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.
Edit to add: This means everything under the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license. There is a huge amount of content distributed this way.
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?
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Hell, iBooks Author exports PDFs. PDFs are viewable by Kindle Fires. (And possibly other Kindles.) So iBooks Author already creates content viewable on competitors' platforms.
I'm also not certain the Fire is threatening to Apple. They make far more money off of the hardware than they do off content sold through their various digital media stores.
iBooks Author is not a reaction to the Kindle Fire. Apple has been working on this since before there were rumors that Amazon was going to introduce a tablet of their own.
Steve Jobs even told his biographer about it . Jobs passed away in October, a week after Amazon announced the Kindle Fire.
I don't read it that way at all. I think they want to be properly informed (fine print not counting as "properly"), because they intend to avoid any platform that does this entirely.
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.
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".
It’s still possible to be disgusted by this for purely moral reasons. Apple is pulling some vile bullshit here and they shouldn’t.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
True, but there is something immoral about hidden fees.
Are you arguing that this is not a fee or that it's not hidden?
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.
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.
The price of a product is not determined by the effort put into it but by the value it provides to the buyer.
That library -- per definition part of GCC -- had to be explicitly made exempt from gcc's GPL license: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gcc-exception.html otherwise yes, all your compiled code would have to be distributed using GPL.
For a long while RMS blocked adding plugins to gcc because he though that would allow proprietary vendors to violate the spirit of GPL.
I'd expect other languages that compile to binary code to fare even worse here -- gcc is better at separating its helper library -- but I'm not sure what other compilers than gcc are GPL'ed.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
But a derivative work of the base template (normal.dot?), yes. If the template was released as NC-SA, then the resulting document is NC-SA.
Whether I personally believe in my gut if it is right that these books be deemed derivatives is a separate issue.. ;)
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).
There is no ground for any of this.
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.
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.
We may be not entitled to demand people to produce things for our benefit, but we're certainly entitled to demand the freedom to do what we want with already produced things.
The only difference between those two example is temporal. I don't think that difference makes a difference.
Do you have the right to demand that people who have already produced some software, give it away for free and never be allowed to charge for it?
No one can say this tool must be used in this way so we make money. If they need to make money off the tool, they should be charging for it in some way.
The thing produced here is a derivative work that contains Apple created code and content.
Taking your words and changing the context produces this:
"if you produce a [some software], no matter how you produce it, [or who elses code you include with it.] you have the right to determine what [license agreement you use]."
See how that doesn't work?
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.
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." 
But I did NOT downvote him/her on HN and I'm sad to see that his/her post has been downvoted. That's just wrong. If you don't agree say way, don't downvote.
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.
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.