Apple's lawyers clean up the sloppy iBooks Author EULA

Apple's lawyers clean up the sloppy iBooks Author EULA

Summary: Today, Apple released version 1.0.1 of its iBooks Author program. There's no new code, only a new license agreement. The sloppy language in the original license agreement is cleaned up, but the fundamentals are unchanged: Apple retains exclusive rights to anything an author wants to sell in its new format.

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TOPICS: Apple, Legal, Software
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When Apple introduced its iBooks Author program several weeks ago, the company took some much-deserved criticism for a sloppy license agreement that appeared overreaching.

Today, the Mac App Store notified customers that version 1.0.1 is available. There’s no new code, though—instead, the notes say, “This release provides an updated version of the End User License Agreement.”

At the time, I criticized the company for its “sloppy lawyering,” particularly in relation to two provisions. Both of those provisions were changed in today’s revision. I’ve done a line-for-line comparison of the rest of the agreement, which show no additional changes.

The preamble, which previously defined a “Work” as “any book or other work you generate using this software,” now specifically defines the type of work that Apple claims exclusive rights to distribute commercially:

If you want to charge a fee for a work that includes files in the .ibooks format generated using iBooks Author, you may only sell or distribute such work through Apple, and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple.

A reference to the iBookstore was also removed from the preamble.

In addition, a sentence at the end of that preamble now specifies that files created in PDF format or exported as plain text are not subject to Apple's exclusivity requirement:

This restriction does not apply to the content of such works when distributed in a form that does not include files in the .ibooks format.

The previous version of the license agreement applied to “any book or other work you generate using this software,” resulting in a reasonable interpretation that its restrictions also applied to files saved or exported in PDF and text formats. This wording removes that interpretation.

In addition, the onerous section 2B has been cleaned up considerably. As with the preamble, the new language now specifies that it applies to a work that “includes files in the .ibooks format generated using iBooks Author.”

The greediest clause of all has been removed completely. Previously, the license agreement said, “Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution.” That language has been struck completely and replaced with the following:

You retain all your rights in the content of your works, and you may distribute such content by any means when it does not include files in the .ibooks format generated by iBooks Author.

This set of changes is part PR, part legal cleanup. It doesn’t really change the fundamentals of the new iBooks format, which is an undocumented extension to an industry standard format. If an author decides to create a work in the new format, he or she can still sell it only in Apple’s store, with Apple’s approval.

In nearly 20 years as a book author, I've read lots of author contracts. The words in those contracts matter, a lot. The changes in this license agreement make it easier to understand, but the degree of control that Apple demands is still hard for me to accept as an author or a publisher.

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Topics: Apple, Legal, Software

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  • RE: Apple's lawyers clean up the sloppy iBooks Author EULA

    ".... but the degree of control that Apple demands is still hard for me to accept as an author or a publisher"

    Then, just don't use iBooks Author. Simples!
    Piot
    • So far removed

      @Piot

      You are so far removed from the conversation you have no realistic clue as to the intent of this and similar articles.

      or you are just being as ass......
      rhonin
      • RE: Apple's lawyers clean up the sloppy iBooks Author EULA

        @rhonin <br>That was uncalled for.
        <br>Besides, he does have a point. You are still welcome to publish using any other tool on the market and output to ePub specs. That still works on iOS devices.<br><br>What the EULA says is that if you're going to use iBooks Author, then you can only publish that work through Apple. That's the price for using their free tool.<br><br>So, please tell us again, what is the problem?
        wosayit
      • RE: Apple's lawyers clean up the sloppy iBooks Author EULA

        @rhonin Actually he's spot on. You make it seem like Apple is the be all, end all of publishing when it is not. For established authors like Ed iBooks would likely be restrictive but for a new author not so much.

        Then again you are simply being an ass yourself.
        athynz
      • So far up....

        @rhonin

        I am painfully aware of this article's intent. Make a mountain out of a molehill... and then 'rinse n repeat'.
        Piot
      • Sorry 'bout that

        @Pilot

        On reread my reply was a bit harsh.
        Still in all, the only real change Apple did to the EULA was predominately pig lipstick.

        If Apple was honest about using this as a new platform method to encourage the use and expansion of etext books, they need to drop the custom output. Anything else is them trying to use this and their name to wedge more $$$ from an already beleaguered education system.
        rhonin
      • RE: Apple's lawyers clean up the sloppy iBooks Author EULA

        @rhonin mama would be proud!

        Honestly DID ANYONE EVEN CARE besides Windows/Anti-Apple bloggers....answer....NO.
        JeveSobs
      • RE: Apple's lawyers clean up the sloppy iBooks Author EULA

        @wosayit

        "So, please tell us again, what is the problem?"

        The problem is that things have gotten to the point where people are able to ask questions like that with a straight face. If I build a new creative work, it belongs to *me*, not to the person who built the tools I used. Apple is attempting to assert otherwise, and we should all be up in arms over it!
        masonwheeler
      • Reading is fundamental. Please read the article first.

        @masonwheeler

        [b]"So, please tell us again, what is the problem?"

        The problem is that things have gotten to the point where people are able to ask questions like that with a straight face. If I build a new creative work, it belongs to *me*, not to the person who built the tools I used. Apple is attempting to assert otherwise, and we should all be up in arms over it![/b]

        Apple IS NOT trying to assert otherwise and they never were. Here is a quote from the article you posted a response to:

        [i]This restriction does not apply to the content of such works when distributed in a form that does not include files in the .ibooks format.[/i]

        Reread that a few times before it sinks in. Apple is NOT claiming to own the content just the ibooks format and they are asserting their right to now have content in their store that they do not approve of.
        athynz
    • It's time to throw some dirt at Apple again

      @Piot
      because they are eating their competitors' lunches now as it seems, because Apple is the only one making any real money on its gadgets.
      HP fumble and stumble, and so does Nokia... while Apple is growing and growing... *giggle* :D
      Mikael_z
      • RE: Apple's lawyers clean up the sloppy iBooks Author EULA

        Pete "athynz" Athens +100 !!
        T-Wrench
    • RE: Apple's lawyers clean up the sloppy iBooks Author EULA

      @Piot

      You mean like when everyone said, "Then don't use Windows"? Um, that didn't work so well.
      NoAxToGrind
      • RE: Apple's lawyers clean up the sloppy iBooks Author EULA

        @NoAxToGrind <br><br>You had no choice. For instance, Windows was mandatory at workplaces all across the world. And IT made sure everyone followed that rule for decades. Don't want to use Windows? Quit your job.<br><br>You don't have to use iBooks Author if you don't want to. If anything, Apple opened the door for a competitor to step in with their own iBook Authoring clone.
        dave95.
      • Business all had free choice

        @dave
        "Windows was mandatory at workplaces all across the world"

        Who mandated that all workplaces purchased Windows all across the world? Right. Nobody did. Yes, workers have to use the tools that are enforced on them by management but that is the same in most jobs. I can't get a job at Apple and bring my Windows PC to work. I'm forced to use Mac and OS X.

        So now that we've determined that workers being forced to use the tools provided by management is no sign of anything "bad", the better question to ask is why none of those workplaces (and I use the word NONE because you used the word "EVERYONE") chose to buy Apple machines? Not a single one of those workplaces were forced to buy Windows. EVERYONE had the choice of Apple.

        Too bad Apple machines and OSs sucked so much. I guess that is why no one bought them.

        So you are right. You don't have to use iBooks Author if you don't want to. Well, unless of course your job makes it mandatory to do so. Suddenly, according to you, that would mean Apple had yet another monopoly.
        toddybottom_z
      • RE: Apple's lawyers clean up the sloppy iBooks Author EULA

        @NoAxToGrind There is absolutely no comparison between the two. iBA is a program for a specific use where Windows is an OS. Of course I am sure you can see the difference if you put your hatred aside.
        non-biased
      • RE: Apple's lawyers clean up the sloppy iBooks Author EULA

        Duplicate deleted.
        non-biased
    • RE: Apple's lawyers clean up the sloppy iBooks Author EULA

      @ Ed Bott: How have the fundamentals not changed? You're now free to distribute your work else where too. The file you've submitted to Apple isn't yours to distribute elsewhere but what's to stop you submitting an iBooks file and an ePub file elsewhere?
      bradavon
    • RE: Apple's lawyers clean up the sloppy iBooks Author EULA

      @Piot Agree 100%!!
      Ed, as a struggling new author myself, if you take some time on Google or Bing, you will find there are other "company's" out there at least in regard to ebook formats that have simular rules of Apples.

      And then of course, some company's actually willing to sell your ebook require 40% of the top. If Apple is only requiring 30%, and their tool is free for their store, then I can assure you that I will be looking into this very soon myself.

      My biggest problem is working 7 days a week and having the time to write and look for an agent and publisher. I do want to know if they do any advertising or not for new authors, etc, etc.

      I'll let you know what I find out but I'm very interested.

      Thanks...
      T-Wrench
  • I think Apple just proved you right Ed

    While you were being slammed by every single Apple fanboi on ZDNet, Apple just proved you right by addressing all the concerns you raised.<br><br>A lot of Apple fanbois on ZDNet are busy wiping a lot of egg off their faces right now.

    "At the time, I criticized the company for its ???sloppy lawyering,??? particularly in relation to two provisions. Both of those provisions were changed in today???s revision"
    toddybottom_z
    • Not really. The license terms didn't change, they just dumbed

      the language down for the paranoid types.
      baggins_z