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Apple Clarifies iBooks Author Licensing Situation in New Software Update

Following Apple's release of iBooks Author last month to support creation of iBooks Textbooks, significant controversy arose regarding the software's licensing, which specified that the output from the software could only be sold via the iBookstore and not any other marketplace.

Some confusion had resulted from Apple's language, with some believing that Apple was claiming rights to all content used in the production of the iBooks Textbooks, perhaps attempting to exclude books from being published in any other form.

Apple has now addressed the issue by releasing an update to iBooks Author that includes a modified licensing agreement to clarify that Apple claims rights only to the .ibooks document format itself, with authors being free to distribute their content in non-.ibooks formats however they wish.

One key clarification comes in the "important note" included at the beginning of the license agreement. Previously, the note read:
If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple.
Apple has now clarified the note to read:
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.
A second clarification comes in section 2B, which addresses distribution of works created using iBooks Author. Subsection (ii) previously read:
[I]f 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.
With the updated terms, Apple has reworded this section and added bold text addressing ownership of the original content:
[I]f the work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service) and includes files in the .ibooks format generated using iBooks Author, the work may only be distributed through Apple, and such distribution will be subject to a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary); provided, however, that this restriction will not apply to the content of the work when distributed in a form that does not include files in the .ibooks format generated using iBooks Author. You retain all your rights in the content of your works, and you may distribute such content by any means when it does not include files in the .ibooks format generated by iBooks Author.
iBooks Author 1.0.1 with the updated license agreement is a free download from the Mac App Store, but weighs in at the application's full size of roughly 140 MB.

Top Rated Comments

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35 months ago

And what about this ISN'T evil? Imagine if Microsoft claimed you could write anything you want in Word, but don't you dare try to sell it without converting it to PDF first. Better yet, what if Adobe tried to force you to sell your PDF only with their permission and on their own terms (and with a cut of the profits I might add)?

Step away from the cool-aid please.


Or imagine if Amazon only allowed their Kindle books to be sold through the Kindle Store.
Rating: 26 Votes
35 months ago

And what about this ISN'T evil? Imagine if Microsoft claimed you could write anything you want in Word, but don't you dare try to sell it without converting it to PDF first. Better yet, what if Adobe tried to force you to sell your PDF only with their permission and on their own terms (and with a cut of the profits I might add)?

Step away from the cool-aid please.


You mean, imagine if Microsoft supported the use of all kinds of word processors, and then decided to make their own too—Word—with innovative capabilities never before offered; and then gave Word away free, and the way they chose to charge for Word is by making you pay only IF you make money with it; and they made this very clear from the start, and had a very good, established system to make those sales happen; and some people loved this free system, but not everyone; and if you didn’t like the arrangement, you were free to skip Word and make your documents any other way you wanted; and even if you did choose another tool, Microsoft would still help you sell your document in their store if you wanted them to; and whether you sold your work through Microsoft or not, you could still also sell your document, made with Word, through any other means you wanted, as long as you exported a different format; or you could keep it in Word format, with all the new features, and give it away if you chose.

Shouldn’t Microsoft have the choice to release a great tool and charge for it how they like, and people can take it or leave it? Ditto for Apple, then.
Rating: 16 Votes
35 months ago
I'm sure all those commentators who kneejerked about Apple trying gain an evil monopoly over people's creations will retract them now.
Rating: 12 Votes
35 months ago

There. Now everyone is happy.


I'm happy, you're happy, but I imagine some people on this board are still mad.

"insert stupid foxconn comment from some idiot on this board here"
Rating: 10 Votes
35 months ago

I'm sure all those commentators who kneejerked about Apple trying gain an evil monopoly over people's creations will retract them now.


Never happen.....of course you knew that.

Even worse, they will continue to spread the lie they made up over their misinterpretation of the earlier language...
Rating: 10 Votes
35 months ago
Apple is perfectly entitled to restrict sale of books created in their format to their store. If you want to re-author your book using another tool, feel free to do so, distribute it in a different store and charge all you want for it. You can even use iBooks Author to make a PDF and sell it somewhere else.
They don't own the content. They do however own the tool they are giving you for free. They also own the format which they are granting a license to use. Don't like it? Use a different tool. You are free to do so.
Rating: 10 Votes
35 months ago

As much as I'd like for this to be true, I doubt. Somewhere someone will always bitch about something to do with Apple.

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Immediately followed by:

And what about this ISN'T evil? Imagine if Microsoft claimed you could write anything you want in Word, but don't you dare try to sell it without converting it to PDF first. Better yet, what if Adobe tried to force you to sell your PDF only with their permission and on their own terms (and with a cut of the profits I might add)?

Step away from the cool-aid please.


Yep! That didn't take long...
Rating: 9 Votes
35 months ago

And what about this ISN'T evil? Imagine if Microsoft claimed you could write anything you want in Word, but don't you dare try to sell it without converting it to PDF first. Better yet, what if Adobe tried to force you to sell your PDF only with their permission and on their own terms (and with a cut of the profits I might add)?

Step away from the cool-aid please.


Guess what, Microsoft is worse than you say. If you buy the home user edition of Microsoft money for $100 (not free like iBooks Author), the EULA says that the software cannot be used _for any commercial use_. That means, you can't sell it after converting it to PDF. You can't sell it at all. You cannot even give it away for free if that is for commercial use, like giving away brochures about your hotel or restaurant, if they were created with this version of office.

It would be completely fine for let's say a car manufacturer to produce all their repair and maintenance manuals with iBooks Author and give them to all their distributors and any garage that wants them for free. Clearly commercial use, but absolutely allowed.

It would not be fine for you to write a textbook with the home user edition of Microsoft Word, paste it into iBooks Author, and then sell it, because that would be commercial use which Microsoft doesn't allow.


Or imagine if Amazon only allowed their Kindle books to be sold through the Kindle Store.


Not just that. You are not allowed to produce a competing product (like the same contents in an iBooks Author created book) and sell it elsewhere, like on the AppStore. So if you plan to publish the same book both on Kindle and using iBooks Author on the AppStore, then Apple allows it, but Amazon doesn't.
Rating: 8 Votes
35 months ago

And what about this ISN'T evil? Imagine if Microsoft claimed you could write anything you want in Word, but don't you dare try to sell it without converting it to PDF first. Better yet, what if Adobe tried to force you to sell your PDF only with their permission and on their own terms (and with a cut of the profits I might add)?

Step away from the cool-aid please.


Waaaah waaaaah waaaaah. Mooomy! Apple won't give me great bookmaking software for free without expecting the finished products in their proprietary format to be required to be sold on their siiiiiiite! Waaaaaaaah!
Rating: 8 Votes
35 months ago
I can't believe the number of cry-babies on this site. If you don't like Apple's terms, use some other software and distribution system. Apple doesn't mandate the use of their products. It's called a free enterprise system.
Rating: 7 Votes

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