Apple's iTunes store is kinda like Wolverine. It's the best it is at what it does, but what it does isn't always pretty. iTunes takes a lot of flack for a stringent approval process that's resulted in seemingly acceptable content having to jump through hurdles to be electronically stocked and distributed, but it's pretty hard to argue the effectiveness of its own gatekeeping process. That's why The Wall Street Journal's report that a consortium made up of the Japan Book Publishers Association, the Japan Magazine Publishers Association, The Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan, and Digital Comic Association are asserting that iTunes' distribution model infringes on their various copyrights is a little surprising.The consortium basically says that Apple isn't doing enough to defend against their material being pirated and sold through various apps for the iPhone and iPad. Apple says it's impossible to check for all copyrighted material as it screens each submitted app, but the group says it's unconvinced.

In the past Apple's solution to this issue has simply been to remove pirated material upon notice from its rightful owners, effectively making copyright holders their own watchdogs.

The consortium has asked to meet with Apple's Japan unit to sort things, but not without some strong language:

"A failure to respond will be regarded as a lack of will on your part to take measures in a sincere manner."

All this public drama went down more or less via press releases, so it's hard to tell if the consortium and Apple plan sending gifted teenage pilots to battle things out in giant mechs. A blogger can dream, though...

[Via ICv2]