Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Apple Clarifies iBooks Author Licensing

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the internet-gets-mad-when-you-get-grabby dept.

Books 144

bonch writes "After drawing criticism over iBooks Author's licensing language, Apple has modified it in a software update to make clear that Apple is claiming rights to the .ibook format itself and not the content therein: '[The license restriction] does not apply to the content of such works when distributed in a form that does not include files in the .ibooks format.' In other words, the content may be sold on competing book stores as long as it is not packaged using iBooks Author."

cancel ×

144 comments

Which was always obvious. (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922477)

Hands up all those people who didn't already realise that's what it meant.

Re:Which was always obvious. (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922497)

Hands up all those people who didn't already realise that's what it meant.

I thought they were laying a trap so the next time an author republished the work Apple could sue them. /sarcasm

Re:Which was always obvious. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38923673)

That wouldn't be unprecedented. Numerous free web hosting services and some other types (youtube type things etc.) had clauses in their terms of service that using their service involved relinquishing your copyright to anything you'd put up in their service. Apple's greedy enough that they would concievably do that.

Re:Which was always obvious. (5, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922499)

Ambiguity, when it comes to working with a litigious company, is not a good thing.

Re:Which was always obvious. (5, Funny)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922571)

As opposed to all those big-name companies that never file lawsuits. For example,

Re:Which was always obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38922997)

Google has an incredible track record so far.

Re:Which was always obvious. (0, Troll)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923203)

Their child company Motorola, on the other hand...

Re:Which was always obvious. (4, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923227)

Google has an incredible track record so far.

Their child company Motorola, on the other hand...

Motorola isn't a Google child company. Motorola Mobility is a company which Google has agreed to purchase from Motorola, but the purchase has not yet been completed.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

Grail (18233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923727)

And the fact that it's Motorola instead of Google makes it just fine for them to violate the F/RAND licensing six ways to Sunday?

Re:Which was always obvious. (1, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923939)

So Google will drop all the lawsuits the moment the acquisition is complete?

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

LSD-25 (676562) | more than 2 years ago | (#38924769)

Motorola isn't a Google child company. Motorola Mobility is a company which Google has agreed to purchase from Motorola, but the purchase has not yet been completed.

Google's not buying it from Motorola. Motorola spun off Motorola Mobility in January 2011. At the same time, the parent company changed its name to “Motorola Solutions”, so there is no longer any company just called “Motorola”.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925217)

That would be because instead of suing directly, they get minions to do it so they can carry on their facade of looking "not evil", they've so far *given* patents to both Motorola and HTC, just before those two sued other companies with those very patents.

Re:Which was always obvious. (4, Informative)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922825)

Ambiguity, when it comes to working with a litigious company, is not a good thing.

Ambiguity, when dealing with a boilerplate contract, is always interpreted as strictly against the drafting party as possible...

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922939)

Are you saying that's the way it works in practise? Not saying it isn't, and hoping that it is, but I thought your justice system was completely wack, in practise.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922975)

...eh, by "your" I mean "the american", and by "america" I mean the US.

Re:Which was always obvious. (3, Informative)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923285)

Are you saying that's the way it works in practise? Not saying it isn't, and hoping that it is, but I thought your justice system was completely wack, in practise.

Yes, this is the way it works in practice in US Common Law.

US law might be whacked, but it's still not really any more whacked than UK law. I mean, at least here the truth is an absolute defense to defamation.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923419)

Thanks. Upon further pondering, arbitrary logic in court would be too outrageous. The injustice lies at a more abstract level. Also, I seem to not have spellchecking in my browser.

Re:Which was always obvious. (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923645)

Well of course, we inherited this whacked Common Law system from those morons. We should have given them the finger in yet another way back in 1776 and adopted French Civil Code (or whatever the French were using at the time, as Napoleon hadn't quite come along yet to make his revisions). The idea of a court system where the judges and the lawyers are two entirely separate professions, going to two separate schools, makes a lot of sense when you see the shenanigans going on in the US legal system.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923891)

Well of course, we inherited this whacked Common Law system from those morons. We should have given them the finger in yet another way back in 1776 and adopted French Civil Code (or whatever the French were using at the time, as Napoleon hadn't quite come along yet to make his revisions). The idea of a court system where the judges and the lawyers are two entirely separate professions, going to two separate schools, makes a lot of sense when you see the shenanigans going on in the US legal system.

I definitely agree... although everyone now tends to be using the German Civil Code, as it's very well engineered... (stereotyping not intended)

Re:Which was always obvious. (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923983)

Actually there would be an easy way to fix it, in both criminal and civil, but it would take away power from the uberrich so it'd never fly. Simply have both side pay into a common fund which is split equally to pay for the two sides lawyers. no paying anything other than one half of the fund. this would discourage using "dream team" lawyers because by spending that outrageous amount you would also be giving the other side an equal amount. As it is now both the rich and the state can use virtually unlimited funds to SLAPP away any threat to their power by simply dragging the case out until the poorer side goes broke. Sadly this goes on all to often and I've seen it first hand when a friend with a small business was royally fucked by quite obviously illegal tactics by an ISP who said "Just try and sue us". His lawyer told him "Sure you'll win, no doubt there, but by the time they are done dragging this through the system you'll be looking at the better part of a decade and close to a million dollars in legal fees over the length of the case" so he just walked away. If both sides had to pay into a fund that was split equally then dragging it out would give no advantage since you would be increasing the opponents resources as well. But as I said that would mean the 1% would actually have to argue cases on their merits and we can't have that now can we?

Re:Which was always obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925159)

Yes, this is the way it works in practice in US Common Law.

But if you lack the funds to take the fight to/in court, you're still SOL...

Re:Which was always obvious. (0)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923615)

There was nothing ambiguous about it. At all. It was obvious.

Re:Which was always obvious. (4, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922515)

What one knows it means and what one claims it means are two different things. The "Apple hates us for our freedom" crowd never really cared what was meant, it was just another club to troll with.

Re:Which was always obvious. (0, Flamebait)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922747)

Unfortunately, that crowd has practically taken over and turned this place into a constant Apple hatefest. Can you believe that you actually used to be able to praise Apple for something and not get modded down? The nerve of praising one of the most influential tech companies in the world!

Re:Which was always obvious. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38922911)

Suck satans cock!

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38923287)

When you're dealing with a company that tried to patent the shape of a rectangle, and whose main business strategy is "rebrand old technology then say we invented it" you would be stupid to ignore such a thing.

Re:Which was always obvious. (0)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38924191)

It was a legitimate source of complaint. I spend effort formatting my work, and then have to redo all of that effort if I want to sell my work outside their store? Look, they can pull that if they want, I just won't waste my time with their product. Frankly Apple deserves a robust competitor here who doesn't employ these restrictive tactics. Imagine if Adobe Photoshop tried this, and you could only sell photoshopped images in a Microsoft-Marketplace, giving Microsoft a cut. Oh, you are free to take the original photo and redo all that work to sell it elsewhere, so I guess anyone criticizing the move is part of the hippy "Adobe hates us for our freedom" crowd. PLEASE. No one buys that. And now we have a good reason to avoid buying Apple - their increasing efforts to exert control over users and our data.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38924949)

It might be a legitimate complaint, but your metaphor is terrible. While Adobe's application is aimed at producing content for wide use, Apple's is aimed at producing a finished product for a singlular use, and not content. It's not a typewriter; it's a printing press and book binder. The're saying, "Hey, we'll give you stuff to build snazzy books for free for sale in our book store if you give us a cut of sales. However, you can't use the stuff to build those books and sell 'em over at B. Dalton. In that case, get your own print shop."

Also... "...now we have a good reason to avoid buying Apple..." You do realize that this is about Apple making clear it's not Doing The Bad Thing You Think You Might Be Upset About?

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922533)

Of course it was obvious, but some people are always on the lookout for things to get upset about. It feels good to be angry, and it makes people listen to them.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38923019)

Of course it was obvious, but some people are always on the lookout for things to get upset about. It feels good to be angry, and it makes people listen to them.

Other things that get on my nerves are genocide and tyranny. And to a lesser extent corporate lackeys.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922561)

It was perfectly obvious, and I think Apple is just trying to divert people's attention by clouding the issue.

Re:Which was always obvious. (2, Insightful)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922659)

It's still ridiculous. Imagine if the EULA of an IDE like Eclipse were to demand that any programs compiled using it have to give a cut to the creators of Eclipse!

I'm not saying it's illegal. It's just that Apple is a jerk for doing it.

Re:Which was always obvious. (5, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922721)

Apple doesn't want to provide a free tool to be used for producing ebooks on competing platforms. I fail to see how that's being a "jerk". It's called running a business.

Don't like it? Don't use iBooks Author.

Re:Which was always obvious. (0, Troll)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922839)

Apple doesn't want to provide a free tool to be used for producing ebooks on competing platforms. I fail to see how that's being a "jerk". It's called running a business.

"Jerk" doesn't quite cover it. I believe terms such as "evil" and "monopolistic" should also be applied.

Re:Which was always obvious. (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922935)

"Jerk" doesn't quite cover it. I believe terms such as "evil" and "monopolistic" should also be applied.

Please explain in what way anyone is worse off now than the day before iBooks Author was released. In the absence of a compelling answer, how on earth does the word "evil" apply? It's ignorance of the first order.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

4phun (822581) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923435)

Apple doesn't want to provide a free tool to be used for producing ebooks on competing platforms. I fail to see how that's being a "jerk". It's called running a business.

"Jerk" doesn't quite cover it. I believe terms such as "evil" and "monopolistic" should also be applied.

Now can you begin to have insight on how the European union views Google's change to their 'user agreement' for all Google products. The EU flatly told Google that it isn't going to happen with out a review by all the governments in Europe who may completely reject Google's new terms as evil and monopolistic.

It is easy to say but can they prove it?

If they can, Android and Google are in a world of trouble, far more than the simple problem just solved by Apple over the Apple freeware iBooks Author. It is one thing to have a handful of Geeks mad at you but to have the all the governments turn on you in mass is another issue that is very serious.

Even the USA is getting involved since US laws have serious issues like the HIPPA violations that will occur on and after March 1 from a simple Google medical search tied to a user's ID
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/technologylive/post/2012/02/rep-bono-mack-reports-on-closed-door-google-briefing-/1 [usatoday.com]

Google stepped into some very deep dung without thinking through that announcement of new mandatory user agreements beginning March 1.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922995)

But then they make it next to impossible to get something on the iBookStore anyway. As it is, they still only accept big names and tell everyone else to go jump and sign up with an "aggregator" like Ingram (who likely takes another 30% or more). So really, they weren't going to sign you up anyway so what benefit do they gain by preventing you using the output with other publishers?

Re:Which was always obvious. (4, Informative)

Karlt1 (231423) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923201)

But then they make it next to impossible to get something on the iBookStore anyway

http://www.macnews.com/2010/08/10/gregs-bite-how-publish-apple-ibook [macnews.com]

Book content requirements: ISBNs for all titles you intend to distribute. You must be able to deliver your book content in EPUB format, passing EpubCheck 1.0.5.
Financial requirements: A US tax ID, a valid iTunes Store account, with a credit card on file. .....

You must have an ISBN number issued for your book and you should reserve the title (see #1 and #2 below). Getting a bar code might also be a good idea. You must have a unique ISBN number for each book you post to the iBooks store. If you look at the jacket on any book, you will notice a ISBN number. It costs 25 for each ISBN number for each book. That unique number identifies your book in a giant data base along with the author's name, date of being published, title etc. You apply for a ISBN number at the following URL: http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/isbn/us/application.asp [isbn.org] .

You can get a book title registered to prevent confusion by having an identical title with another book by going to: http://www.bowkerlink.com/corrections/common/home.asp [bowkerlink.com] . This is free.

You may also get a special bar code from the same web site at the following link: http://www.bowkerbarcode.com/barcode/ [bowkerbarcode.com] .

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922793)

Why on earth should Apple spend significant amounts of money to develop a free tool which could be used by suppliers of competitors?

They invested a significant amount of money in it. They aren't charging for it. So it's only sensible that they get the advantage of it, and not their competitors.

Businesses are not charities.

Re:Which was always obvious. (2, Funny)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922945)

Why on earth should Apple spend significant amounts of money to develop a free tool...

Because that's what "nice" companies do. And I like doing business with "nice" companies. Google for example makes my life easier for free with great tools and so I don't mind buying from them when I have to.

Since Apple isn't a "nice" company, I avoid doing business with them. Simple.

Re:Which was always obvious. (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923377)

Because that's what "nice" companies do.

No it's not. Companies act to make a profit. Not to be nice. All that differs is their business model for making money out of their activities.

Google for example makes my life easier for free with great tools and so I don't mind buying from them when I have to.

They just have a different business model. They make their money on advertising. That's why they provide those tools. Not because they are nice.

BTW, there's no Santa Claus either. Sorry about that.

Re:Which was always obvious. (2)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923555)

Sorry, a person is nice by their actions in totality. I like doing business with Google and I trust Google because they're nice. So "nice" IS a viable business model if it gains the trust of your customers.

Re:Which was always obvious. (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923681)

Sorry, a person is nice by their actions in totality. I like doing business with Google and I trust Google because they're nice. So "nice" IS a viable business model if it gains the trust of your customers.

You like doing business with Google. Lots of people like doing business with Apple. So what?

"Nice" isn't a business model. It's hardly even a worthwhile adjective.

Re:Which was always obvious. (2)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923767)

You like doing business with Google. Lots of people like doing business with Apple. So what?

Apple can get even more customers by being nice. Being nice never drove anyone away. But by doing stuff like this, launching frivolous patent wars etc, Apple fails the "nice" test. So it loses a chance to get even more customers. So simple no?

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38924099)

Apple can get even more customers by being nice. Being nice never drove anyone away. But by doing stuff like this, launching frivolous patent wars etc, Apple fails the "nice" test. So it loses a chance to get even more customers.

Not really no. The only people that are aware whats in the EULA for a development tool is few geeks on Slashdot and the like. The only people that object to it are people who hate Apple whatever they do. And they won't buy Apple anyway. So they're not lost customers.

Re:Which was always obvious. (5, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925253)

Apple: Give you free tool because they want content for their store.
Google: Give you free tool because they want your personal details and information on everything you're doing.

You may prefer the terms of the latter free tool, but that doesn't make them being "nice", it makes them another company, with another motive for giving you a free tool.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923013)

There is decent business sense in that as well. If they create the best eBook authoring tool, they have the best store, and best readers, they would be making money all around. That others might make money is inconsequential. They have magical products end to end, so it still provides them a lot of income, possibly more since it could make iBooks author the de facto standard. Of course, that would rely on them actually having and continuing to have the best end to end.

That's pretty much the entire idea behind open standards, and ibooks is at least partially based on such a standard.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923421)

There is decent business sense in that as well. If they create the best eBook authoring tool, they have the best store, and best readers, they would be making money all around.

How would that money be increased by letting other ebook stores benefit from their app?

They have magical products end to end, so it still provides them a lot of income, possibly more since it could make iBooks author the de facto standard.

To turn that into a profit would require charging for iBooks Author. And iBook tools is such a small niche, income from selling it would be irrelevant compared to actually selling ebooks.

Of course, that would rely on them actually having and continuing to have the best end to end.

They do have the best because they left the old standard behind.

That's pretty much the entire idea behind open standards, and ibooks is at least partially based on such a standard.

The point of open standards is it benefits those who need easy compatibility between systems of different organisations. Having made the best authoring tool, and having their own successful ebook store, they don't need compatibility with any other organisation at the ebook format level.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925059)

How would that money be increased by letting other ebook stores benefit from their app?

To turn that into a profit would require charging for iBooks Author. And iBook tools is such a small niche, income from selling it would be irrelevant compared to actually selling ebooks.

They would profit because could mean that practically ALL of the authors use the iBooks author app and put their books in the iBooks store. That ensures the further sale of iPads and use of the iBooks store. Their decision to be cunts about this means that authors that want to be in all stores will have to use other tools. If Adobe is feeling petty, they might release a similar, standards compliant tool, and make Apple and Jobs out to be hypocrites regarding open standards.

They do have the best because they left the old standard behind.

As I understand it, most if not all of the functionality of the new format was in the latest edition of the ePub standard, making it possibly different for the sake of being different. Also, Apple having the best book store and reader is questionable, and have very little to do with their proprietary ePub fork.

The point of open standards is it benefits those who need easy compatibility between systems of different organisations. Having made the best authoring tool, and having their own successful ebook store, they don't need compatibility with any other organisation at the ebook format level.

The point of open standards is to cut development costs and let products compete on their merits instead of vendor lock-in, which is beneficial to those who actually make quality products. It makes business less of a gamble, and allows a company a better chance to recover if they fall behind. What Apple did is quite similar to embrace, extend, extinguish, although I think they played their hand a bit too early.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925265)

They would profit because could mean that practically ALL of the authors use the iBooks author app and put their books in the iBooks store. That ensures the further sale of iPads and use of the iBooks store. Their decision to be cunts about this means that authors that want to be in all stores will have to use other tools. If Adobe is feeling petty, they might release a similar, standards compliant tool, and make Apple and Jobs out to be hypocrites regarding open standards.

That will happen anyway, why do they gain?

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923683)

Simple: because making the tool free and pushing it to become the de-facto standard means more people will use the Apple book store (or whatever they're calling it), and they'll make more money on ebook sales. Keeping all locked up will make people (esp. authors) just go to Kindle instead.

Making it harder or more expensive for your customers to do business with you is almost always a losing strategy.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38924125)

Simple: because making the tool free and pushing it to become the de-facto standard means more people will use the Apple book store (or whatever they're calling it), and they'll make more money on ebook sales.

There's nothing simple about that at all. That seems to be nothing more than an item of faith on your part. The logic seems entirely the other way.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923149)

It's still ridiculous. Imagine if the EULA of an IDE like Eclipse were to demand that any programs compiled using it have to give a cut to the creators of Eclipse!

Metrowerks Codewarrior, in its time the leading IDE for Mac software development. There was a commercial edition, and a student edition. Student edition was free (as in free beer), with the restriction that no commercial use was allowed. FAQ: "What if I created software with the free version and someone wants to buy it? " Answer: "Buy the commercial edition and compile the code again". Are you saying Metrowerks were jerks? Thousands of students will strongly disagree with you.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923697)

There's a big difference between demanding a cut of all the sales of a program, and charging a flat fee for a tool.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

Grail (18233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923763)

That's not the point. The point is that the Apple iBooks Author program is free to use, but if you make money from the output of the program you do it on Apple's terms.

If you didn't want to use Metroworks, you would just go and write your own toolchain. If you don't like bit keeper's conditions, you would just go write your own version control system. If you don't like Microsoft's Educational licence restrictions, you'd just go buy the full version or write your own word processor.

Licencing conditions on commercial use of tools are not a new thing. We still have the option of writing our own WYSIWIG GUI for editing ePub 3.0 format, with live reviewing on the iPad or other device sitting on the desk.

At least you can rest secure in the knowledge that Apple isn't going to give your book away for free in order to boost sales figures, like Amazon does.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925267)

Yes – permitting you to make money as long as you give a cut is more permissive than not permitting you to make money at all. Apple's licensing terms are even more friendly than some very common ones out there, great! \o/

Re:Which was always obvious. (0)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923451)

You mean like the Microsoft IDE?

Go ahead and read that things EULA, Oh and you cant write anything that is anti microsoft with MS word. That is in their EULA for Office.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923687)

Proof that you can't write something Anti-Microsoft with Word?

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

ideonexus (1257332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922775)

It means: We don't own the message. We own the medium.

Imagine if Microsoft said "We don't own the content of your document, but if we find any of your *.docx files being offered anywhere other than approved Microsoft partner's shop, we will sue you into the ground."

Somehow we're not supposed to still be outraged over this?

Re:Which was always obvious. (1, Flamebait)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922809)

Why would you be outraged? Why would you even care? If you don't like it, just don't use iBooks Author.

The sense of entitlement in tech communities is what's actually outrageous.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923095)

Unless, of course, one values Freedom(tm) or Openness(tm) or TheRightThingToDo(tm).

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923395)

Why would you be outraged? Why would you even care? If you don't like it, just don't use iBooks Author.

The sense of entitlement in tech communities is what's actually outrageous.

Exactly. I won't use it. And I will discourage all of my friends from using it.

There. Any other questions?

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925273)

Why? Are you sure they don't like it? Why would you discourage them from using it, rather than informing them of when it's a good idea to use it and when it's not?

Re:Which was always obvious. (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922863)

Imagine if Microsoft said "We don't own the content of your document, but if we find any of your *.docx files being offered anywhere other than approved Microsoft partner's shop, we will sue you into the ground."

Microsoft charges for Word. A general purpose word processing program. They sell it for all the things that WPs are expected to do. Create word processor files, print then and/or share them freely. If they didn't, no one would buy it.

Apple doesn't charge for iBooks Author. It's a specific tool for preparing eBooks for the iBooks store from source content files. It could have been implemented as a web-app on the author section of their iBooks Store. But a native app means they can make it better and give it more features.

You can imagine anything you like, but the two are not equivalent.

Re:Which was always obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38923657)

Apple doesn't charge for iBooks Author.

Yep. That explains why I'm not allowed to use the output from LibreOffice or AbiWord without their express written permission.

Or that when Netscape released Netscape Communicator for free back in the '90s, they wanted money from any website made using the built-in HTML editor.

No, wait. None of that is true.

This is just because Apple are controlling assholes.

Re:Which was always obvious. (4, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922929)

Somehow we're not supposed to still be outraged over this?

I'll compare two products: iBooks Author and Microsoft Office, Home Edition.

iBooks Author: It is free. The restriction is that documents in the native iBook format, created with iBooks Author, may not be sold for money except through Apple. Microsoft Office, Home Edition: It costs real money. The restriction is that no commercial use of the software is allowed.

Let's compare the licenses: iBooks Author is free, and it disallows one specific commercial use of the software: Selling documents in iBook format, created with iBooks Author, without going through Apple. Many other commercial uses are allowed, and so are all non-commercial uses. Microsoft Office, Home Edition: The software costs money, and it disallows _all_ commercial use of the software. So it is more expensive, and more restrictive.

Where were the complaints about Microsoft Office, Home Edition?

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922957)

Imagine if Microsoft said "here's a cheap student version of visual studio. But if you want to develop commercial applications with it, you need to buy the more expensive version." You don't have to imagine since they used to do that.

Ok, imagine if the FSF said "here's a FREE yacc replacement. We call it bison. Oh yeah, but if you use it, your output will be GPL". You don't have to imagine since they used to do that.

Ok, let's imagine Microsoft did as you said. Well, I wouldn't use .docx files. So if it bothers you, don't use .ibook files.

Re:Which was always obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925147)

Another example: Sony PS3 dev kit, Sony gets to distribute the binaries produced.

Re:Which was always obvious. (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38924183)

Thumbs up for those who screamed (weblogs, media, news) until Apple was forced to clarify the license. However it is still not acceptable.

By reading this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38922481)

By reading this fRiSt PsOOT you agree to give Apple all rights to retain and distribute future posts.

way to mis-summarise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38922489)

The term implies that you cannot distribute using the .ibooks format, not that you cannot distribute the output of iBooks Author. I guess the term's as valid and enforceable as that sort of shrinkwrap term is valid and enforceable in your jurisdiction. IOW, what would be the damages, Apple? Would you sue someone for... the price of iBooks Author?

Of course, if you're using another package to create .ibooks files then you won't be agreeing to this EULA anyway. Otherwise it would be interesting to understand what sort of legal position Apple think they have which entitles them to restrict the third party creation of files in the .ibooks format.

Re:way to mis-summarise (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922565)

What are you talking about? The summary is clear that the EULA is about the .ibook format. It says "Apple is claiming rights to the .ibook format itself and not the content therein." The output of iBooks Author is an .ibook file.

Re:way to mis-summarise (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923139)

iBooks author can export as an .ibook file, pdf, or text. And it's an .iba while you're working on it.

Re:way to mis-summarise (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922585)

The term implies that you cannot distribute using the .ibooks format, not that you cannot distribute the output of iBooks Author.

Actually it's the combination of both.
"If you want to charge a fee for a work that includes files in the .ibooks format generated using iBooks Author..."

Which doesn't restrict you from using the iBooks format if it was generated with something other than iBooks Author.

Nor does it restrict you from using output from iBooks Author if it's in a format other than iBooks. For example iBooks author has an export as PDF feature. You'd be OK to sell that through some other store.

Re:way to mis-summarise (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922973)

Nor does it restrict you from using output from iBooks Author if it's in a format other than iBooks. For example iBooks author has an export as PDF feature. You'd be OK to sell that through some other store.

The most important case is this: You wouldn't create the contents of a book in iBoos Author. You would use a word processor, some graphics program, a camera to make photos or movies, a 3D design program etc. You would create all these assets, and then use iBooks Author to create a book that looks really good on an iPad. You would then take the same assets and find some software to create a book that looks as great as you can manage on other devices. The panicky claims that were made were that the second use wouldn't be allowed - obviously ridiculous, but now it is clarified.

Unreal (2)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922577)

I still find it absolutely mind-boggling that anyone thought Apple was claiming rights to the content...

Re:Unreal (0)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922689)

they just threw that out there to see if it could have had any chance to stick. If it would'a, then they'd turned around one day an said: "Haha! We own all the words now, so you must all shut the fuck up!"

Re:Unreal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925173)

No, they never did, except some reading-comprehension-challenged Apple-haters made claims to that effect. Everyone who commented before the clarification that were in any way experienced in the publishing trade said that even the original clause only applied to iBooks files produced by that software.

Re:Unreal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38923405)

I have this really cool idea for a flexible government: we have one law which says "the government can do whatever is good for the country at any time". I mean, it would be absolutely mind-boggling for anyone to think that the government would be claiming absolute power over the people - and insane to imagine that it might try to exercise that power.

Yes, rules should always be as general and as misinterpretable as possible. This will never be abused.

Clarification: (-1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922583)

Swallow this here black jizzum and I shall grant you popularity and gold.

Wow (2, Informative)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922609)

Apple has modified it in a software update to make clear that Apple is claiming rights to the .ibook format itself and not the content therein:

Bet the ball on this got rolling just after somebody in Cupertino read the knee-jerk comments on Slashdot.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38925039)

I doubt anyone at Apple gives two thirds of a flying fuck what anyone on Slashdot has to say. They're almost certainly more concerned with the reception their original license got from actual authors - you know, the articles that circulated for a day or two before Slashdot even posted the first article about it.

Worth noting (4, Informative)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922671)

It is worth noting that you can't export to standard EPUB3 file format, only to PDF. PDF is obviously non-interactive, while the EPUB3 standard would allow for most if not all of the interactive elements that can be created with iBooks Author.

Many argue that they are in their right to put that EULA, and that others have done it before (Microsoft's Word, for example). And they are absolutely right.
That does not mean, however, that this isn't a very greedy move - many even describe it as 'evil' - and just like it happened with Microsoft in the past, I can totally understand why.

Having a right to do something is not incompatible with being greedy or even evil.

A peek into .iba files and a comparison with epub files evidences that Apple deliberately re-designed and implemented features in order to make the ibooks file format incompatible with industry standards. Again, while they are fully in their right to do this, this should be worrying to anyone who appreciates healthy competition and doesn't enjoy Microsoft-like monopolies. Ironically, this has happened with Apple being a member of the International Digital Publishing Forum, who manage the EPUB standard.
(This really smells like embrace-extend-extinguish to me.)

Perhaps what bugs me the most is that in spite of all this, no-one (AFAIK) has taken the time to provide an alternative tool which allows to create interactive ePub documents just as easily. It seems to me that Apple was first to do this "properly" (as it usually happens), and in this case there is no technical reason why it could not have been created 1 or 2 years ago by other industry leaders - I have used iBooks Author and it isn't much more than a glorified presentation editor.

Re:Worth noting (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922803)

It's similar to what they did with FaceTime, isn't it? For that one I'm under the impression they extended XMPP. At least they didn't claim they were going to make it an open standard this time and then advertise heavily that it's only between Apple devices.

Re:Worth noting (2)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922851)

How is it greedy or evil if the authoring tool is "free" and that you are not required to sell the book for a price? The tool is offered "FREE" with certain terms and conditions and if you don't like it then don't use it.

I get the distinct impression that you have never written software for money because addition features like exporting to other formats costs money to develop and to test and maintain that code over time.

Re:Worth noting (1)

arose (644256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923525)

He explained exactly how this is designed to combat competition. It's only "free" inasmuch as it promotes iPad sales, it's not available for any other purpose.

Re:Worth noting (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922953)

It is a good business model -- on one end, they act as if they own the hardware they sell you by restricting the ways third parties can deliver their information goods and services to your apple-branded hardware; on the other end, they are getting a commission from the third parties who want to deliver content to you for the privilege.

It is profits all the way, eating at both the consumer and producer surplus ;)

Re:Worth noting (2)

frinkster (149158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923773)

A peek into .iba files and a comparison with epub files evidences that Apple deliberately re-designed and implemented features in order to make the ibooks file format incompatible with industry standards.

It's pretty amazing that someone can come to this conclusion based on a comparison of the output files. Really?

The iPad 2 has outstanding graphics performance compared to other tablets despite the graphics chip having similar or less processing power. They control both the hardware and software, allowing them to optimize the hell out of it.

In this case, Apple controls the file format, the display software, AND the display hardware. And your conclusion is that Apple deliberately redesigned and implemented features to make sure it was incompatible with industry standards? How about a performance comparison? Until proven otherwise, this is just Apple optimizing the hell out of it to get maximum performance on the iPad.

You know, being the anti-fanboy is just as bad as being the fanboy.

Re:Worth noting (4, Informative)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923903)

A peek into .iba files and a comparison with epub files evidences that Apple deliberately re-designed and implemented features in order to make the ibooks file format incompatible with industry standards.

Please point to any material released by Apple that advertises in any way that .ibook files are epub files in any way, shape or form. I'll wait.

Apple does not claim to be compatible with anything. This isn't a bait and switch. It's Apple releasing a proprietary tool for you to author a proprietary file format to be sold on a proprietary distribution platform to be consumed on proprietary devices. Nobody ever claimed otherwise. To the contrary, the EULA explicitly says so. What's there to complain about?

Oh, you were hoping for a selfless deed of good and Apple to release a great, free authoring tool for the epub format that would make the world a better place and cure cancer. I guess you were also hoping for the iPhone 5 instead of the 4S. Sorry to disappoint.

Re:Worth noting (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923971)

The iBooks format isn't encrypted. They didn't even make a pretense of protecting the contents. It's more likely they extended epub3 because they wanted some extra features. I'm sure calibre will have a converter for you in no time.

Re:Worth noting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38924569)

A peek into .iba files and a comparison with epub files evidences that Apple deliberately re-designed and implemented features in order to make the ibooks file format incompatible with industry standards.

Mmm, not really. It's more like Apple took an industry standard, followed it fairly closely, then tweaked it to add some features, and hid it behind a pretty package. Then it advertised it as a "All-new, revolutionary, innovative, one-of-a-kind means for distributing books that has no relation whatsoever to any existing formats, which are totally inferior and unworthy of comparison. Really.."

(This really smells like embrace-extend-extinguish to me.)

Then you don't know how EEE works. EEE is a tactic to dilute a standard from within.

This is more like ignore-extend-extinguish. It would be EEE if Apple claimed that iBooks were ePubs. Apple is not claiming to support ePub, does not even mention ePub, and probably hopes consumers aren't aware of ePub.

Perhaps what bugs me the most is that in spite of all this, no-one (AFAIK) has taken the time to provide an alternative tool which allows to create interactive ePub documents just as easily.

This is the real issue. Apple created and advertised a proprietary tool to create proprietary content for its proprietary store. That's all this is. Apple is betting that competing authoring tools, formats, and stores will remain too confusing to figure out, and that will drive customers to the walled garden.

This doesn't address it at all. Still ridiculous. (1)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38922987)

It's still equivalent to saying that if I make a PDF with Adobe Acrobat that I can only distribute it through Adobe's services. Or that I write a Word DOC that can only be hosted on a Microsoft service.

Proprietary formats already have deeply annoying lock-in, this is taking it one step too far.

Re:This doesn't address it at all. Still ridiculou (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38923721)

Isn't this the same as the complaints about the GPL being too restrictive? You're offered a tool that is free as long as you abide by the license (no option for a paid version with fewer restrictions for this tool). If you don't like the restrictions, don't use the tool. Big deal.

Sure, there are a lot of differences... (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38924931)

Isn't this the same as the complaints about the GPL being too restrictive? You're offered a tool that is free as long as you abide by the license (no option for a paid version with fewer restrictions for this tool). If you don't like the restrictions, don't use the tool. Big deal.

There are a lot of differences between a piece of software licensed under the GPL and under this license from Apple. Things like who can create or distribute derivative works, restrictions on what you can produce using the tool, what you can do with the tool (e.g. share it, copy it), and where you distribute the output.

But let's make this really simple. Here's the big difference:

The license from Apple was designed to retain control over both the software and the content created with the software, and to place that control in the hands of Apple. I mean, that's what it's saying, right?

The license from Apple wasn't designed to empower the content creator. It wasn't designed to empower the content consumer. It was designed by a profit-driven corporation (Apple) to create and establish a locked-in market of creators and users that would be tied to Apple's software and Apple's market.

And oh wait, did I mention that Apple wants to do this with our education system? With our textbooks? Who in their right mind would think it was a good idea to put more restrictions on that?

The GPL was designed as a clever hack on copyright to empower people to create and share software and to empower the recipients of GPL-licensed software to share the original software and derivative works thereof in a "share-alike" commons. It was specifically designed to pass along to end users (who might also be creators/modifiers) the rights necessary for them to share and distribute their work, and making sure that they retain those rights, even if the upstream authors "change their minds" and wish later to rescind distribution rights based on use purpose, distribution mechanism, etc...

I mean, look: Apple might be a powerful and well-staffed company. And it might make amazing tools in both hardware and software, but the question I think that we all need to be asking ourselves is whether it's ethical to support a company that is encouraging people to create their own content in a manner that prevents them from distributing that content without a permission slip from Apple. And it doesn't just stop there -- is the IBA file format even open at all? Is Apple going to sue us if we try to write/read the file format without using their software under their terms?

How about this: If any big company wants to create a new file format, they publish a spec of the file format, along with a copyright/patent license, somewhere easy-to-find on their website. Someplace like www.big-company.com/fileformats/newformat/v1/{format_v1.blah, format_v1_license.blah, ..} would be nice, but I'd settle for just a few docs that could be (1) indexed by google, (2) slurped up by archive.org.

Microsoft Word, Home Edition (1)

Brannon (221550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38924605)

is legally restricted to not be used for commercial purposes--in nearly exactly the same way that iBook Author is. I assume you are going to start protesting that now?

Re:Microsoft Word, Home Edition (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925019)

is legally restricted to not be used for commercial purposes--in nearly exactly the same way that iBook Author is. I assume you are going to start protesting that now?

That's actually a very interesting question! I assume that the restrictions on the "Home edition" software (let's shorten it to "HE") is on the software, not the resultant files. These kinds of restrictions (you might see one from your ISP or your phone company somewhere in their litterature) are often just to restrict people from using the software, the service, or the physical object (e.g. a hand mixer or a stove) in a commercial setting.

The general idea with most of these restrictions is that the given service (e.g. a long-distance phone plan) or the given hardware (e.g. a blender) is designed to be lightly used by a home user. If someone takes a blender designed for a few smoothies every third week and puts it in a bar, the motor might not last a day. If you get a long-distance plan and use it for work, you might be on that phone circuit for 6 hours a day, 6 days a week!

Similarly, Microsoft distributes the HE software as a kind of "Word lite" for end-users who aren't going to need all of the features of the full version of MS-Word. As a method of making it cheaper for families (or for OEMs to put onto computers targeted for the home), the software is restricted so that it can't be used commercially -- in a business. I'd have to see the exact license terms to be sure, but that's roughly my guess as to what that's about.

Now I think the whole thing is just kind of silly. I mean, install LibreOffice on the computer and be done with it. Use the same software on Dad's laptop, little Bobby's drool-proof tablet, and Mom's 8-core gaming rig. But most people don't understand that there's an alternative...

Re:This doesn't address it at all. Still ridiculou (2)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925167)

It's equivalent to saying that if you want to sell an iBook on the Apple iBook store to be consumed on Apple iDevices, you may use this tool. That's the purpose of this file format and authoring tool. The purpose is not to create a new interoperable format. It's equivalent to saying that if you want to program a widget for the HyperFridge 3000, you have to learn and write it in VisiFoo++ 3.4 and compile it to ProprietyARMBinaryCode 25E, which will only run on HyperFridge compatible devices. The EULA is limiting because the purpose of the tool is limited.

Just use PDF (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38923625)

Whats the hubub over fancy document formats which reinvent the wheel. Compressed postscript is fine.

Re:Just use PDF (1)

Sneeka2 (782894) | more than 2 years ago | (#38925201)

Oh, because A4 page sized content works so well on postcard sized screens and vice versa...

What we need ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38924069)

We need a converter to get .ibook to EPUB. If the InDesign upgrade adds everything Author does then I'm happy but the odds of that are zero. I'd be less concerned but they don't support iPhone or Portrait mode. If I could get the files open in InDesign I could potentially add that support so long as it didn't break the structure of the .ibook file. Unfortunately even Sigil doesn't support it so there's zero tweaking of the files. I'm guessing we are a year away from Author doing all the basics like iPhone and Portrait support. The rest is getting close.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...