Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Apple

Apple's iBooks EULA Drawing Ire 308

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the publish-and-perish dept.
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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple's iBooks EULA Drawing Ire

Comments Filter:
  • Next step (Score:5, Funny)

    by Skarecrow77 (1714214) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:15PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:18PM (#38811799)

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

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by hedwards (940851)

        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 (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:35PM (#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.

        • 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 f

          • Re:Ehhhhh, and? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:59PM (#38813091)

            The problem is that there isn't even a correlation there. That's 4 authors and how many other authors were largely sober? Neither William Shakespeare nor Agatha Christie are known for their drunken escapades and they're more published than anybody else.

      • by ozmanjusri (601766) <[aussie_bob] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:41PM (#38812151) Journal

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

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

      • by wierd_w (1375923)

        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.)

      • by jamstar7 (694492)
        Also, Hunter S Thompson. That man could write.
    • Re:Next step (Score:4, Interesting)

      by immaterial (1520413) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:21PM (#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.
    • by fusiongyro (55524)

      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 ignori

    • by Bieeanda (961632)
      Wow. Starbucks is really taking the piss now.
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Starbucks now claims exclusive distributorship rights for anything created while under the influence of their beverages.

      I flush most of that.

  • "of any worked created with it"? Really? Even the summary isn't in English now....

  • by killfixx (148785) * on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:20PM (#38811825) Journal

    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.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:29PM (#38811973)

      Publishing industry as usual.

    • by mark-t (151149)
      Sound approximately as legal as affiliate scammers that you see every so often in the job ads.
    • 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.

      • 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.

        Why can't it be legal? You can spend years toiling away at your electronic magnum opus only to have every other publisher reject your work. Apple is no different. Just because they give you a free bit of software to make the project does not require them to publish it. The US Constitution says nothing about guaranteed publishing rights on a specific platform.

    • by dangitman (862676)

      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.

      Except the author doesn't give up their copyright in any way when they publish through the iBookstore, or iTunes Store, or the App Store.

      Don't let facts get in the way of your your delusions, though.

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:29PM (#38811969)

    First entry up on google for self publishing epubs:

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

    They even do paper versions.
     

  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Myopic (18616) * on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:35PM (#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.

    • by kthreadd (1558445)

      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.

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        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.

  • Summary is wrong (Score:4, Informative)

    by guspasho (941623) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:38PM (#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.

    • by guspasho (941623)

      "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.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:25PM (#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!

  • 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.

  • Nonsensical (Score:4, Informative)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @06:47PM (#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!

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      ...and they say the GPL is viral.

      RMS has nothing on Apple Corp.

    • by sl149q (1537343)

      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.

    • 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.

  • by joh (27088) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:04PM (#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.

    • by 2short (466733)

      Apple claims some rights over what you make using their software. I know of no other software that does this, and the very idea strikes me as objectionable and worthy of ridicule, regardless of practical effect.

      I've not used the software, but your description suggests it's a stupidly trivial program that does almost nothing, so maybe it doesn't matter in practical terms. Then again, Apple bothered to add this clause to their EULA, so Apple thinks it matters.

      • I agree that Apple claiming they own the actual output is unprecedented, odd and disturbing.

        But it has no practical effect on the author. Everyone is up in arms because they are claiming is has the huge effect of being unable to sell your work through anyone else, which is simply not true.

        Actually though there is a real-world president. If you write a book for a traditional publisher you own the copyright but have NO ability to sell it elsewhere, or any control at all over it really. Far more heinous tha

      • by joh (27088)

        Apple claims some rights over what you make using their software. I know of no other software that does this, and the very idea strikes me as objectionable and worthy of ridicule, regardless of practical effect.

        I've not used the software, but your description suggests it's a stupidly trivial program that does almost nothing, so maybe it doesn't matter in practical terms. Then again, Apple bothered to add this clause to their EULA, so Apple thinks it matters.

        It's a fully integrated one-stop book writing, formatting and publishing app, from text to bookshelf in one app. I don't know if this counts as "trivial" in your book, but nobody else, especially Amazon, offers anything like it. Which is strange enough, actually, but there you are.

        I think basically Apple wants to make sure that nobody (like Amazon) tries to ride on Apple's back by just supporting the same format and features on a cheaper ebook reader and offering a slightly better cut for the author.

        You don

      • Apple claims some rights over what you make using their software. I know of no other software that does this, and the very idea strikes me as objectionable and worthy of ridicule, regardless of practical effect.

        Two examples: Metrowerks Codewarrior Compiler with Student license. You were not allowed to sell any software made with this compiler. Microsoft Office Home Edition. You are not allowed to use their software with this license for commercial use.

      • There are many, many software packages that restrict the use of their output. Look at the license of the Home & Student edition of Office 2010: you can't use the output for commercial purposes. Same with many packages that come in a free and for-pay version: the free version is non-commercial. The only difference here is that Apple hasn't (at least yet) offered a for-pay version without the restriction. Also consider that business tools are commonly used to restrict distribution as well. Amazon won't a
  • I don't care if its enforceable or not, as if they are really trying to force you to transfer ownership just for using their 'distribution channel' then shame on them.

    • But they're not. There's no transfer of ownership. You get to choose if you want to take advantage of the huge exposure of the iBooks Store. If so, you use Apple's free tool to create an interactive book format that works there. If not, don't. In either case, you can take that same content and use another tool to format it for a different store without restriction. The only thing you can't do is have your cake and eat it, too: take Apple's free tool and use it to create content for a competing store. It's a
  • by pacergh (882705) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @01:15AM (#38815501)

    Apple can't acquire your copyright except through written contract. To paint this as an attempt to 'steal' your copyright in the books you write is simply incorrect.

    Apple is merely trying to control how you distribute the files outputted by iBooks Author. This is done to try and keep up Apple's walled-garden approach.

    Apple's EULA clearly indicates that copyright in the work is retained by the owner. (Section 2.d of the license.)

    Apple's EULA still might not be cool, but it does not try and create an exclusive license. (And even if it did try, it fails.)

    A lengthier analysis can be found here: The iBooks Author EULA: What does it really mean? [lextechnologiae.com]

You have a tendency to feel you are superior to most computers.

Working...