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Apple’s mind-bogglingly greedy and evil license agreement | ZDNet

Posted on January 20th, 2012 at 9:41 by Desiato in category: Apple, News -- Write a comment


I read EULAs so you don’t have to. I’ve spent years reading end user license agreements, EULAs, looking for little gotchas or just trying to figure out what the agreement allows and doesn’t allow.

I have never seen a EULA as mind-bogglingly greedy and evil as Apple’s EULA for its new ebook authoring program.


Exactly: Imagine if Microsoft said you had to pay them 30% of your speaking fees if you used a PowerPoint deck in a speech.


The nightmare scenario under this agreement? You create a great work of staggering literary genius that you think you can sell for 5 or 10 bucks per copy. You craft it carefully in iBooks Author. You submit it to Apple. They reject it.

Under this license agreement, you are out of luck. They won’t sell it, and you can’t legally sell it elsewhere. You can give it away, but you can’t sell it.

The positive spin would be that this is exactly like the well-accepted iOS App Store: you’re gambling that Apple will accept your app(/book), and if they don’t then you’re completely out of luck as you have no other way to sell it without rewriting it entirely for another platform. It’s not as simple as copy/pasting text and pictures into another authoring tool if you’ve done anything interactive that involves iOS code.

You could also say “well, that’s what you give up to get iBooks Author for free.”

But is this the world we want to move into? Where Amazon controls whether you can continue to read the books you’ve bought from them? And where Apple can reject your work after months of effort and leave you stranded?

  1. What a surprise.

  2. “well, that’s what you give up to get iBooks Author for free.”


    iBooks Author can author in several formats. One of them is the iBook format. Another is pdf.

    If you want to receive money for this one format called iBook, you can only do it through Apple. If you want to receive money through the other formats, nobody is stopping you. If you want to give your iBook format away for free, nobody is stopping you.

    What you’re saying is that if you want to sell through Apple, you are forced to follow Apple’s rules. What a surprise.

    Well, don’t sell through Apple then. Use a non-iBook format, which is supported by iBooks Author.

  3. Your excerpt is a bit misleading though.
    It gives the impression that the actual book can’t be sold, not the book exported to the ibook format, when in fact only the .ibook format is limited from distribution.

    “By “it,” I am referring to the book, not the content. The program allows you to export your work as plain text, with all formatting stripped. So you do have the option to take the formatting work you did in iBooks Author, throw it away, and start over. That is a devastating potential limitation for an author/publisher. Outputting as PDF would preserve the formatting, but again the license would appear to prohibit you from selling that work, because it was generated by iBooks Author.”

  4. There’s good commentary on this on Daring Fireball. I buy the part of “if you make a profit from content produced with our tool, we want a cut”. The part that I think is bothersome is “but we get to decide whether or not you get to sell it AFTER you do a lot of work”.

  5. In any event, do they really deserve 30% of everything that flows through their portals?

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