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.