I think this guy is wrong. He's mixing apples and oranges when it comes to who owns what. Apple is requiring people who use its software to create an e-book to give Apple a cut of the proceeds of the Apple created e-book. The author still owns his or her content. If you want to sell your book, just don't sell the form of the book made by Apple's software. You can still sell a PDF, for example. Or you can sell your Word file. You can sell anything really.
But if you want to sell the nice design Apple lets you make, you have to give them money.
I believe you can simultaneously sell an e-book in the iBookstore and sell a non-Apple created e-book with the exact same content somewhere else. For example, a word document turned into an e-book on Amazon. Just don't try and sell your Apple created e-book on Amazon, that's all.
Indeed, there's a new ebook-production service (still in beta) named Vook which aims to give authors the ability to produce ebooks in all the major ebook formats, including EPUB, Amazon's formats, and now whatever Apple calls their new iBooks 2 format. An author would use Vook's software, not Apple's, so the iBooks Author EULA wouldn't apply. Smashwords offers a conversion service similar to Vook's, and is much older. (Disclosure: I have no association with Vook or Smashwords. I've just been researching the ebook industry recently.)
iBooks 2 format is more or less ePub3, as I understand it. I could understand it incorrectly.
I can also speak fairly highly of the leanpub team's process. My wife and I are finding it less than perfect for our needs in producing a fiction book with both ebook and print-ready book needs, but appreciate the directness and promptness with which both Scott & Peter have been responding to us when we are raising issues with what we're seeing.
Better yet, their conversion is free with no commitment to sell your book on leanpub required. I'd happily pay for what they're providing for free because it's so damned easy.
In fact, you can even sell an iBook—just like the ones iBooks Author makes—as long as iBooks Author isn't the program you used to make it. The iBooks Author software will inevitably spawn FOSS clones, and other tools that already exist (a likely candidate is Adobe InDesign) will allow export to the same iBook format in new versions, without the same EULA qualification. You might even just author an iBook "by hand," just the way you're currently able to author eBooks—writing HTML and CSS yourself, and zipping the results. You'll be able to have your cake and eat it too, just so long as you avoid Apple's particular cake mix.
I'm not seeing why this is so unreasonable, if someone could fill me in.
The program is for creating iBooks, not eBooks, to be sold through their iBookstore. I'm seeing these more as apps than something like .ePub files or .PDFs.
Unlike apps though, which require an developer license to load yourself, Author gives anyone the ability to run these books on your iPad. It also gives anyone the ability to distribute an iBook outside the iBookstore.
Since licensing every person who wanted to create an iBook would be a pain in the ass for Apple and a barrier to creation, this seems to be the next good option.
It prevents anyone from creating their own iBook marketplace (reasonable) and profiting off of a software that Apple is giving away for free, under the agreement that products of it are sold though their marketplace. No?
The icky feeling comes from the hypothetical transitivity of such an agreement. It seems like a great way to bootstrap a pseudo-feudal obligation system.
What if everything you made with the OS was similarly hindered? Launch an auto update that effectively bricks your device unless you agree to the new EULA, blah blah nightmare scenario here.
Less hyperbolically, it's like the first concrete step into killing the freedom to read. My biggest concern with iBooks is whether they have remote wipe and whether you can launch books sans DRM.
It's going to be awkward when the PATRIOTSOPA Act of 2022 remote deletes all of my chemistry textbooks because terrorists can learn about exothermic reactions or revises all of the biology textbooks because evolution has been deemed illegal.
I'm just guessing here, but if you write a textbook and get published by a traditional publisher (McGraw-Hill, etc.), they probably disallow you from creating a copy of that same book and selling it for $5 from your own marketplace. They check it for quality, help create the physical book, and put their name on it. They even have some ownership. I'm simply seeing Apple as a publishing partner here. They're helping you create the book and distribute it, and with that agreement you're bound to certain limitations, such as a percentage they'll take for distribution (surely less than what a traditional publisher would take).
You can play the slippery slope card all you want, and try to apply what we're seeing to all other applications, but I don't see anything to back it up.
Regarding remote wipe. I have no idea if that's in the iBookstore EULA, and haven't found a thing about it. My guess is like apps, you'll have to confirm and download the update yourself. In fact, when apps are taken off the app store, you still get to keep them, whereas Android apps have a kill switch. Have you seen anything that implies remote wipe capabilities?
As an iOS 'fanboy' i have to tell you that both iOS and Android have a "kill switch". It's a measure for the really dangerous cases and Google has used it once or twice, and i guess Apple too (not shure atm). When jailbroken, you can turn it off on both platforms.
But you are right in that there seems to be no such thing for books, unlike on Amazon (remember the 1984 case?)
"It also gives anyone the ability to distribute an iBook outside the iBookstore."
That is exactly what the author complains about, you cannot distribute an iBook outside the store:
"if your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service), you may only distribute the Work through Apple and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions"
Yes, my statement said the program gave you the ability to do so, but not the right to.
The reason to say this was to make the point that unlike apps where you don't have the ability to distribute them outside of the store, the EULA is in this case necessary to lock down the user experience to iPad and resulting profits of providing this to Apple.
IANAL either, but Apple's lawyers _are_ lawyers, so rest assured that they've thought about this, as well.
I suspect the answer is this: you're free to sell the e-book version for a fee and give away the iBooks version: this just makes the iPad a more attractive product and undercuts your own e-book sales. This is probably a stupid move on your part, but that's hardly Apple's problem.
But giving away the iBooks version _only to purchasers of the e-book version_ is equivalent to the iBooks version being a "feature" of the (non-free) e-book version, which is quite different than "giving away the iBooks version". This would also apply to giving away the iBooks version, but only to members of my fee-based "book club", subscribers to my fee-based newsletter, and so on. Otherwise, what stops textbook publishers from selling non-iBooks "teachers' editions" for $10,000, then giving away copies of the iBooks versions to students enrolled in courses taught by holders of teachers' editions, then passing the $10,000 cost on to students by way of "enrollment fees" or tuition hikes, offset by the fact that "textbooks are now free"?
Apple doesn't own the Apps that you create or claim partial ownership of it. Your code and it's output belongs to you. The developer license is offensive in it's own way but that's a different issue than what's happening here with iBooks
Sorry, but where does Apple claim partial ownership? Maybe I missed it, but I haven't seen that.
You own a car, but you're licensed and registered by the state. You can paint it whatever color you want, but can you make an exact duplicate of that car and sell it as your own? Nope. Can you sell it without transferring registration? Nope (at least, not without alternate state paperwork). You might "own" it, but you still can't do whatever you want.
You're licensed iBooks Author and you enter into an agreement. You create, retain copyright, and own the product, but you can't copy it and do as you please. You follow the licensing and only have certain rights when it comes to the .ibook file.
A comparison in my mind would be saying GarageBand creations can only be sold through the iTunes store. The difference I see is that iBooks Author is not outputting a simple media file, but a more complex experience filled with medias. As often the case with Apple, they want to lock that experience (& resulting profits) into the best device for it, the iPad.
If the cost of using the software is giving up clear title to your work, then it's a very high cost indeed. A deal that big needs to be advertised - boldly - up front, not buried in the ELUA, then popping up after you've committed time and effort to a work.
I can understand them saying that wanting to use the Apple store means giving them the same 30% cut that they charge for in-app subscriptions, and demanding that you adjust your prices on all other platforms to remain competitive. That's hardball, to be sure, but it respects the integrity of ownership.
This, on the other hand, is the same pattern that gets people hauled in on anti-trust charges. They're not a monopoly (yet), but I have a hard time seeing how this extraordinary claim of ownership in the work of others is anything less than the type of platform-abuse the anti-trust law specifically bans.
Let's say I write a book called "My Awesome Comments from HackerNews, Unabridged" (MACFHU) using Microsoft Word.
And I send that to my publisher, retaining all rights to publish the book still.
Then I adapt MACFHU for iBooks using the iBook Author tool. Would I then be prohibited from selling my book in the iBookstore because it's already available in hardcover? If I published it first in iBookstore, would my publisher be prohibited from publishing it in hardcover?
Or does the iBooks EULA basically say: "This is a specialized tool that you should use to publish books on the iPad." You can certainly publish your content on other platforms as well, but you'll need to format it using other tools. Check out InDesign, for instance.
1) Apple hasn't made clear enough that by using "iBooks Author", the only distribution channel you can use is Apple (de facto in that you must pay them, regardless of how you distribute).
2) There is disagreement that this is a good direction at all.
Point #1 is the one made by the author of the submission. With regard to point #2, I feel that Apple should be free to do what they want with their platform. I also feel that people should be free to openly disagree with them.
Initially I had an unfavorable opinion on this. But I started thinking about game engines: When you use the Unreal or Unity game engine authoring tools, you don't expect to be able to sell your game without giving the game engine company a cut. It might be a flat rate, but that's basically the same thing.
Apple are providing authoring tools for their "iBooks 2" engine and are not out of line expecting a cut of the profits...
You are giving them a cut partly because your application will contain parts of their source code. I think it's not a good/exact comparison.
I think the ownership is about the output format, not the contents itself, so it could be better compared to InstallShield, for example. It is used to package and easily distribute/install your Windows programs.
If it was free but they'd requested similar conditions to those in the iBooks EULA (that you can only distribute it in their own channels, that they might reject your program if they don't like it, etc.), would you still consider them for distribution?
When is Microsoft going to get the bright idea to incorporate everything anybody writes in Word or Visual Studio into their own IP portfolio? Or Adobe appropriates the copyright of any image edited with Photoshop? Here's to the crazy ones.
Presumably when Microsoft starts giving away Word and makes Visual Studio a compelling platform for cross-platform development?
In all honesty, given the iPad's share of the tablet market, making unrestricted, high-quality, cross-platform interactive content development tools available to iOS developers at no cost might provoke antitrust claims from the likes of Adobe. But Adobe isn't likely to sell expensive digital publishing software to authors of free books, and mainstream publishers are unlikely to commit to "iPad exclusive" titles to avoid a few thousand dollars in software licenses.
There's another bit that nobody has brought up: no author ever ends up owning the entirety of his or her work. If I write a book for Harper Collins, I am not allowed to reproduce or distribute that content via any channel not approved by them, and they give much worse than a 70/30 cut.
As hackers, we are debating these books as if they are software, but remember that they are products at the intersection of two industries, and publishers have had authors in restrictive and less-than-lucrative contracts for a long time.
What lead us to this point in history where people whine and go on tantrums about the injustice of being given powerful free tools produced at great expense?
I think the root cause is the anti-piracy war, going on ever since the dawn of the computer age. The endgame may be an angry backlash of anti-copyright extremism gaining mainstream support. We may see a day soon when the voters demand an end to all copyright. Who knows what the end result of that would be.
I don't see how this is substantially different from EULAs that restrict usage to non-commercial. It's basically "non-commercial, except" so you have strictly more rights than with e.g. the non-commercial version of CadSoft eagle.
I recently thought a lot about the relationship between user input and program output and what implications the transformations performed by the program have on the copyright. Consider a heavy optimizing compiler: The program you feed into it will often be entirely different in terms of execution, but not result, from the user input. Some optimizations might even hide bugs that the original program might have had. At what point would it be justified to consider the program (or the creator thereof) to have some implied copyright on the produced output. Do we need to consider the smartness of the applied algorithms? Is it necessary for a program to be considered a true AI to hold the copyright to something?
Anyway, I don't see how that applies to a pretty printer for books. A mere tool is only that. I don't see why it should restrict my ability to commercialize my product. If someone were to suggest that the producers of pens, paper or canvas should have a say in how artists are to sell their works people would just laugh at him.
Actually, there is already precedent for these ideas in the copyright laws. The creative work is the input and mechanical transformation is not something that can be copyrighted in of itself. A compiler itself is a creative work. But the mechanical process of compiling a file is not a creative work. It seems pretty clear cut.
I imagine only true AI could hold the copyright to something -- and even than, the laws may currently be limited to human creativity.
Don't use it then... Simple. Write your thing in what you like and sell it as you like. Write it on paper even. And sell it. Or don't sell it, just give it away for free and see how many people get your superior thinking and go downloading you on a scale that will bring the Internet down...
You can get the payment, thats easy, you only take cash, there an ATM round the corner. Distribution is easy too isn't it.
If someone is unhappy about it, you can handle the returns. Or, no, sorry, of course you don't do returns. This is YOUR intellectual property - once they've got it, they may have photocopied it, you don't want your work to go around for free, do you.
In all fairness, you really don't need this - your website is already drawing an enormous attention and everyone wants a cut of it....
I think the important thing to note is that the author is not complaining that Apple wants a cut. The author is complaining that you have to do it through the App Store. And in that regard, I do agree that this case is unprecedented, that a EULA restricts the distribution channel.
It would likely be enforceable unless the term is "unreasonable" or "unconscionable"... although we certainly may not like it, I don't think it would necessarily meet those thresholds in a court of law because there are other alternatives to publishing using iBook.
How is this different than Microsoft giving away a version of their C++ compiler as part of the Xbox development kit which can only produce executables that can be sold via Microsoft to people having Xboxes? The comparison is favorable to Apple, as they allow free books, unlike the console vendors.
In both cases, the platform vendor is giving away nice dev tools in order to get more content to sale on his platform.
(read Microsoft as "Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo")
> How is this different than Microsoft giving away a version of their C++ compiler as part of the Xbox development kit which can only produce executables that can be sold via Microsoft to people having Xboxes?
You mean like this? Applies to both Xbox and WinPhone. Apple also gives away Xcode, but you can't make iOS apps outside of their dev program.
Is Apple claiming this restriction applies to the content of the book, or just the output of their app? Can I transcribe my book into another program and then sell it independently? What if the book is already written and published and I'm transcribing it into an iBook?
And of course, if transcribing bypasses the restriction, then simply converting the file to a different format must do the same, right?
Get an Apple typewriter. Write your Book. Once it's done Apple knocks on your door, tells you that you have to sell their book in their store, and they will take a cut from it. And if you are against that, you can't sell it at all.
So much for the 21st century progress and freedom to own what you create.
I like the similarity, but you have to make it more honest:
You're a writer, but don't have a good typewriter. Apple is willing to lend you one for free. The only issue is that if you then want to sell your book, you have to sell it through Apple's store. If you don't sell a single copy, Apple won't charge you for the use of the typewriter. If you sell a lot of copies, Apple gets a cut, both for the book being in their store (publicity) and the use of their typewriter. You're still allowed to use different typewriters, and you can even sell books written on a different typewriter in Apple's store, though they'll still take a cut.
The only part where i have a problem is the exclusivity. Apple may own the typewriter but you own the words that you write. I think Apple may have a ground to charge you for using their typewriter somehow, but restricting where you decide to publish your work goes far, very far.
In the end, it's a matter of being in agreement with the contract. I doubt anyone reasonable would accept such terms willingly - an author wants to spread their works as much as possible, and not limit them to a single marketplace.
Don't see the problem here. The app makes iBooks—not eBooks. The iBookstore sells both iBooks and eBooks. Publishers can sell their book in iBook or eBook format. If you want to sell iBooks which only works on iOS, you have to go through the iBookstore. Nothing prevents them from selling eBooks instead.
It's reasonable to ask for a cut on your software output, if the author is giving it out for free. While should they give out their work for free to people who are going to make money out of it?
Actually, asking for a cut could become a standard option for selling software where you would offer at customer's choice:
- commercial license, paid upfront;
- commercial license, paid by royalties.
That way, people who don't agree to the GPL, but still think your commercial license is too expensive compared to their expected earnings would have a further option: no gain, no pain.
As a side note, one of the reasons I prefer software which comes with standard licenses (GPL, BSD, etc.) is that I know what those licenses say, and I can click on "I agree" without worrying about the fine print. If the license text differs in some way from its template, authors are explicit about that.
That's the thing - they probably did look over it. The EULA clause may or may not be bad business, but that doesn't make it unenforceable. There doesn't look to be anything that is legally out of place here. By agreeing to use the iBooks Author software you are agreeing to those terms - it's a contract. That's been settled law for a while now.
The only reason it would be unenforceable is if the terms are unreasonable. Unreasonable is pretty specifically defined in the common law, and it doesn't just mean that you and I don't like it.
In this particular context you would probably have to prove that there is economic duress, which might be a valid argument if Apple owned a monopoly on all textbook producing software and electronic textbook sales - which as of right now, they don't.
So barring something else more monstrous lurking in the EULA I'm not convinced that anything can be done about it (in court).
The iBookstore has always used DRM. I can easily see how DRM is the most economic options for eBooks right now - eBooks are more than $.99, so they needed a barrier between the internet's vast reservoir of PDFs and owning a pretty ePub file. (I still wouldn't buy DRM-ed books)
But the article is about the authoring tool, and Apple was going to produce it. So they had two primary options to protect their interests:
* Write an EULA and trust the law
* Use DRM in all output or otherwise proprietary formats (and implicitly trust the law as a backup)
I'm not saying we should be thankful for the EULA's wording, but for people who hate DRM for practical reasons, this is probably the best realistic outcome.
If you hate DRM for ethical reasons and think that all content should be free, then be happy about a free tool and write content.
Only if you wish you could use Apple's tool to make money on another platform, well you are out of luck.
> And as always apple using its market advantage
That must be a very limited 'always' :) I don't see how they abused the iPod's market domination much. The iPad is the only other product where they have an advantage in numbers, but I am not sure if that extends to the iBookstore at all.
Use iBooks Author to generate works for iBooks use another tool to generate works for other media.
IANAL but I don't think they're saying that if you use iBooks Author to make your work available for iBooks and use amazon's tools to make your work available for Kindle that you'd owe Apple a cut of your Kindle revenue.
Over the years I've seen a large volume of creative software, often free, that is used to produce output, that requires, as part of its license, that you give the creator of the software a cut if you sell any of the things you make with it.
This includes everything that is "free for non-commercial use", such as, if I recall correctly, Blender (in the past), most of the Free Fonts out there, and a lot of free software.
The iBooks Author Software is an Apple provided development tool specifically for the purpose of creating iBooks for the iBookstore.
You can give your books away free in the iBookstore, and you can also, as you note, output the results in a variety of formats not suitable for the iBookstore. Those are a nice bonus.
Sometimes I get the impression that people think that everything should be free, for any use, and that the people who create these free things should have no right (or that its "audacious" to exercise some right) over what terms on which they distribute these free tools they create. (Or maybe only the "right" to distribute them on terms you agree with.)
Apple is providing a free tool, and the restrictions that come with it are the cost. Either the value of that tool to me exceeds the cost, or it doesn't. (and the "glovebox" example is nonsense, the EULA is part of the Mac AppStore sales process, you could read t before downloading the app.)
It is the same way with the Free Software Foundation. If they made a tool called "ePub Author" and that tool-- especially if it included templates and copyrighted imagery and other work, as iBooks Author does-- required you to license any works created with the tool under the GPL, then I'd make the same evaluation- is that restriction a cost that exceeds the value of the tool or not?
If you don't like the EULA, feel free not to use iBooks Author and use whatever tool you like that's value proposition is one you prefer. To rail against Apple for providing this tool seems to imply that you feel they owe you something.
Very often today we've seen Apple offer all kinds of new and innovative things, and I've seen a content stream of comments along the lines of "these are bad because apple profits from them". Of course Apple profits. We all profit, though, because they changed the economics of the education situation. If you want something different, create it.
We're not entitled to demand people to produce things for our benefit in ways we dictate, at no possible benefit to themselves.
2. Imagine if this product had been released to ONLY support iBooks in a proprietary format. Apple released a tool last year called iAd producer. This produced ads but only for the iAd network. It is completely proprietary. Nobody complained.
Would those who think these terms are unreasonable have complained if Apple hadn't included the ability to output in a standard ePub format, and the ability to distribute derivative works for free?
Is it really the case that making this tool more restrictive by limiting its interoperability would have removed these complaints? If not, how can you complain about Apple producing a tool to support their proprietary book format? Is Apple required to make all software capable of supporting whatever you want to do with it ? Should Xcode be require to produce Android apps?
Being upset at this restriction is perfectly reasonable. It is intended to keep authors/editors artificially locked into Apple's products and distribution system. Imagine how you would feel about similar restrictions on other production tools (Photoshop, Visual Studio, Word, Garage Band, etc.) and you would immediately see this is shitty behavior.
Though I do agree with what you are saying: people have a choice not to use these tools. However, the rules of this product are somewhat hidden -- to the point where you probably won't know your restrictions until you've already put in the work. And also Apple is leveraging their platform dominance in an uncompetitive and unfair manner and should be admonished for it.
> you probably won't know your restrictions until you've already put in the work
Do people really start putting significant effort into projects without thinking about legal issues, distribution, etc.? (I don't consider downloading an app and creating a two page test book as 'significant effort')
I do not think Visual Studio is an example that supports your argument.
I haven't spelled its license recently, but the native code compilers are intended to keep authors locked into Microsoft's ecosystem. Whether that is more or less artificially then this product, I would not know.
Having said that, I agree that this is part of a strategy that is designed to corner a market. Some people would phrase that as "good old capitalism at work", though. I agree with them, except for that "good" adjective.
>It is intended to keep authors/editors artificially locked into Apple's products and distribution system.
There is no artificial lock in. They are providing a tool to produce content for their distribution system. That's its point.
The comparison to general purpose tools isn't relevant. Consider if this tool, like iAd Producer, had no ability to export in a format outside of Apple's proprietary one. Would you still be upset?
>And also Apple is leveraging their platform dominance in an uncompetitive and unfair manner and should be admonished for it.
What platform dominance is that? The same people who complain about Apple doing anything that benefits them, seem to constantly tell us that the Kindle is the dominant e-reader and that android is the dominant mobile OS.
How is providing new features for electronic books "uncompetitive and unfair"? How is providing a tool that lets you author books that use these new features "uncompetitive and unfair"?
As for competitiveness, this is the very definition of competition. They provided something better, and also provided a tool that lets people easily create content for this better solution. Isn't your real beef that this is competitive?
As for "unfair", it seems that you're the one who is being unfair. You are taking the position that they should provide you tools for free to do what you want in any way you want. You seem to presume an obligation on their part to comply with your arbitrary view that they should give you something for nothing, without restrictions.
The lock-in would be complete if they change iBooks to only display books that have been published with their variant of epub classes. They don't do this, so would have to agree that you can produce your book any way you want then make it available.
I believe the original author's pain is around the paucity of good EPUB publishing tools, and to have one appear with these restrictions makes them sad. It would have been nice if Apple had said, "If you buy a commercial license to this software for $X we won't constrain your ability to sell the books produced." Then at least there would be a way to use to the tool to produce books that would be salable at both Apple and Amazon's shops.
Clearly Apple sees this as a way to build a library of 'exclusive' content in iBooks and mute the Kindle threat. For me at least that shows me just how threatening the Kindle Fire is to their model.
>I've seen a large volume of creative software, often free, that is used to produce output, that requires, as part of its license, that you give the creator of the software a cut if you sell any of the things you make with it.
Comparing the history of "Apple-branded Mac software for which Apple does not charge users license fees" with the history of the "free for non-commercial use" software projects of the world is...a stretch.
Xcode is free. GarageBand has been included free on any semi-recently purchased Mac. iWeb who knows; Keynote, Pages, and Numbers are very low cost (and FWIW they each probably share code with iBooks Author).
Imagine for a moment that the next update to Xcode or GarageBand included EULA language similar to what the OP is complaining about. Would you defend it on the grounds you cite above, or not? And if not, why not?
Are there any other free applications on the Mac App Store that contain similar license language? If a third-party developer had a free application rejected from the Mac App Store for including this type of license language in the EULA, would you be surprised, or would you find the rejection consistent with the expectations that Apple has set for non-expert users on the platform?
If the "iBooks Author" application were something that had to be downloaded from inside an iBooks Developer Program portal, where you had to accept the license language as an explicit step to getting a portal account, I wouldn't care so much. But Apple literally held a press conference to tell the whole world "hey this shiny free shovel is going to enable happy rainbow pony time for the children, and everyone with a Mac and something to write for the children should download it right now and start digging."
>Very often today we've seen Apple offer all kinds of new and innovative things, and I've seen a content stream of comments along the lines of "these are bad because apple profits from them". Of course Apple profits. We all profit, though, because they changed the economics of the education situation. If you want something different, create it.
I totally agree with you on this point. And I would even agree that it's the most important point. In return, all I ask is that you join me in finding their EULA shenanigans slightly scummy in their bait-and-switchness.
> Imagine for a moment that the next update to Xcode or GarageBand included EULA language similar to what the OP is complaining about. Would you defend it on the grounds you cite above, or not? And if not, why not?
The Xcode example is already a reality. If you produce an iOS app using Xcode, you have two choices: sell it for a price in the App Store and pay Apple a cut, or give it away.
I would not be at all surprised if the Xcode EULA contained language enforcing this now that you are no longer required to have an ADC account (free or otherwise) to download Xcode.
The greater point stands. If Apple had made iBooks Author only able to publish to the iBookstore, no one would have been surprised. It's their platform, and they do as they please. Don't like it, don't use it. I know a few publishers that are making this very judgement call right now: build our own web-based platform, or pay Apple's vig. Sure, they'd love to use Apple's tool for free. They'd also like to stop paying $1200 for Adobe's Creative Suite, but that's not happening either.
* The Xcode example isn't a reality. I can see my Mac application outside of the appstore without giving Apple a penny. I can sell my corporate iPhone / iPad application without giving Apple a penny (corporates can obtain management tools that allow them to load applications without using the appstore). It's true for a subset - consumer iOS apps.
* I've had Xcode prior to it's free availability in the appstore and have never had an ADC account - it was on the CDs with my MacBook.
On the first point, I was specifically referring to iOS apps, and you cannot "sell my corporate iPhone/iPad application" in the way you describe. Side-loading is only available to businesses with more than 500 employees, and as far as I understand, is only for internally developed applications.
Fair enough on the second, but it's tangential to the point. Apple constrains the distribution channels of iOS apps built using Xcode. This specific case is analogous to the iBooks Author tool restrictions.
No, sorry, I wasn't disagreeing with you, just pointing out a couple of inaccuracies (though re your response, a corporate can load anything, whoever wrote it, so long as they have the required files).
Your entire post can basically be tl;dr'd as "It's Apple's product so they can do anything they want and therefore there is no reasonable discussion to be had about whether or not it makes sense or is offensive or the right thing to do"
There are real issues with gpl code that makes other derived works also gpl and there are reasonable discussions to be had about it besides "the person who created it can do whatever he wants. End of story". Same thing applies here.
> "It's Apple's product so they can do anything they want and therefore there is no reasonable discussion to be had about whether or not it makes sense or is offensive or the right thing to do"
The problem is also that it's this kind of attitude that allowed Microsoft to illegally leverage its monopoly to pressure other markets, with the excuse that "Hey, you don't have to use Microsoft if you don't like their terms".
A beginning monopoly is not necessarily the fruit of unfair practices or abuse of power. But when a company has more than 70% of a market worldwide, it's a monopoly. By definition, monopoly is a competitive advantage. Because Apple volumes in tablet sales dwarfs all of its competitors, it necessarily has an enormous advantage on price buying screens, RAM, flash, etc.
I was actually arguing the moral point. There's nothing immoral about setting the terms upon which you will trade your labor. Its the same as an employee deciding they want a higher salary or a lower one. The people who made this software give it away for free, under the understanding that it could be used by others who also give their work away fro free. What's wrong with that? But if people want to profit form it, then the people who made this software want to participate as well.
Are you saying that Apple should make this tool for free, give it away for free, and let it be used for any purpose, for free, and that to do otherwise is immoral? (you brought up being disgusted "for purely moral reasons")
How is giving software away for free to support an ecosystem you're building "vile bullshit" that "disgusts" you?
You are being obtuse. It is immoral if you bury onerous terms (such as "you will give us the sole right to distribute your works") in an EULA that you know ordinary people have no hope of comprehending (such as this one).
For all the other examples you give, society generally knows the implied contract. These terms are not part of the contract that society expects from a free tool used to compose documents, and you know it.
It's hardly buried: it's mentioned in the description of the app, it's mentioned inside the app when you "publish", it's mentioned in the help file for the app, and it appears, in boldface letters, as an "IMPORTANT NOTE", at the _beginning_ of the EULA.
Also worth mentioning: the economics of K–12 textbook publishing are very different than mass-market publishing: essentially 100% of sales are volume purchases by educational institutions who are already accustomed to distributing materials to students.
This is Apple's proposed alternative to publishers bundling interactive content with expensive textbooks (probably "free" if available on the App Store), and the value proposition is wide exposure, lower infrastructure costs, and no used textbook market to undercut profits in exchange for "a la carte" distribution of individual "unbundled" books and a unit price cap.
In other words, it really is an attempt to apply much of the "iTunes business model" to textbook publishing, and it'll be quite interesting to see how it works out.
It's still a trap. When you copy and paste your content into the iBooks software, you instantly hand over all the distribution rights, as part of the terms of an EULA of a consumer product. Sure, this is the kind of thing that the record industry does if you sign your band over to them, but this is a consumer product we're talking about. This is far beyond what a consumer should expect from such software. If Apple wants exclusive distribution deals, it should make people sign for it so that both parties are completely aware of what they're getting into.
And the iTunes business model was never about exclusivity. You can buy most of the music on iTunes elsewhere. (There is some exclusive content, obviously, but it is the exception, not the rule.) And, most importantly, the deals negotiated to get music on iTunes are done the old fashioned way: as a mutual, signed agreement between Apple and the labels in question.
I don't think you understand -- they're only restricting what you can do with the output of the program, not your content itself. You're free to copy/paste it into any other tool and distribute the output of that tool.
Hm, that’s just not how I view the world. Of course they can, of course they should be allowed to – but that doesn’t mean I won’t judge them harshly for it.
When Apple praises their education initiatives and then turns around and puts such restrictions on their authoring tool then yes, that’s some vile bullshit. They are not in it for the eduction, they are in it for themselves.
They don’t have to give the tool aways for free, I would be perfectly happy with Apple selling it. But putting such a restriction on it? I’m not ok with that.
>They are not in it for the eduction, they are in it for themselves.
These are not mutually exclusive. They're in it for the education, and they are in it for themselves.
You're in it for yourself too. I think that's the problem that trips people up. They want companies to act a certain way because it benefits them. But when the companies do something that benefits the company, somehow they think that's wrong.
I'd love it if my favorite gave me free food all the time. If my restaurant offered me free food if I'd put a gaudy sign on my car advertising the restaurant that's a choice I could make.
If I didn't like the sign and didn't take their offer, I wouldn't then say "well that's just wrong of them to offer me that!"
> I would be perfectly happy with Apple selling it.
I think when it comes to software, people are so used to getting things for free, that when they see something encumbered by a restriction they think that this is somehow immoral.
Its not, its just a different way of selling the software. Just like the restaurant, rather than selling me food for money, selling me food in exchange for advertising.
You can produce all the books you want and give them away for free, without paying Apple a fee of any kind, and the notice is prominently displayed right on the screen where you publish your document.
This is no different from the zillions of dual-licensed GPL projects out there that say (roughly) "You're free to use this code in projects that you yourself give away for free, but if you want to sell your application you have to buy a license from us".
Again, I don't like this myself, but let's not make it out to be worse than it is.
> You can produce all the books you want and give them away for free, without paying Apple a fee of any kind, and the notice is prominently displayed right on the screen where you publish your document.
Yes, a notice is displayed after you've already put a lot of work in, that is exactly what makes it slimy. A conditional fee is still a fee.
> This is no different from the zillions of dual-licensed GPL projects out there that say (roughly) "You're free to use this code in projects that you yourself give away for free, but if you want to sell your application you have to buy a license from us".
This is nothing like that. GPL projects do not hide their terms. And developers are very aware that libraries have terms. It is typical. An exportable document format having terms is not typical.
The user will not anticipate these conditions. This is why I call it a bait-and-switch. A company that prides itself on putting UX first couldn't have done this on accident. Either the product passed through QA without UX concerns being raised, or the concerns were ignored.
It's a slimy, used car salesman approach. Apple is better than this.
Your argument is valid, but barely so, which is where it becomes a moral or ethical issue. It's like saying that Microsoft can assert a copyright claim and distribution rights over any presentation made with Powerpoint, simply because their bullet point image is Microsoft material and any presentation, no matter how original, is a derivative work. Technically valid, but if they tried to enforce that I'd wouldn't be supporting them.
Making profit should be proportional to the amount of work + the amount of money needed for the initial investment to be recouped. With such kind of agreements, Apple can claim money FOREVER on this app, no matter the small investment that was initially needed to created this app. This is disproportionate. It's like if I give you a hammer, and then I claim that in all the houses you build with it, you would owe one room. It's disproportionate, because "building a house" is way longer and more difficult than building a hammer.
The exact analogy in FSF terms which you were careful to avoid is - An executable created by a GPL compiler will have to be GPL licensed. This is where your analogy breaks down because this is explicitly not the case.
gcc uses a special library (outside of the C library) called libgcc with some builtin functions (I don't recall what's left there these days -- floating point stuff, 64-bit long long support on non-64 bit platforms?)
If I remember correctly, the GPLv3 license prohibits creating DRM'd content. Or more insidiously, a GPLv3-licensed compiler (e.g. recent GCC) cannot be used to produce an executable that contains DRM code without being in violation of the license, despite the fact that the executable itself is not covered under the GPL.
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm not willing to wade into the sea of legalese that is the GPLv3 right now just to verify this.
As far as I recall, the GPLv3 has two different anti-DRM restrictions, neither of which does what you say it does. The first restriction is that if you include GPLv3 code in certain kinds of consumer hardware and it accepts firmware updates, you must give the end users any keys that are required to install and run their own modified version of that code. The second restriction is intended to exempt any DRM system based around GPLv3 code from anti-circumvention laws. There's no restriction on compiler output that I'm aware of.
From my understanding, you can create as much "DRM" code as you want, but you must provide the cryptographic key along with the source. This extends to the platform that the code runs on; for example, "Tivo" can't distribute a GPL3 binary in their set-top boxes, lock it down using a cryptographic signature, and fail to distribute the signing key.
It would be impractical for the GPL to determine what counts as DRM and what does not; so they merely require "free modification of the Software".
Thus an iBook produced with the app is a derivative work that includes within it Apple copyrighted code.
Apple's ability to restrict the use of such derivative works is the very same ability the GPL relies on.
Don't attribute to others derogatory actions as an argument technique.
>This is where your analogy breaks down because this is explicitly not the case.
The existence of software that does not fit my analogy does not change the fact that there are many situations where the analogy still holds. In fact, the GPL itself is an example of the analogy holding- the GPL prohibits certain kinds of commercial use of creations derived by the thing protected by GPL, just as the Author app does.
Ah I see where our difference in opinion originates from - you look at the book outputted by the tool as a derived work. I must admit I never conceived of this possibility, and I am still trying to digest it. I wonder how many authors who use Apple's product will realise that after two years of hard work to create a manuscript, just by hitting publish the outputted object will not wholly belong to them.
The generated book contains Apple's code. It's definitely a derivative work.
That said, a person would be foolish to write the entire book using this. Write your text and create your graphics in your editors of choice, import them into this tool to create a nice layout for the iBookstore, then import them into another tool to create a nice layout for Kindle or whatever. You might have to do that anyway -- I've yet to see a tool that will generate a nicely-formatted ebook in both MOBI (Kindle) and ePub formats. Conversion tools like Calibre work if all you care about is reading the text, but the output often looks like ass if the original eBook used anything other than the most basic formatting (that said, a lot of commercially-produced eBooks look like ass anyway, so maybe that's not such a big deal).
No, I do not think it would be a derivative work, at least not in the way the term is normally used.
For an anology, consider MS Word. When I create a document using MS Word and save it in one of Words native formats, this file includes all sorts of information generated by MS code and includes MS specific formatting information. That does not, in any traditional meaning of the word, mean that my essay is a derivative work of MS Word.
Many of the people who have created GPL (not LGPL) libraries would disagree. Strongly.
These files don't just contain "formatting information". They contain actual executable code created by Apple. Apple's claim lies on the distribution of their code, not your content per se. They can put any restrictions on the distribution of their code that they want, whether we like it or not (and I don't particularly like it myself). They're not claiming ownership of your essay. They're claiming ownership over the code they wrote, which their system uses to display it. Not the same thing.
What you, and others, are claiming is that this type of license has no legal effect. That's clearly wrong.
Let's not confuse the two issues of whether it's a good idea for Apple to do this (it isn't) and whether they're legally allowed to do it (they clearly are).
However, these textbooks are more than just formatted text. They're interactive; they are essentially a specialized website of sorts. You can include your own HTML and JS based 'widgets' and presumably use Apple's HTML/JS based widgets. The inclusion of Apple source code embedded in the book I believe would technically make the book a derivative in the way the term is normally used.
Whether I personally believe in my gut if it is right that these books be deemed derivatives is a separate issue.. ;)
It's a derived work in the same way that linking to stdlib from your program makes it a derived work. Which is to say, no, it's not reasonable to call books you wrote with this tool to be considered a derived work.
Reasonable or not, that is in fact what they are from a purely legal perspective. There is usually legalese involved with the licensing of the stdlib such that it explicitly disclaims derivative creation in this case.
This is not an uncommon thing to see. IIRC, the gcc compilers have an explicit exception clause that says that programs compiled with gcc (e.g., the output) are not affected by the GNU GPL. A compiler usually does more than just transforms code from a higher-level language to a lower-level language. It can reorganize the code (-O2, -O3, -O4); it can inject standard or custom implementations of common behaviours that the user didn't explicitly write.
From a very real and very strict standpoint, a compiler/code generator does create a derivative work (and there's at least one code generator I've used in the past few years that holds this to be true explicitly; gSOAP) that is a combination of your copyrighted code and the code by the compiler writer (and possibly others involved).
How can it be qualified as derivative work ? If you consider it this way, then everything in your life is a derivative work of something else. Writing a patent on paper is a derivate work of the paper manufacturer ? Painting a picture would be a derivative work of the brushes and paint ?
Coming soon to a packet of pens near you - an EULA/shrinkwrap license ... any works created with this pen can only be sold, or used in a business setting, after purchase from the EvilBic shop with all profits going to EvilBic Inc..
You make some excellent points. However, there is room to critize Apple for not making that particular clause absolutely crystal clear instead of merely including it in a EULA which the vast majority of users will never look at.
Also, while your anology to the FSF is technically correct, I think it is safe to say that the FSF as currently governed would not do that. So, while your point is valid, it is a bit misleading to identify them by name.
"Where you'll find it after creating your first experimental 'Hello, world' document" might be a better way of putting it, unless you're suggesting that someone might actually write an entire book using a piece of new software without even testing it out.
It's not like they couldn't have made this clear by showing the same information when you first started the program, rather than when you have something you want to save. I can think of many reasons for that choice, but none are good.
If the restrictions were made clear before the software is installed, I would agree with you. Yes, you can see the EULA as part of the sales process, but it's presented as part of an unreadable pile of legal crap. If it were presented in the same way that Apple explains other restrictions (like "This iPhone only works on Verizon's network"), I would have no complaint.
I think you mean that if you enhance the software or sell it then you have to provide a cut. In general, you don't have to give a cut for works that have been produced with said software.
BTW, Blender is pretty standard in this regard.
"Anything you create with Blender - whether it's graphics, movies, scripts, exported 3d files or the .blend files themselves - is your sole property, and can be licensed or sold under any conditions you prefer." 
Its been interesting to watch the score jump up and down as I respond to comments. I agree with you about the down votes. I've up voted several responses today from people who disagreed with me (particularly where they made a good point or pointed out an error of fact I made, but where it didn't seem appropriate to respond further since their statements stood on their own.)
I think part of the reaction is that people are used to paying for creative software. Imagine if Adobe had terms like this in Photoshop that required you to use their stock photo agency for any photos edited with photoshop. That would be outrageous and I would be right there with everyone saying it was wrong.
The difference is, Photoshop costs $600 or something (don't know or care, but they charge for the software) while iBooks Author is free.
What if iBooks Author had no other output modes-- just published iBooks to the iBookStore. And that's it. No PDF export, no epub. (Assuming in this example iBooks were more proprietary than they are- say like kindle's proprietary format is.)
Would people be upset about that? It would be a free tool for publishing to a proprietary formant for a specific store.
How could you complain about that? Apple's offering a tool specifically for their publishers. (I'm sure some tool exists like this for iTunes Album content. Another example of this is the iAd Producer software Apple makes which only works for iAds.)
If this product only working in a proprietary format would cause people to not complain--- because obviously the product was built to support the iBookStore-- then really the outrage is that you can use the product for other uses as well, Right?
So, Apple gives you the ability to produce ePubs and PDFs for free, if you want to. They add this feature, and now this product is somehow unreasonable?
Sorry, cek, if you aren't interested in debating this, that's fine. You didn't give reasons for why I was wrong, I just thought of this argument while responding to you. You don't have to engage on the topic further, no biggie, as I may not be responding at all to the reasons you think its wrong.
> If this product only working in a proprietary format would cause people to not complain--- because obviously the product was built to support the iBookStore-- then really the outrage is that you can use the product for other uses as well, Right?
I think that's the point. You can't use it for other purposes. This is classic bait-and-switch. It has all of the appearances of a content-creation tool like people have used for decades, but it is not.
For better or worse, why do people continue to be surprised when Apple does these things? They make good stuff, their users don't care and developers still flock to them. It's like raging at Adobe because Reader sucks, even though plenty of decent, light-weight PDF readers exist.
If you don't like the EULA, don't agree to it and use something else.
Yes, you should not use it. However, given that this is an odious practice, you should also attempt to raise awareness: the more people know, the fewer will run into it. This is exactly what this post is doing, and it is a good thing.
I say, let the consumers (=authors) decide - evolution happens through disruption, and this surely is a disruption. If the authors fall for it, well, they are ok with the consequences. If the thing really takes off and public really cares and puts pressure on them, they will loosen the EULA, I'm sure.