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Apple's iBooks EULA Drawing Ire

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the publish-and-perish dept.

Apple 308

An anonymous reader writes in with one of many articles about the iBooks EULA, this time questioning whether it is even enforceable. Quoting: "The iBooks Author EULA plainly tries to create an exclusive license for Apple to be the sole distributor of any worked created with it, but under the Copyright Act an exclusive license is a 'transfer of copyright ownership,' and under 17 U.S.C. 204 such a transfer 'is not valid unless an instrument of conveyance, or a note or memorandum of the transfer, is in writing and signed by the owner of the rights conveyed.' When authors rebel and take their work elsewhere, Apple has, at most, a claim for breach-of-EULA — but their damages are the failure to pay $0 for the program."

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308 comments

Sole commercial distributor, not sole distributor (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38811737)

The quote is a misstatement of the policy.

Re:Sole commercial distributor, not sole distribut (3, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38811801)

Not really, people distributing their works for money aren't typically going to also distribute them for free. That would undermine sales. Some people will distribute works under a pay what you can, pay what you want or pay what you think it's worth model, but in any of those cases it's going to be a commercial distribution.

It might be technically a misstatement, but it's correct in virtually all cases.

$0 Now, (0)

RPGillespie (2478442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38811739)

$99 annual developer's fee later *cough*xcode*cough*

Re:$0 Now, (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38811991)

Xcode is free. Who did you pay $99 for it because you got ripped off.

Re:$0 Now, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812179)

Xcode 4 costs money. You also have to pay money to test or distribute iOS applications.

Re:$0 Now, (2, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812249)

XCode 4 doesn't cost a dime. You only need to pay money if you want to deploy your app via the App Store.

Re:$0 Now, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812395)

Xcode 4 is a free download for all members of the iOS and Mac Developer Programs.

http://developer.apple.com/xcode/

Mac Developer Program
Distribute Mac apps on the Mac App Store
$99/year

http://developer.apple.com/programs/mac/

iOS Developer Program
The fastest path from code to customer.
$99/year

http://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/

I don't know what your definition of "free" is, but mine doesn't include $99/year.

Re:$0 Now, (1, Interesting)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812815)

Those are costs for distributing your app on the App Store not the price of Xcode. From here [apple.com] with such links as:

Download Xcode 4 for Free

and

Download Xcode 4.2.1 for Lion
from the Mac App Store for Free

If you paid money for Xcode, you're an idiot.

Re:$0 Now, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812981)

Those are costs for distributing your app on the App Store not the price of Xcode. From here [apple.com] with such links as:

Download Xcode 4 for Free

Membership is mandatory to download the "free" Xcode 4. You will find this when you follow the link you provided.

If you paid money for Xcode, you're an idiot.

Xcode 3.2 was free of cost to download. Xcode 4 is not.

Re:$0 Now, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812851)

I don't know what your definition of "free" is...

free [apple.com]
Adjective: Not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes.
Adverb: Without cost or payment: "ladies were admitted free".
Verb: Make free, in particular.
Synonyms:
adjective. loose - open - gratuitous - vacant - independent
adverb. gratis - freely - for nothing - loosely - free of charge
verb. release - liberate - deliver - set free - rid - disengage

Re:$0 Now, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812491)

XCode 4 doesn't cost a dime. You only need to pay money if you want to deploy your app via the App Store.

The last time O was looking at developing Apple software, if I wanted to test my own app on my own device - iTouch, iPhone, iPad - I had to join the Apple Developer program for $99.

Or I could jailbreak my own device; which I have a problem with because when I test, I want the software to run an a machine like my customers would - in honor of Murphy's Law.

Have things changed?

Re:$0 Now, (1)

fusiongyro (55524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812561)

It's $2. I agree with your point though.

Re:$0 Now, (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812597)

It's free if you have OS X 10.7. I think XCode 4.x is $4 if you have 10.6, but XCdoe 3.x is free.

Re:$0 Now, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812909)

Or you can get a free developer account and not pay for XCode 4. I noticed a while back that it was $4.99 on the Mac App Store for Snow Leopard, which must be an idiot tax.

Developer accounts themselves are free, you only have to pay for a developer program if you want access to Beta versions, want to test on an iOS device and not just the simulator, and/or deploy an app to the App Store.

Re:$0 Now, (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812805)

No it doesn't. I downloaded it from the App Store on 10.7 for absolutely nothing. If you paid for it, you got ripped off.

Re:$0 Now, (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812109)

$99 annual developer's fee later *cough*xcode*cough*

Well, the big difference there is that nothing stops you from cross-compiling your software on other platforms.

Re:$0 Now, (1, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812307)

$99 annual developer's fee later *cough*xcode*cough*

Well, the big difference there is that nothing stops you from cross-compiling your software on other platforms.

Except when Apple sends you a not-so-nice-gram pointing out where you signed-your-rights-away-in-a-EULA

Doesn't this sound an awful lot like the "Bad Old Days" of the music business, where performers signed contracts, only later to find they surrendered all their rights to some shady producer?

What's old is new again?

Re:$0 Now, (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812481)

Except when Apple sends you a not-so-nice-gram pointing out where you signed-your-rights-away-in-a-EULA

I don't get your point. They don't do that in their developer agreement.

Apple doesn't claim to own your content (4, Insightful)

Brannon (221550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812353)

TFA said so plainly. The iBooks format is html5 wrapped is a very thin container (Apple likes content standards). Their authoring tool is essentially a specialized html editor. Nothing stops you from taking the content you used to create an iTextBook and then using it to create a nearly identical eTextBook on another platform. You just aren't supposed to take the exact same thinly wrapped .ibook file and make that available outside of Apple's store. Maybe it's a silly clause, but obviously since they don't claim to own your content then they aren't stopping you from releasing said content in any form you choose.

Next step (5, Funny)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38811753)

Bic Pens Inc now claims exclusive distributorship rights for anything created with one of their writing implements.

Not to be outdone, Starbucks now claims exclusive distributorship rights for anything created while under the influence of their beverages.

Re:Next step (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38811799)

That's why most real writers drink liquor, not coffee. Just ask Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Jack London or Edgar Allan Poe,

Re:Next step (1, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38811939)

Those are bad examples. Hemingway had bipolar, Poe had all sorts of problems, Jack Kerouac seemed to be under the delusion that one can only write while in an altered state. I'm not familiar enough with Jack London to guess as to his motives, but apart from London the other writers had greatly shortened careers because of their alcohol and or drug use. Hemingway himself was only 62 when he killed himself and alcohol is known to make mood disorders worse.

Re:Next step (1, Interesting)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38811981)

But just a couple of years ago we got our hands on some documents from FBI that proved that FBI were actually after him.......So, he was right, not delusional.

Re:Next step (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812037)

All of the interesting authors are fucked up in one way or another. Normal people don't make compelling art, that's why they're normal.

Ehhhhh, and? (2)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812549)

He was talking about real writers, who drank and wrote fucking awesome novels... that they had mental disorders doesn't factor into this. That they suffered for the art doesn't factor into it. They were fucking great writers not artsy types sipping 5 dollar coffees waiting for inspiration. Inspiration comes from real life and any two bit drunk with severe mental issues will see more of it then any wannabe at Starbucks.

Normal people don't write great works of art. Normal people buy them and wish they had a fraction of the talent without being willing to pay the price for it. The candle that burns brightest, burns the shortest. Now if I was a heavy drinker, had mental problems that would make any shrink go "get him off, GET HIM OFF!" and blew my brains out at the end of my natural life expectancy, this post would have been a lot better.

Re:Next step (5, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812151)

Just ask Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Jack London or Edgar Allan Poe,

I'd definitely need spirits to contact any of them.

Re:Next step (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812199)

Poe?

I realize that laudum contains alcohol, but is not exactly what envision by "hard liquor."

Then again, I suppose its the "poppy" version of gin..... (gin also being medicinal in origin and commonly misused.)

Re:Next step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38811809)

Not to be outdone, Starbucks now claims exclusive distributorship rights for anything created while under the influence of their beverages.

they can own all of my pee, just need to remove it from their chairs

Re:Next step (3, Interesting)

immaterial (1520413) | more than 2 years ago | (#38811837)

If Bic gave you the pen for free, and included with it a bunch of their pre-designed templates for your use (plot outline, prewritten characters, whatever), your analogy would be a bit closer to the mark. If that's a problem, go *buy* a pen and come up with your own stuff from scratch, or contribute to an open-source writing-templates program to benefit everyone. Don't expect some corporation to do it for you for free, that's just not how they work.

Weaker Analogy than You Intended (0)

Niscenus (267969) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812419)

All any of those programmes do is help the mind make physical what is already mental. There are lots of applications (think Fink) that can be put on an iPad and, by the very basis of GPL, protect the users right to distribution and ownership, providing they don't incorporate work protected under the type of scheme GPL uses. Yet, despite use Xorg on an iPad, the license still says that work is Apple's, despite the fact they don't own most of the processing hardware's IP.

See, neither analogy is correct. There's a reason Jobs didn't want to DRM the crap out of everything for distribution, but we have gone a long way since Apple tried to tempt the Open Source Movement with somewhat more liberal licensing to what it has become in the past four or five years.

Try it this way, every Nokia F4xxx camera gives Nokia a partial share of the copyright of any image created with it, regardless of post-production processes involved. Hardware Nokia doesn't own exclusively, software Nokia provides and a functioning platform not created by Nokia that could be ported to run on the camera. Would you think that it's fair that Nokia declare ownership of your work? If you put an image on your free blog from your camera while on your vacation, that blog company may receive a cease and desist order from Nokia because of the advertising which pays to keep it free in the first place can be counted as gross profits. Would they? Probably not, but it doesn't mean that, similar to the history of the RIAA and MPAA suing kids for millions of dollars, Nokia, or a group representing like minded interests, wouldn't start nailing out some test cases to guarantee their right to do so in the future.

I wouldn't buy such a camera with such a condition attached to it, but fans of that line probably wouldn't think twice about it. On the other hand, a following AnonCow may have pinpointed a far greater danger to Apple than displeasing some, MAYBE, 14% of fans: They officially have ownership to all illegal activities so involved. Of course, they can claim the activity is a breach of contract with the EULA, but if multiple breaches are caught, it may go in the direction of selling bongs as tobacco accessories: Enough incidence of its criminal use may result in singling it out legislatively. Of course, unlike stoners, Apple is part of a few lobbying firms who might get legislation written to protect it instead. Because money makes everything fair in a Democracy whose politicians are otherwise incorporated into the Free Market, regardless of being in a mixed economy since the first post-Articles presidential administration.

Anyone still Occupying shit out there? I dunno, it's not on the television anymore. It's probably not that important.

Re:Next step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38811935)

They will have some 'splaining to do about some of those "romance novels" and the age of the protagonists.

Really bad analogy (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812273)

If Bic sent you a pen AND AN EDITOR to write for you, then you might have something.

Bic sends you and editor, for free, to help produce a document with better writing and grammar. Now are you upset they want to help sell the result?

If you want to be outraged try getting a contract with a real book company sometime.

Re:Really bad analogy (2)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812825)

Now are you upset they want to help sell the result?

I think he's upset that they want to be the sole distributor of the work, no problem with them helping to sell it and taking a cut of the sales they get for you (well some people might, but i would say that's perfectly acceptable) but if they prevent you from distributing the work you created that's a bit much.

Re:Next step (1)

fusiongyro (55524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812609)

I hate to ruin your argument by pointing out an obvious fallacy, but an iBooks "textbook" stretches the definition of "book" way past the breaking point. I also doubt there are going to be competing implementations of the iBook textbook reader or other bookstores from which to distribute them. You'd certainly miss out on the iBooks marketplace, which one can reasonably assume will be the only meaningful distributor of iBooks books and therefore iPad books.

Complaining about this note in the EULA while ignoring the overall ecosystem is picking the pepper out of the fly shit. If you have a problem with this, you probably have lots of other issues with Apple or iBooks that aren't going to be resolved by fixing this detail. Likewise, if you don't care about those details, you probably don't care about this one either.

Public ignorance about EULA and assumed trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38811775)

People assume that the EULA will be fair and there are some laws as to what can and cannot be.

  Sadly this is not true and it's only a matter of time before art and music uploaded to a device

  become usable by the provider for commercial purposes for free.

After what Apple did with iTunes DRM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38811791)

I can't imagine why anyone would consider buying an "ebook" from them.

Free (as in freedom) .pdf and .mp3 work for me.

Re:After what Apple did with iTunes DRM (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38811877)

AFAIK neither of those formats are actually "free" they both are licensed. Just that they are well documented and the genie is out of the bottle making actual licensing difficult or impossible.

Re:After what Apple did with iTunes DRM (3, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812011)

Actually, PDF is an open standard and Adobe has granted anybody royalty free use of it. There may be patents that are not known that could apply, but for now there aren't any that have been asserted.

The MP3 patents are most likely expired by now in the US, that should apply to other jurisdictions as well as the US presently conforms with the WTO's TRIPs

Re:After what Apple did with iTunes DRM (5, Informative)

BenLeeImp (1347831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812031)

PDF is free and open now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pdf [wikipedia.org]

Relevant snippet:
"While the PDF specification was available for free since at least 2001,[4] PDF was originally a proprietary format controlled by Adobe, and was officially released as an open standard on July 1, 2008, and published by the International Organization for Standardization as ISO 32000-1:2008.[1][5] In 2008, Adobe published a Public Patent License to ISO 32000-1 granting a royalty-free rights for all patents owned by Adobe that are necessary to make, use, sell and distribute PDF compliant implementations.[6]"

Re:After what Apple did with iTunes DRM (0)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812667)

I believe what the poster meant was with pdf and mp3, one is free to view/listen on any device they own. Apple's DRM schemes do not allow that. That's why I get my music from Amazon.

What they forgot that will make it binding... (4, Insightful)

killfixx (148785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38811825)

Unfortunately, it stipulates that you must sign a contract prior to consideration of your work being distributed through iBooks.

What this means. Don't attempt to get published through Apple or you will be beholden to them in perpetuity AND they don't even have to publish it.

Tricky, scheister-y Apple.

Worst part, there will be an endless stream of authors clambering to be first in line to give up their copyrights in exchange for a chance at being published.

That sucks.

Re:What they forgot that will make it binding... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38811973)

Publishing industry as usual.

Re:What they forgot that will make it binding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812205)

you got that right... i was blogging for several years and refused to give up my rights to content i generated - until the in-house bottomfeeders at Pearson found out...

Re:What they forgot that will make it binding... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38811999)

I don't think it makes sense, but they are just saying, hey Amazon, you can't sell a book created with our tool, since you aren't paying for it. If this new iBooks Editor becomes the defacto standard for eBook publishing, then thats worth a lot of money. But they are probably just trying to keep competitors from stealing the look and feel of their products too easily. I think that they will forget about it and let it loose when they realize its not a bad thing to let more people become experts in their software to publish in their channel

Re:What they forgot that will make it binding... (2)

jesseck (942036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812163)

I don't think it makes sense, but they are just saying, hey Amazon, you can't sell a book created with our tool, since you aren't paying for it. If this new iBooks Editor becomes the defacto standard for eBook publishing, then thats worth a lot of money. But they are probably just trying to keep competitors from stealing the look and feel of their products too easily. I think that they will forget about it and let it loose when they realize its not a bad thing to let more people become experts in their software to publish in their channel

Emphasis mine... there is a lot of thinking in there. Are you one of Apple's lawyers? Apple didn't do this to share freely with the world- they see a market opportunity (eBooks on iPads since every school wants to get on the "iPad for every child!" bandwagon), they see a fanbase who unconditionally believes in them ("I think Apple will only do good with this eBook format!"), and they've identified a gap in the current tools (eBook publishing isn't as easy for Grandma yet).

Apple doesn't write EULAs for fun or as "busy work" for legal interns. There is intent behind those words.

Re:What they forgot that will make it binding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812053)

Wow yeah it's not like any publisher ever tried to lock in an author before. Or a music publisher tried same with musicians. Any newbie can be taken advantage of.

The fact that ANOTHER anti-Apple headline appeared on Slashdot, right after the story about psychics and Apollo 16, have convinced me the editors are completely full of shit on this site. It's actually boring to visit here now.

Re:What they forgot that will make it binding... (4, Insightful)

killfixx (148785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812225)

You're still missing the point.

If Apple doesn't publish you. GAME OVER. The only way to get your book out there after that is to give it away...for free!

At least with normal publishers, if they don't take your book, you can shop it around.

Once you sign that new contract, Apple has full control over you capitalising on your efforts.

That doesn't offend you? Also, it's now NOT evil to bully people just because they're already being bullied?

Wow, just wow.

Dead wrong (0, Flamebait)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812463)

If Apple doesn't publish you. GAME OVER. The only way to get your book out there after that is to give it away...for free!

No, you simply re-format your content in some other tool and sell that.

Where do you Apple Haters get such thick skulls? Do you spend all day beating your head against logs with the aim of disallowing any logic or reason to enter?

Re:What they forgot that will make it binding... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812467)

If Apple doesn't publish you the only thing you can't shop around is the output of iBooks. If you want to recreate your "ebook" using another tool, no restrictions.

Apple is NOT trying to take your copyrights away. You're following the opinion of an "ambulance chaser" (literally, he's a PI lawyer) who is basing it off the opinion of one guy whose a known anti-IP advocate and another whose a known Apple hater.

Re:What they forgot that will make it binding... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812555)

You're still missing the point.

If Apple doesn't publish you. GAME OVER. The only way to get your book out there after that is to give it away...for free!

That's really scary!

Thankfully, it's not true. You're free to publish it on any other format, or with any other tool chain. You just can't try to sell the output of iBooks outside of Apple's ecosystem. Of course, I'm not sure why you'd want to, it uses a format that's close to ePub, but not close enough for other eBook stores.

Re:What they forgot that will make it binding... (5, Informative)

joh (27088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812611)

You're still missing the point.

If Apple doesn't publish you. GAME OVER. The only way to get your book out there after that is to give it away...for free!

Nonsense. You only can't publish the very file created by iBooks Author elsewhere. The content you wrote is still yours.

This is even spelled out in the EULA later on. Of course this is desperately ignored in that article and everywhere else.

Re:What they forgot that will make it binding... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812753)

You're still missing the point.

If Apple doesn't publish you. GAME OVER. The only way to get your book out there after that is to give it away...for free!

At least with normal publishers, if they don't take your book, you can shop it around.

Once you sign that new contract, Apple has full control over you capitalising on your efforts.

That doesn't offend you?

What offends me is people being so dumb that they can't understand the actual situation, which is this:

Most of the work involved in creating a book goes into the content -- text, pictures, research, etc etc etc. Some (not a trivial amount, it is real work) goes into formatting the content in an attractive manner for publication.

Apple's new app covers only the formatting part. It's basically a tool intended to make it easy to create nice looking, featureful e-book files in a format which is exclusive to Apple's platform.

If you use Apple's app to put your content into an iBook format file, Apple isn't claiming ownership of the content. Just that you can't publish the iBooks-formatted version any way except through them. You're perfectly free to use other tools to create an ebook from the same copyrighted source material -- text, pictures, everything -- in some other format, with no restrictions whatsoever. In fact, you could use ePub, which Apple's own viewing app supports, and supports very well, and you can distribute ePubs in literally any way you want, completely independent of Apple.

I don't pretend to know if what Apple's trying to do with this new iBooks format is based on sound legal theory. It doesn't seem like it fits with what I know about copyright law etc., but I am far from a lawyer. However, it's a damn sight short of Apple actually trying to own exclusive rights to book content, the way you're trying to spin it. They only want to own exclusive rights to publish files generated by their tool.

Lots of the outrage about this on the web seems to be about a desire for Apple to give away everything. That is, right now they're giving away a "free" high quality ebook formatting tool, where the real price of the software is that it makes Apple money in the end, either by getting a cut of the sales, or just promoting a format which only works on Apple's devices. People instead want Apple to give away a high quality ebook tool which generates generic, open format ebook files with no hooks.

Guess what, they're never going to do that. You could maybe convince them to generate open format files with no hooks, but I guarantee you the tool wouldn't have a price of $0 any more. They probably sunk a substantial amount of engineering budget into that app and the new book format it generates, and they're going to try to make a profit off it one way or another.

Re:What they forgot that will make it binding... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812339)

Sound approximately as legal as affiliate scammers that you see every so often in the job ads.

Re:What they forgot that will make it binding... (2)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812447)

You can *export your work*. No one is going to author in the iBooks platform. They'll import their products first. But I agree Apple's EULA is still too much. If Apple rejects your submission, whatever time you spent constructing your book is wasted. That can't be legal.

sex with a 7Ucker (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38811889)

= 36440 FreeBSD Inventing 3xcuses

You... realise it's just a proprietary html editor (4, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 2 years ago | (#38811969)

First entry up on google for self publishing epubs:

http://www.lulu.com/ [lulu.com]

They even do paper versions.
 

Re:You... realise it's just a proprietary html edi (2)

killfixx (148785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812405)

If it was just about the format it wouldn't be an issue. It's about the EULA. It's about Apple seducing (iEverything looks damn sexy, easy to use, etc...) authors into a walled garden. It's about limiting the rights of authors by hiding the nitty-gritty in a document that doesn't get to be seen until after you've spent all that effort to make a shiny new iBook. You're options at that point amount to: export it to severely format deprived pdf or (by changing the extension from ibook to epub, and again, losing any and all formatting) epub or straight up text (sans pictures, etc...).

The whole reason for using iBook Author was to make it shiny. To give it that magical quality that people lust after.

Now, once a competent conversion program comes out, that keeps all the formatting and everything, the iBook lock-in hurt will be lessened.

Sigh (5, Insightful)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812033)

Apple makes great products, and I was their customer for almost twenty years, but a few years ago I gave them up. I could no longer stand the bullshit and shenanigans which come with all their products. For me, the breaking point came when my next-gen iPod couldn't use the $1 cables I'd had with my previous-gen iPod, and now I was expected to buy Apple-branded chip-locked cables for $50. FIFTY DOLLARS!

No. No, no, no. Fuck you, no. I still own and like my MacBook Pro (from 2007), but it is starting to get a little long in the tooth, and in the next couple years I'll replace it with something other than a Mac. I replaced my iPod with an Android pod. I bought an Android tablet instead of an iPad. I'm a programmer who might write apps, but I don't even consider the iOS platform.

iBooks? Sounds great! The world desperately needs to shake up the textbook industry, and I'm happy that a large company is doing something about it. But no, I won't consider it. Since I gave up Apple, they have continued to release products which look great and reportedly work great, but no, I'm not willing to put up with the bullshit to use them, because that would make me feel like a chump.

I do have a sliver of hope that all the bullshit was due to Steve Jobs' personal hatred for his customers, and now that he is dead perhaps Apple will slowly shed that hatred. There are no signs of that yet, but I would expect it to take a while.

Re:Sigh (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812215)

I'm completely with you there. Probably bought my last Apple product.

Free and open source is important, but even more important is open data and file formats.

Re:Sigh (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812445)

I'm completely with you there. Probably bought my last Apple product.

Free and open source is important, but even more important is open data and file formats.

I suspect the only way you can support the rather expensive hardware Apple offers is by assuring it isn't available anywhere else, same goes with media. If you can only get certain school textbooks through Apple, because they have an exclusivity clause in the contract you either lug dead tree or ante-up.

Re:Sigh (1)

jordanjay29 (1298951) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812615)

I would love for my University to try to require an iBook-exclusive textbook, just to try that case out in court. Sadly, as a public university, they're unlikely to require anything that's not bound in lots of paper and adhesive. Even the few ebooks for the textbooks cost nearly as much, and aren't really worth getting with the choice being between Kindle and Nook. Where's PDF/ePub when you need it?

Re:Sigh (1, Informative)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812231)

For me, the breaking point came when my next-gen iPod couldn't use the $1 cables I'd had with my previous-gen iPod, and now I was expected to buy Apple-branded chip-locked cables for $50. FIFTY DOLLARS!

Old FUD is still FUD.

Summary is wrong (3, Informative)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812093)

Apple isn't demanding to be sole distributor of your works, just of the format it's tool creates. Go ahead and distribute your works elsewhere, as long as you don't distribute it using their modified ePub3 format. Or distribute your works in their format gratis. That's also okay.

Re:Summary is wrong (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812237)

"Its" for you grammar nazis. I blame autocorrect. I'm posting from an iPhone.

Here's the source: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1310926 [macrumors.com]

They don't want to own your books, just their file format.

Re:Summary is wrong (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812509)

"Its" for you grammar nazis. I blame autocorrect. I'm posting from an iPhone.

Here's the source: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1310926 [macrumors.com]

They don't want to own your books, just their file format.

While I agree with your comments about what Apple wants, the issue is over the line in the EULA "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." That certainly appears to be an exclusive distribution license, which needs to be in writing under the Copyright Act to be valid.

That said, if you subsequently distributed it elsewhere without signing anything, you probably wouldn't be liable for copyright infringement of the work you created, as the transfer was invalid. However, you would be in breach of the software license, so you would have to delete the iBook software from your machine, or else you would be liable for copyright infringement of their software.

Re:Summary is wrong (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812735)

My bad for using the word "work". The work is the file, not the content. That's also in the eula. The point is this is nothing more than what every content publishing program says, and no more than base scaremongering by the submitter.

Re:Summary is wrong (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812717)

And since their format is a variation of epub, which is both an industry standard AND based upon HTML which is itself based upon plain text, I expect iBook->epub conversion tools to be available in a matter of days. I'd almost bet money that Calibre will be able to import, read, convert, and export iBooks within a couple of weeks.

So to get around Apple's EULA:

1. Create iBook with Apple's tool.
2. Convert to your favorite format.
3. Distribute.
4. There's no need for a "?" here.
5. Profit!

In other news... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812133)

YA.NEWS.SERVICE February 1; Cupertino, California - Apple Incorporated, formerly Apple Computer will again be changing the company name to Apple Syndicate. Anyone who doesn't like it will find themselves in the Baylands wearing concrete Birkenstocks at low tide and sea water at high tide.

Contracts 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812145)

First off for a contract to be valid both parties have to receive something. Simply signing away all rights for nothing isn't valid. It can be for a $1 or certain considerations but something needs to be exchanged. Everyone is trying to make the case that Apple will receive exclusive rights to the original work which is not what is stated EULA. Apple is making it a condition of using it's free tool that you can only sell the outputted file through Apple. You can give it away but if money is exchanged Apple has to get a cut. You can take the original text and use say InDesign to create a new layout of the book and sell it to anyone.

Here's the real fly in the ointment. I was considering using Kickstarter to raise money for a project and one of the premiums would be an eBook That would be potentially formatted through the Author software. Technically they aren't buying anything you are simply offering them some free stuff if they contribute money but it gets sticky because you can't ask for money over the internet without offering something in return. The point is there's plenty there for Apple to sue you over. I think anyone that posts a book project on Kickstarter that plans to do a version with Author will get visited by Steve Jobs ghost and several lawyers.

Re:Contracts 101 (1)

jordanjay29 (1298951) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812637)

The iBook author gets exclusive access to the wealth of iPad wielding iBook customers? That probably satisfies the need to receive something, at least in a courtroom.

Nonsensical (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812251)

Apple makes no claims on copyright, or on your work - ONLY on output of the software. You are totally free to format the same work in some other tool and sell that.

Again, to put it another way, It's not exclusive as to your content but ONLY TO OUTPUT FROM THE TOOL.

The free tool, that Apple gave you for free. And they ask to make money if you want to sell something produced with it? How dare they!

Re:Nonsensical (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812409)

...and they say the GPL is viral.

RMS has nothing on Apple Corp.

Different forms of viral (-1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812569)

the GPL is viral by force. When you get something GPL, the output WILL be GPL. It's required.

Apple's form of viral only works by choice (people buying the products, using the authoring tools). You don't have to write an eBook using Apple's tool, it's just that if you do you have a vast audience of people who may purchase it and also probably a better looking eBook.

I'm not saying one is better than the other, but they are different approaches to making something viral.

Re:Different forms of viral (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812669)

Bwahahah!

The two ideas are *exactly* alike, Mr Apple fanboy! There's nobody putting a gun to your head and *forcing* you to use GPL.

You really don't have to write an application using GPL software, it's just that if you do then you have a vast audience of people who may elect to use it, and also probably a better looking application with a faster development cycle.

BTW, what does really force you is copyright law. It forces you to obey intellectual property rules under threat of legal reprisals.

Re:Different forms of viral (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812801)

You're full of shit, and I say that as a proponent of permissive licenses and an opponent of the GPL.

If you take something GPLed, and make something OUT OF IT, that's GPL. If you make something WITH IT, as you said "the output", that doesn't have to be GPL. You can use emacs to edit your proprietary source code, you can use gcc to compile proprietary binaries, you can use gdb to debug it, you can do this all on a GNU/Linux distribution fo your choice, and nowhere along the way does any of that output become GPL. So quit the FUD. The GPL virus only "infects" your code in cases where YOU'D BE GUILTY OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT without the GPL (or an even freer license, such as BSD).

Re:Different forms of viral (4, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812901)

the GPL is viral by force. When you get something GPL, the output WILL be GPL. It's required.

I don't know what you intended, but what you wrote is patently false.

The output of a GPL program is not affected by the license in any way, shape or form.

If you take someone else's GPL software and you make changes to it, and you distribute those changes, then and only then does the GPL come into play.

Apple's software, on the other hand, is insidious because it does infect the output. You are forbidden from selling the output of that software on any service other than Apple's.

So if what you really meant to say is that GPL has no effect whatsoever on how you use the software (as opposed to how you distribute it), and that Apple's software does... then yes, I couldn't agree more.

Re:Different forms of viral (1)

seandiggity (992657) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812987)

the GPL is viral by force. When you get something GPL, the output WILL be GPL. It's required.

Apple's form of viral only works by choice (people buying the products, using the authoring tools). You don't have to write an eBook using Apple's tool, it's just that if you do you have a vast audience of people who may purchase it and also probably a better looking eBook.

I'm not saying one is better than the other, but they are different approaches to making something viral.

This viral example is silly, I've seen it repeated far too many times, most recently in an old copy of "The Pragmatic Programmer", which is a very sharp book otherwise.

*Every* license that requires you to license a copy of a work in a certain way, if you distribute it, is "viral". Many licenses don't allow you to distribute at all. There's no such thing as "viral by force". The GPL actually allows you to do whatever you want on your own system, completely ignoring the license (making it much freer and less "virus-like" than a proprietary program running on my system that I can't modify legally). It's when you distribute (using more modern terms, "convey") the work that you have to make sure you've got GPL'd source code available (if not readily available, at least by request). Those who choose to license under the AGPL are curtailing unrestricted personal modification, to close the so-called "application service provider loophole". So, if you run an AGPL'd Web service/application, you're required to release the modified source.

At any rate, the comparison you make is non-sequitur:
1. When you modify a GPL'd work and then convey a copy of it, you must license the copy under the GPL (aka follow the terms of the GPL).
2. When you format your own copyrighted work with Apple's tool, you are not allowed to distribute the output of that tool on your own. That version may only be distributed by Apple. The question being discussed is whether or not you've transferred copyright to Apple, which apparently isn't allowed under U.S. law without some signed paperwork.

Re:Nonsensical (1)

sl149q (1537343) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812459)

Exactly. You can take your content and publish via the (presumably) up and coming Android format and put that into the Android store.

Or even publish via any of the normal epub formats via any channel you like.

The ONLY restriction is that IFF you create an iBook version you can only distribute THAT version via Apple (or for free.)

Think of it like an app... You can only sell your Angry Birds IOS app via Apple. But you can sell your Angry Birds Android app anyway you like.

Re:Nonsensical (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812493)

I'm surprised Adobe hasn't written an EULA with regards to their Adobe Acrobat software. Or have they? That is to say, once you create a PDF of your works, they own the copyright to that content in that format.

Compare with a publishing contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812281)

You sign a contract with a publisher, compare the rights to your work with the publisher with the rights to your work when publishing with iBooks Author. Indeed.

A point I haven't seen anyone mention: (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812483)

iBooks Author (the application) takes your text and layout and generates an .ibook file consisting of ePub/html 5/extensions.

Bison (the FSF yacc replacement) takes a yacc/bison grammar file and generates source code. That source code contains FSF IP in the form of copyrighted source code. The FSF has a special exemption but otherwise, your generated grammars could only be distributed under the GPL.

Generated .ibooks files may contain copyright Apple IP, in which case it wouldn't just be a matter of the EULA.

Re:A point I haven't seen anyone mention: (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812587)

Major citation needed, because the output of programs is not copyrighted. No compiled program, generated grammar, or otherwise, can be copyrighted by the generating program or its authors.

Re:A point I haven't seen anyone mention: (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812769)

Want to bet? What if I write a C code generator that simply spits out its own code at the top of the generated C file (commented)? What about a code generate that emits predefined functions that I wrote?

Re:A point I haven't seen anyone mention: (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812843)

Well, it *could* if the licence agreement specified such... but the GPL actually has the exact opposite, a clause to make it clear that program output is not considered bound by the GPL. I don't know of any licences that do require output be copyright to the program developer, but it's quite possible some exist that I am not aware of.

-1: Troll (0, Troll)

jasno (124830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812515)

Haha... I just posted this in the other apple story, but it seems even more appropriate here. Hope you got some modpoints, mactards...

----------------

Hahahahaha... fuck you apple fanboys. You know, it's been sad to watch otherwise smart folks bend over to suck Cupertino's cock. Some of us knew all along that Jobs would be even worse than Gates if he only had the chance.

Apple, as a company, reminds me of some hipster asshole who steals his ideas from some unheard-of artist, and then gets pissed when people start copying him in return.

Hey - what was Apple's position on SOPA/PIPA anyway? Hmm.. seems like they were strangely silent. Good thing you signed up for their walled garden. I hope they're still around in 25 years when you want to reference that iTextbook that can't be viewed on any other manufacturer's device.

Re:-1: Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38813007)

Wow. What a fucking asshole. A willfully ignorant fucking asshole. His/Her sig says it all.

Work == File == Document != Content (4, Informative)

joh (27088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812519)

Really. It's even in the fscking EULA:

"Title and intellectual property rights in and to any content displayed by or accessed through the Apple Software belongs to the respective content owner."

Note the "content". Software (as iBooks Author) creates files or documents or "works", but not content. Authors create content. This content is yours.

If you think this is word-wanking, try the following gedankenexperiment:

You write a book using MS Word for the text, Photoshop for the illustrations and you even buy some high-quality photos for it. Then you import all of that into iBooks Author to create a book for the iBook Store. You also import all of that into InDesign (or whatever software you bought for creating ePubs) to sell elsewhere.

How should the book you created from *your* content be affected by the iBook Author EULA? It isn't. Apple even spells this out in the EULA. The content of course is yours to sell.

I'm not an Apple fanboi and I don't like Apple very much but I think iBook Author and the iBook store is a good idea. I also don't like the EULA terms very much but they are not what some people would like you to think they are. If you want to sell the file created with iBooks Author you can sell it only via Apple. But if you want to sell your content in that book elsewhere you can still do that.

Meanwhile I just hate that kind of sensational journalism that ignores facts and just wants to drive page-views by fueling hate and fury. Really, I'm sick of it. Be rational and READ THE FUCKING EULA.

What interesting timing (-1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812605)

Huh, imagine that, an article casting Apple in negative light at JUST the right time to overshadow yet another record-breaking quarter of sales, along with the fact that iOS devices are now outselling Android [mattrichman.net]...

Re:What interesting timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38812819)

Shut up, you bloody curled up little cunt hair.

Re:What interesting timing (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38812915)

Being successful and being 'evil' by slashdot standards are not mutually exclusive. Rather the opposite: Most of the things the slashdot crowd opposes are things that would be done either to increase profit or to gain power with which to increase profit in future, so you'd expect the evil companies to be the more successful.
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