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Apple clarifies iBooks Author license, does not claim rights to content

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Apple attempted to head off a minor controversy surrounding iBooks Author by clarifying that it does not claim ownership of the content authors write, restricting only sales of its .ibooks format.

Apple's iBooks Author lets publishers quickly lay out existing text and add dynamic elements to produce interactive books. The application was created principally to address the textbook market, but can be used for any type of interactive book, creating .ibooks files that can be used on the iPad with Apple's iBooks 2 app.

iBooks Author can also be used to generate standard PDF documents, but those don't include live interactive elements, a feature that requires the browser-like HTML, CSS and JavaScript rendering of iBooks 2.




We don't own your content, we own our format

In the initial release, Apple's iBooks Author license stated:

"(i)if your Work is provided for free (at no charge), you may distribute the Work by any available means;
(ii) 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 and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions: (a) you will be required to enter into a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary) before any commercial distribution of your Work may take place; and (b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution."

However some jumped to the conclusion that Apple was attempting to claim ownership of publisher's content, and stipulating that they could not sell their content on competing stores or for alternative ebook reader systems.

Apple has clarified the language in the license to indicate that its claims relate to the .ibooks format, which adds supporting technology to the author's content to enable interactive playback of various "widget" elements. The license now reads:

"If you want to charge a fee for a work that includes files in the .ibooks format generated using iBooks Author, you may only sell or distribute such work through Apple, and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple. This restriction does not apply to the content of such works when distributed in a form that does not include files in the .ibooks format."

Unchanged in the license is the idea that authors who produce iBooks can distribute them for free any way they choose, which could include posting them on a website or distributing them via file sharing networks. Apple does not allow commercial distribution of its works in a way that would benefit third party stores at the expense of Apple, which designed the software and offers it for free.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 26
Good News... and one can only hope that Apple will see fit to offer less-expensive iPads to the EDU market (US 250.00 would be near-ideal) so that we can see the true value of this effort.
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post #3 of 26
Im sure some people would rather Apple charged pro-level bucks for the iBooks Author tool, and then didnt demand any cut of sales. But thats not how Apple chose to charge for this, so those people will have to look at other tools... or just use iBooks Author for free but not use the .ibooks format. Then they can sell any way they like.
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Good News... and one can only hope that Apple will see fit to offer less-expensive iPads to the EDU market (US 250.00 would be near-ideal) so that we can see the true value of this effort.

I believe we will see that price-point achieved soon, and cheaper still down the road. (I would NOT want to be selling competing PCs right now!)
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Im sure some people would rather Apple charged pro-level bucks for the iBooks Author tool, and then didnt demand any cut of sales. But thats not how Apple chose to charge for this, so those people will have to look at other tools... or just use iBooks Author for free but not use the .ibooks format. Then they can sell any way they like.

What iBooks Author does is only valuable in the iBooks format. You can poop out a PDF you can view on a Kindle, but that's not interactive or very useful, no dictionary, no interactive images, models or widgets. What would be the point? Would be better to generate raw HTML and convert that into the proprietary Kindle format, which at least the Kindle can search.

There's no real way to use the "value" of iBooks Author without iBooks. Apple just doesn't want Amazon selling iBooks that Apple helped create. It wants a cut.

That said, if Amazon or Google or anyone else reverse engineered an iBooks render app that could play iBooks, Apple couldn't really restrict anyone from distributing iBooks for free to non-Apple iBooks player apps on other platforms.

But without a business model, who would bother to do that? Neither Amazon nor Google even offer support open podcasts, because there's no easy money in it. They have the same reason to ignore iBooks. All it does for Amazon is make their static Kindle books look bad, and all it does for Google is give people a reason to by Android (but Google doesn't even care enough about apps, podcasts or anything else to make those work well on Android, so why would it take on ibooks?)
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

That said, if Amazon or Google or anyone else reverse engineered an iBooks render app that could play iBooks, Apple couldn't really restrict anyone from distributing iBooks for free to non-Apple iBooks player apps on other platforms.)

When that happens or when Adobe creates an authoring app and I suspect it will be fairly quickly, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Apple has some patents and legal IP that could be used to prevent the sale of such iBook format generators. Perhaps even prevent free authoring applications from being distributed as well.

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post #7 of 26
What Apple is saying is still getting distorted. For instance, this statement from the article, which sounds like it comes from Apple--"We don't own your content, we own our format."--isn't in the license and makes no sense.

Apple would have trouble claiming to own the format itself, since it's just a non-standard version of epub. What they're claiming is control over is the commercial use of the content in the format generated by iBooks Author. I'm not sure there are any legal parallels to that "if it passes through our product, we have control of it" claim, particularly when that control includes a 30% slice of the income. Keep in mind that 30% of retail is far more than an author gets from the sale of a book he may have worked on for years.

For a parallel, imagine Adobe claiming that any PDF generated by Acrobat Pro could only be: 1. given away or 2. Sold through Adobe's own store. That's what Apple is claiming in its software license. They're saying that you can't run your own online bookstore and sell ibooks formatted ebooks to be sideloaded on to iPads, bypassing Apple's 30% slice. And you could certainly do that if you wanted to give up DRM.

To my knowledge, no other software maker is making that claim for its application. The saved output of a Word app is yours to do with as you please. The saved output of InDesign is yours to do with as you please. Only Apple is claiming a right to block any commercial use of the output of their app outside their store.

Keep in mind two other impacts of this license claim.

1. You have a book intended for a limited set of professionals whose contents can't be released to the general public. (Think details on bomb making or dangerous biologicals.) You must sell it to recoup your costs. You don't want to sell it on the iBookstore, where anyone can get it. You only want to sell it to a carefully vetted group of professionals. This license agreement claims that would be illegal.

2. You've got a book that you have spent quite a bit of money developing. Apple, for some reason that they will not explain, refuses to allow it on the iBookstore. You have customers who want to buy it and could easily sell and distribute it to them via an online store. This license prohibits that.

In essence, what Apple is claiming with this license agreement is the right to control any commercially available ebook generated by IBA and viewed by their iBooks app. That's not quite censorship, but it is darn close.

That said, you can bypass still Apple by creating a book that can be read by non-Apple reader apps, assuming Apple lets them be installed on an iPad.

This hints at two major characteristics of Apple's corporate culture:

1. It's obsession with control derived from Steve Jobs.

2. It's growing addiction to income derived not from hardware or software sales but as a gatekeeper to its own products from others who have done the work of creating and making. That's both apps stores, that's locked iPhones with a subsidy to Apple even after the phone is paid off, that's ebooks in this format, that's their absurd demand for a 30% slice for in-app linking.

In short, Apple wants to make money, not just from what they create and make, but from what others create and make merely because it passes through one of their products (here IBA) or ends up on one of their iDevices. It really is like Ford demanding a slice of the income you make from a moving business using Ford trucks.

That's what should have writers outraged. Apple doesn't want to own your copyright. They simply want to grab a hefty 30% slice of any money you make from it. And that simply because the app or ebook spends a few seconds passing from their hard drives through their servers to your customers.

That's what Apple is really doing, profiting enormously and unjustifiably from the creativity and sweat of others and blocking, in every way possible, every attempt to bypass their 30% tax.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

In short, Apple wants to make money, not just from what they create and make, but from what others create and make merely because it passes through one of their products (here IBA) or ends up on one of their iDevices. It really is like Ford demanding a slice of the income you make from a moving business using Ford trucks.

That's what should have writers outraged. Apple doesn't want to own your copyright. They simply want to grab a hefty 30% slice of any money you make from it. And that simply because the app or ebook spends a few seconds passing from their hard drives through their servers to your customers.

That's what Apple is really doing, profiting enormously and unjustifiably from the creativity and sweat of others and blocking, in every way possible, every attempt to bypass their 30% tax.

There a couple very significant facts which you have not taken account of in your complaint against Apple.

1) APPLE DON'T CHARGE FOR iBOOK AUTHOR

2) NOBODY IS FORCED TO USE iBOOK AUTHOR.

However ,if you do use Apple's free software to author your book and you want to charge for your work, then you can only do that through Apple.

FAIR DINKUM as the Aussies would say.

If you don't want abide by Apple's conditions then don't use their free software, Use somebody else's software. End Of.

By the way. You seem to think Apple "30% tax" is unfair. But what you forget is that the writer using iBook Author gets up to 70% of every sale, compared with only a tiny percentage if the book is published conventionally, where the publisher takes the lions share!

Many authors are going to make a lot of money using iBook Author and Apple's distribution system. Good luck to them!
post #9 of 26
Apple shouldn't have had to clarify this. It was obvious from day one. Anyone who actually thought Apple would own the content of authors' books is an idiot.
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

They're saying that you can't run your own online bookstore and sell ibooks formatted ebooks to be sideloaded on to iPads, bypassing Apple's 30% slice. And you could certainly do that if you wanted to give up DRM.

I think they are being quite reasonable by allowing you to use the program free of charge to create free documents delivered outside of the iBooks store. Yes they are controlling the store and rightly so. If just anyone could sell their books through the Apple store then Apple would be blamed for allowing the content when other people found it objectionable.

As far as DRM, apple is not going to give you free access to their proprietary DRM. Keep in mind that Apple is characterizing this application as a text book authoring platform for k-12, not a universal iBook creation tool. I understand why they want to keep as clean and morally acceptable as possible. The customers are the boards of education. They want this to become the standard. If they allow it to become polluted it will not meet the requirements or expectations of educators.

You can do what you like outside of the Apple sanctioned method but they are not going to allow the disruption of their plan to digitize the text book industry. Sure they make money but they are also providing a very valuable service.

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post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

Apple would have trouble claiming to own the format itself, since it's just a non-standard version of epub. What they're claiming is control over is the commercial use of the content in the format generated by iBooks Author. I'm not sure there are any legal parallels to that "if it passes through our product, we have control of it" claim, particularly when that control includes a 30% slice of the income. Keep in mind that 30% of retail is far more than an author gets from the sale of a book he may have worked on for years.

The author gets 70%. No distribution fees. No hosting fees. No credit card fees. No printing fees. If the author does it him/her self no publisher fees.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

For a parallel, imagine Adobe claiming that any PDF generated by Acrobat Pro could only be: 1. given away or 2. Sold through Adobe's own store. That's what Apple is claiming in its software license. They're saying that you can't run your own online bookstore and sell ibooks formatted ebooks to be sideloaded on to iPads, bypassing Apple's 30% slice. And you could certainly do that if you wanted to give up DRM.

There was a time where you has to buy acrobat to create PDFs. There was also a time where u couldn't make PDFs outside of acrobat. iBook author is free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

To my knowledge, no other software maker is making that claim for its application. The saved output of a Word app is yours to do with as you please. The saved output of InDesign is yours to do with as you please. Only Apple is claiming a right to block any commercial use of the output of their app outside their store.

Actually in Office student/home edition, the license agreement stated you couldn't
use it for commercial businesses. Oh and iBooks author is free. Office isn't.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

In short, Apple wants to make money, not just from what they create and make, but from what others create and make merely because it passes through one of their products (here IBA) or ends up on one of their iDevices. It really is like Ford demanding a slice of the income you make from a moving business using Ford trucks.

It's not like that at all, because, in short, Ford is not likely to be giving away Ford trucks to people that want to start moving businesses any time soon.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Secular Investor View Post

There a couple very significant facts which you have not taken account of in your complaint against Apple.

1) APPLE DON'T CHARGE FOR iBOOK AUTHOR

2) NOBODY IS FORCED TO USE iBOOK AUTHOR.

However ,if you do use Apple's free software to author your book and you want to charge for your work, then you can only do that through Apple.

FAIR DINKUM as the Aussies would say.

If you don't want abide by Apple's conditions then don't use their free software, Use somebody else's software. End Of.

By the way. You seem to think Apple "30% tax" is unfair. But what you forget is that the writer using iBook Author gets up to 70% of every sale, compared with only a tiny percentage if the book is published conventionally, where the publisher takes the lions share!

Many authors are going to make a lot of money using iBook Author and Apple's distribution system. Good luck to them!

Precisely. And I would add as a corollary to the bolded phrase above, that the 30% paid to Apple buys access to the following:


(225 million accounts with credit cards)
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

That's what should have writers outraged. Apple doesn't want to own your copyright. They simply want to grab a hefty 30% slice of any money you make from it. And that simply because the app or ebook spends a few seconds passing from their hard drives through their servers to your customers.

That's what Apple is really doing, profiting enormously and unjustifiably from the creativity and sweat of others and blocking, in every way possible, every attempt to bypass their 30% tax.

Obviously you know nothing about the publishing industry. 30%?!?!?! If I as an author could make 30% of the profit today, i would be the happiest man alive. Authors typically get in the low single digits. If you are a top seller you _might_ get closer to 10%.
post #15 of 26
And here I thought this news would end the crying over iBooks Author being created to make iBooks. Silly me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

I’m sure some people would rather Apple charged pro-level bucks for the iBooks Author tool, and then didn’t demand any cut of sales. But that’s not how Apple chose to charge for this, so those people will have to look at other tools... or just use iBooks Author for free but not use the .ibooks format. Then they can sell any way they like.

I don't follow. They take a cut of iBookstore content regardless of where it was made. Are you suggesting they should charge for the software but not the service of online distribution? No one does that. All the paid apps for creating books are separate from the stores that charge you for distribution.

If you are suggesting that Apple make the app work for general EPUB distribution thus charging a price like Adobe, then you are suggesting Apple remove all the features that they are well beyond what EPUB can offer.

Clearly the point of iBooks Author is to make iBooks for the iPad. The beauty is that it can be made by anyone and distributed by anyone. I made one and have given to many people via email. Apple gets nothing and they instal into iBooks from the email attachment. It's pretty slick.

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post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullhead View Post

Obviously you know nothing about the publishing industry. 30%?!?!?! If I as an author could make 30% of the profit today, i would be the happiest man alive. Authors typically get in the low single digits. If you are a top seller you _might_ get closer to 10%.

Right, and even if you are self-publishing, the retailers will probably end up making more money per copy of your book than you will, after your printing costs. That 70/30 split sounds pretty attractive to most self-publishers, especially since the production costs are essentially nil.
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post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Good News... and one can only hope that Apple will see fit to offer less-expensive iPads to the EDU market (US 250.00 would be near-ideal) so that we can see the true value of this effort.

That would mean Apple selling the devices at a loss. Not going to happen.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

That's what Apple is really doing, profiting enormously and unjustifiably from the creativity and sweat of others and blocking, in every way possible, every attempt to bypass their 30% tax.

Seriously? My step mom wrote two of the most used high school text books in the State I live. The first time she obtained a flat twenty thousand dollars. No residuals. The book has been in use for fifteen years, and has sold hundreds of thousands of copies at about fifty dollars a pop. That is a common arrangement. She got a little lucky recently and was commissioned to author a competing text book. Again she gets a similar flat fee. About a dollar residual per book. This time she also managed to obtain the right to be able to revise new editions (This privilege isn't common). The book will be similarly priced as the first one she wrote.

With Apple's system, the author gets to keep 70 percent, while Apple keeps a mere 30 percent for creating and maintaining the delivery, payment, and marketing system. Textbook authors never had it so good.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

<Snip...>
That's what Apple is really doing, profiting enormously and unjustifiably from the creativity and sweat of others and blocking, in every way possible, every attempt to bypass their 30% tax.

One could believe such as you OR one could see the 30% fee as EMPOWERMENT to the masses. Apple breaks the mold that publishers had over authors. Apple's 30% is cheaper than main stream distribution when comparing what Apple offers the author for his 30%. You get a global mass market in the 100s of millions, no work after creating the book, and get to keep 70%, which is far more money than you would have made if the main stream publishers sold it for you.

Just the empowerment is worth Apple's fee to me. Since more people with a creative thought are rejected by main stream publishers.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

What Apple is saying is still getting distorted. For instance, this statement from the article, which sounds like it comes from Apple--"We don't own your content, we own our format."--isn't in the license and makes no sense.

Apple would have trouble claiming to own the format itself, since it's just a non-standard version of epub. What they're claiming is control over is the commercial use of the content in the format generated by iBooks Author. I'm not sure there are any legal parallels to that "if it passes through our product, we have control of it" claim, particularly when that control includes a 30% slice of the income. Keep in mind that 30% of retail is far more than an author gets from the sale of a book he may have worked on for years.

For a parallel, imagine Adobe claiming that any PDF generated by Acrobat Pro could only be: 1. given away or 2. Sold through Adobe's own store. That's what Apple is claiming in its software license. They're saying that you can't run your own online bookstore and sell ibooks formatted ebooks to be sideloaded on to iPads, bypassing Apple's 30% slice. And you could certainly do that if you wanted to give up DRM.

To my knowledge, no other software maker is making that claim for its application. The saved output of a Word app is yours to do with as you please. The saved output of InDesign is yours to do with as you please. Only Apple is claiming a right to block any commercial use of the output of their app outside their store.

Keep in mind two other impacts of this license claim.

1. You have a book intended for a limited set of professionals whose contents can't be released to the general public. (Think details on bomb making or dangerous biologicals.) You must sell it to recoup your costs. You don't want to sell it on the iBookstore, where anyone can get it. You only want to sell it to a carefully vetted group of professionals. This license agreement claims that would be illegal.

2. You've got a book that you have spent quite a bit of money developing. Apple, for some reason that they will not explain, refuses to allow it on the iBookstore. You have customers who want to buy it and could easily sell and distribute it to them via an online store. This license prohibits that.

In essence, what Apple is claiming with this license agreement is the right to control any commercially available ebook generated by IBA and viewed by their iBooks app. That's not quite censorship, but it is darn close.

That said, you can bypass still Apple by creating a book that can be read by non-Apple reader apps, assuming Apple lets them be installed on an iPad.

This hints at two major characteristics of Apple's corporate culture:

1. It's obsession with control derived from Steve Jobs.

2. It's growing addiction to income derived not from hardware or software sales but as a gatekeeper to its own products from others who have done the work of creating and making. That's both apps stores, that's locked iPhones with a subsidy to Apple even after the phone is paid off, that's ebooks in this format, that's their absurd demand for a 30% slice for in-app linking.

In short, Apple wants to make money, not just from what they create and make, but from what others create and make merely because it passes through one of their products (here IBA) or ends up on one of their iDevices. It really is like Ford demanding a slice of the income you make from a moving business using Ford trucks.

That's what should have writers outraged. Apple doesn't want to own your copyright. They simply want to grab a hefty 30% slice of any money you make from it. And that simply because the app or ebook spends a few seconds passing from their hard drives through their servers to your customers.

That's what Apple is really doing, profiting enormously and unjustifiably from the creativity and sweat of others and blocking, in every way possible, every attempt to bypass their 30% tax.


I hope you don't really believe the BS you wrote because I find it hard to believe anyone could be so misinformed.

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post #21 of 26
Well, I'm glad thats all cleared up!
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

There's no real way to use the "value" of iBooks Author without iBooks. Apple just doesn't want Amazon selling iBooks that Apple helped create. It wants a cut.

So use the authoring tools Amazon provides to make books to sell in their store or the tools Google provides to make books to sell in their store.

In other words harden up and quit with the whining.
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post #23 of 26
As I remember, its an USD 8 Billion/yr industry (per Mr.Jobs himself)? So, even if I assume 10% of these text books are to be iBooks in future (which I'm sure would be more than this), 30% of 10% *8B is a good amount for a s/w provided to masses for free.
I may be a kiddo not to understand the market dynamics, but the world's top online book seller makes a quarterly profit of just $177m, that includes selling of paperback+digital text books plus everything else. Do they take a big 30% of the cut? and Apple's 30% cut to people seem to be very small.

And with Apple having an expert team of legal counsels sitting there, I dont think their original EULA would have been a mistake. Its just when they would have seen not much interest from the terrified books publishers of this EULA, could have triggered the new tweak. What if Final Cut Pro tomorrow comes with a discount but the video could only be played on Apple devices?
I could mostly find Apple justifiers in this forum, who always have selective views on what ever is posted.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Realistic View Post

I hope you don't really believe the BS you wrote because I find it hard to believe anyone could be so misinformed.

Exactly!

I also like to know where I can signup like him/her. It looks easy money. Just write some BS against Apple and collect the check. No matter how ignorant you are, I don't believe anyone can be ignorant enough to wirte this.
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

...To my knowledge, no other software maker is making that claim for its application. The saved output of a Word app is yours to do with as you please. The saved output of InDesign is yours to do with as you please. Only Apple is claiming a right to block any commercial use of the output of their app outside their store...

The difference is that you have to purchase Acrobat Pro, Microsoft Office, and InDesign. If Apple charged for the content creation software, then it would be wrong for them also to limit the distribution of the created content.

Tom
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by icoco3 View Post

The difference is that you have to purchase Acrobat Pro, Microsoft Office, and InDesign. If Apple charged for the content creation software, then it would be wrong for them also to limit the distribution of the created content.

And that's even moot, since Apple isn't limiting the distribution of the content.
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