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Books Software Apple Your Rights Online

Apple Clarifies iBooks Author Licensing 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."
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Apple Clarifies iBooks Author Licensing

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  • Wow (Score:3, Informative)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Friday February 03, 2012 @08:15PM (#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.

  • Worth noting (Score:5, Informative)

    by Superken7 ( 893292 ) on Friday February 03, 2012 @08:22PM (#38922671) Journal

    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.

  • by snowgirl ( 978879 ) on Friday February 03, 2012 @08:38PM (#38922825) Journal

    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...

  • by Karlt1 ( 231423 ) on Friday February 03, 2012 @09:25PM (#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] .

  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Friday February 03, 2012 @09:29PM (#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.

  • by snowgirl ( 978879 ) on Friday February 03, 2012 @09:39PM (#38923285) Journal

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, 2012 @10:45PM (#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:Worth noting (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sneeka2 ( 782894 ) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:22PM (#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.

  • by torako ( 532270 ) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @05:34AM (#38925405) Homepage

    This comparison doesn't hold. Microsoft extended HTML with their own tags and called the result HTML which was an attempt to force it into whatever direction Microsoft wanted it to go without going through standard bodies and while conveniently leaving other browsers behind.

    Apple on the other hand took the epub format and extended it but is very clear on the result not being an epub but a new proprietary format. They make this extremely clear by even defining a new MIME type and a file extension that is different.

Optimism is the content of small men in high places. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack Up"