play. I firmly believe that I have done nothing wrong and that the application does not violate the content policy. If it did, a lot of other applications would as well - basically any application with access to the web.
This could be a problem for other apps if Google sticks to this position.  Although the mechanism is different - a server app not loaded from Google play does the data download from - both Plex and Serenity may face the same issues.
>Certain sexually explicit movies on are NOT marked as adult content. This means that they might appear in Mizuu - this is, however, not my fault nor my intention. Mizuu fully follows the TMDb API regarding adult content and filters it by default.

I think this might be the source of the removal. While you say it is not your fault, but if a user uses your app to access this, aren't you for all intents and purposes still liable?

Now, I read your argument on Reddit:

 "It's equivalent to a web browser being able to search for porn or a Reddit client being able to browse NSFW subreddits for that matter. *I know lots of Reddit clients that include a "Hide NSFW content" option.* It just seems incredibly unfair."

Web browsers are a little bit different in that any and all content can be accessed, but a dedicated app for movies which happens to have a section for adult content isn't the same thing. It's kind of like old video stores that had their different sections of their store, but also had the "Adult XXX" section that was roped off, and while employees could stop a kid from going in there... what if they were busy or distracted and a child made their way into the XXX section? They'd still be liable. 

Maybe you should just go ahead and have an option to hide the adult content and I think you'd have a better chance with your app on the Play Store. I know, it doesn't seem "fair", but in Google's eyes... it's not that they don't care... but they probably won't allow it until there are more safeguards that can prevent minors from accessing explicit content. 
+J Schippnick 
Is the developer of a web browser liable for the action's of the user using it? Nope, didn't think so...

Mizuu already includes every single precaution I can make. The app does include an option to include adult content and it is disabled by default.
I just received an update from Google Play's support team. It will not be reinstated, and the decision is final. Honestly, fuck Google Play...
+Michell Bak This is a dedicated app, not a web-browser. +Mizuu simply needs to take more precautions and then Google won't have a problem with this app. Is the developer worrisome that by disabling adult content all together would hurt his install base? If +Mizuu was indeed worried about whether or not to be back on the Play Store, he may need to make that sacrifice. 

(I wrote this before realizing you were the developer, sorry)
Erich W
+Mizuu I agree with staying on +Google Play but read your thoughts on submitting it as a new app with a new name which will leave us pay users without an umbrella and then again how long before the next app gets pulled we need to raise issue of the problem 
Is it possible to NOT include the as a hardwired option?  .... I mean, right now it automatically uses this "not authorized" DB to search for, and identify all the movies, but what if you just leave a BLANK form field for the user to type in his "preferred" movie database? ... I know that programatically is not that easy (taking in account the different APIs that you can use for the different DBs), but maybe something more ... open ... and mainly NOT including the forbidden one!

Well, anyway I know that you will  fix it some how, after all ... how hard can it be??  ;)
+Rachid Otsmane-Elhaou I'd argue it'd be a *bad* user experience if a kid was using this app and came across films that contained nudity and strong adult content. 
+Rachid Otsmane-Elhaou I think if the user were to add in the URL themselves it would technically remove any liability for the developer. +Mizuu may want to consider this. 
+J Schippnick Perhaps I am missing something - but surely the only way someone would be exposed to adult content is if they already have adult content they are using the app to match? 
+Andrew Jones-McGuire Well, from the OP himself.

"Certain sexually explicit movies on are NOT marked as adult content. This means that they might appear in Mizuu - this is, however, not my fault nor my intention. Mizuu fully follows the TMDb API regarding adult content and filters it by default."

Meaning that his app is pulling improperly tagged movies that have adult content and showing them by default. So all the developer has to do is remove from his app, find a different source (albeit this might be difficult to do), and then his app can be back on the Play Store. Whether it's his fault or not, his app is flawed. 
+J Schippnick Sorry you are still missing the point, whether the content is marked as sexually explicit or not is irrelevant, it's unlikely the content will show up UNLESS you are trying to match it to an existing adult video - in which case you expect it to show up. This is NOT a movie browsing app, it is a movie MATCHING app - the whole point is to to match the movies you already have. Unless you name a movie the same as an adult movie, and it's runtime is identical (or near as) Normal users probably won't see the sexual content.
This is scary. I use a lot of apps that could be removed for the exact same reason.
+Martin Konecny They would only be removed by violating Google's terms and conditions. If you don't play by their rules, then they have the right to remove them. Each and every developer is responsible for reading this rules and agree to them at time of application.
+Michael Lustig Don't forget, the app was also manually reviewed and the review was final. Disrespectful? He agreed to the terms and conditions of the Play Store when he added +Mizuu and his app was determined to violate the rules that he agreed to. I don't agree with it, but he chose to play by their rules and broke their rules. What would you rather have them do? Keep an app on the Play Store that is against policy? They might as well just let any app on then. He can try's AppStore, but they have very similar and sometimes more strict rules. Maybe he can release it on iOS? Oh, but it would be against their rules as well. He could always host it on a private server, but getting traffic to another source without a large install base is practically suicide. 

All +Mizuu needs to do is change the indexing and the app will be allowed to be hosted on Google Play. 
+Michael Lustig You absolutely are missing something. Even with blocking certain content, unfortunately his source isn't tagging every adult film AS adult and is leaking into the default lists. 
+Michael Lustig So you didn't even READ what +Mizuu said in this same post we're commenting on?

"Certain sexually explicit movies on are NOT marked as adult content. This means that they might appear in Mizuu - this is, however, not my fault nor my intention. Mizuu fully follows the TMDb API regarding adult content and filters it by default."
I'm really struggling to understand your argument, +J Schippnick.  Basically, people are only going to run into this "problem" if they already have adult content on their mobile device.  That's what Mizuu is matching against and

Now, obviously rules are rules, but it sounds like +Michell Bak has taken all reasonable measures.  Whether a rule has been violated or not is at best a gray zone.  I really find it hard to believe that any reasonable person would see a real problem here, practically speaking.  If you don't want to view adult content, or you don't want your children to view adult content, don't put adult content on your device. Having or not having this app isn't going to change that.

I don't understand why you don't think the browser analogy is valid.  This is essentially a browser for your content, just reformatting specific material from a couple webpages.
+Andy Regenscheid If it is indeed essentially a browser, then why doesn't +Mizuu categorize it as a browser? Clearly Google is in the right on this and if you want to play in their yard, you need to follow the rules. It really is as simple as that. 
+J Schippnick Do you use Mizuu?  I'm less and less convinced you know what it does and why people use it...

I don't disagree Google is in a position to do whatever they want here.  I'll concede that.  I'm just saying it doesn't make any sense.  I don't see a meaningful distinction between this and a reddit client or, on the more extreme end, a web browser.

You seem to think this does make sense and there is a meaningful distinction.  Can you explain why?

You seem to think there was a clear rule violation.  If this is a rule violation, why isn't it a violation if a reddit client lets you view NSFW content?  Or a browser that lets you browse to a pornographic website?  In all of these cases the user has to take an explicit action to get it- either browsing to a NSFW section, searching for adult content, or loading adult videos on a device.

If anything, it seems like browsers and reddit clients are playing a bigger role in facilitating access to adult content.  In those cases, there's no requirement that the user already has adult content on his/her device.
+Andy Regenscheid I've used it for about a week, then saw the post on Reddit about it being flagged and removed. 
+J Schippnick OK, that's good.  So you know the app.

Care to weigh in my other questions?  What do you think makes this different from a reddit client or web browser, which can also pull down sexually explicit content when requested by the user?
Hi +Michell Bak, I'm feeling so sad about +Google Plays decision and I really hope you'll find a way to manage is around. :-( Is there anything we can do to help you with this? Starting an online petition, or so? ;-)

Nevertheless, when you republish the app with an other name, maybe you can add an option to unlock premium features via code and send a premium code to those users, that already purchased the app? ;-)

Just tell me, if you need some help with testing or flooding Google with complaint Mails! :-D 
Just a quick thought:
Does the query return the imdb id?
If yes then don't display those results without one.
If it has an id get the imdb result and exclude adult content.
Don't include the option to display adult content at all.
You can use e.g. to save purchases across different package names.
Thats the way they deal with us and you have no-one to talk to and discuss which changes will be fine... they tell you if you repeat violating the policy your whole account will get closed... thats not the way it should be +Google Play  i lost 180000 active users 2mio downloads without the chance to get my app reactivated.
Hi guys. I'll have a solution ready later today, that should eliminate the need for paying users to pay for it again. Keep an eye out on
good to hear that uv got a solution ^^
i hope people who dont already have the app will also have the ability to buy it oO.
i want THIS app but without playstore i dont have a way to pay for it :c
pls find a way to make the app also available for new users.
thx and all my luck to u and ur nice app
I would pay again. Mizuu is the best app for Android Mediaplayers.
what if you upload Mizuu again, without the link to the database. Instead users would have to load a plugin from your webside. Could that be a solution?
+Sam Schinke Yeah, I totally get what you mean. They can't block IMDb though, as they'd get a shitload of trouble. Small indie-developers, though - not a problem. Mizuu's content rating was set to the highest maturity level.
now its free ???damn.if u want my support pls show how to donate for our work ok? -->> paypal or stuff like that ;d
my english is terrible ^^ -> i mean show me how to support your work with a beer :P
+Michael Rothkirch I added a note at the bottom of the Download page, if you want to donate. It is far from required though, so please don't feel obliged to do so :)
u will get a beer from me ;D - i stand to my word - keep continuing your good work
u have to place the link or button more in front of the website :P - so more people will donate hahaha.maybe a nice "donate" button or so - just a advice from my site ^^
+Michael Rothkirch I actually looked it up. PayPal only allows organizations that have a "real" donation purpose to use the donate button :)
Hey, +Google Play - you really need to do something about these arcane policies. For example, +Mizuu made the DEFAULT setting for the app, NOT to search for sexually explicit titles on the database website. What if the dev set that preference in the app to not be changeable unless a Google account password was put in (to prevent children or other non-authorized users from changing it to on) to the app?

Seriously, this is very Apple like (i.e. bad) of you to, Google. Everyone knows that if you want porn, you can use Chrome browser (with its porn-enabling private browser mode) to access it.

Mizuu doesn't "get you porn" - it would be the worst app ever at that.

Maybe it's too late for Mizuu, with this package name at least, but you need to seriously sit down and discuss these issues among yourselves and find out a better way to deal with this.
Can't tmdb be offered as a standalone plugin to Mizuu, leting users implement the feature later on? 
+Kristian Dahlén That'd be a horrible solution. I'd never want anyone to download plugins in order for something to work. It should just work out of the box - one package. Nothing more, nothing less.
Of course current solution is better but in order to keep Google happy, maybe least bad solution? 
Honestly, if that's what would be required to keep Google happy, I wouldn't do it.
+Michell Bak +Kristian Dahlén  VLC doesn't encode .mp3 files unless you download the separate LAME plugin. Takes all of 15 seconds to do on a PC.

Point is, is that as long as the world is still based on a) corporate closed-source app stores like Google Play and Apple App Store and b) government/country based restrictions on sex/political/religious themed items of any nature, physical or digital - we're going to run into this problem.

While of course I agree that a plugin wouldn't be optimum - we should be happy that at least on Android, we have the option to do it this way if we want. Look at Tasker and the Secure Settings plugin, for example - it's an advanced tool for advanced users, and because Android doesn't let you customize where you can install things like a PC does, it's even easier to install plugins on Android, then on a PC.
I love his software if you have to enabe it is not adult content and it is the user of the software that have porn and not the auther of the software
It looks to me like a user complained to google and they removed your app.  Silly but probably true.  I just downloaded google chrome and I found tons of explicit material on it.  I will complain to google about this and hopefully chrome will be removed from play store.  Infact I found the same on all browsers in play store.  It's disgusting that you can access this material from an app that google themselves have developed.  If we all complain then sureley the app will have to be removed from google play.
Michell, could you remove the TMD link and upon first install and major update have that piece download and install after the fact.  This would remove the Play.Store suspicion you allow Adult content.  If in fact that part is their problem.
+Michael Murphy Hi!

It would be a pretty horid user experience and it wouldn't change anything in terms of violating the terms of use.
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