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nirvana 824 days ago | link | parent

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?



ugh 824 days ago | link

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.

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nirvana 824 days ago | link

>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.

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ootachi 824 days ago | link

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.

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jasomill 824 days ago | link

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.

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ootachi 824 days ago | link

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.

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pieter 824 days ago | link

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.

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MatthewPhillips 824 days ago | link

> There's nothing immoral about setting the terms upon which you will trade your labor.

True, but there is something immoral about hidden fees.

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Volpe 824 days ago | link

Where is the hidden fee?

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MatthewPhillips 824 days ago | link

Be direct.

Are you arguing that this is not a fee or that it's not hidden?

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Turing_Machine 824 days ago | link

It's neither.

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.

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MatthewPhillips 824 days ago | link

> 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.

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nigham 824 days ago | link

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.

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ekianjo 824 days ago | link

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.

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olifante 824 days ago | link

that sounds like the Labor Theory of Value espoused by Ricardo and later Marx. Although it may sound intuitive to some, it's just plain wrong: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticisms_of_the_labour_theory...

The price of a product is not determined by the effort put into it but by the value it provides to the buyer.

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