Apple Clarifies iBooks Author Licensing Situation in New Software Update

ibooks author iconFollowing 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

BaldiMac Avatar
127 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.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nagromme Avatar
127 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.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wildog27 Avatar
127 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. </sarcasm>
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
griz Avatar
127 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.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thewitt Avatar
127 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. </sarcasm>
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...
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Vacheron Avatar
127 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"
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
tim cook spring loaded event

Gurman: Apple Planning Multiple Events for the Fall, M1X MacBook Pros to be Available by November

Sunday August 15, 2021 12:07 pm PDT by
Apple is planning to hold multiple events this fall, which will collectively include the launch of new iPhones, Apple Watches, updated AirPods, revamped iPad mini, and the redesigned MacBook Pros, according to respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. In his latest weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman says that much like last year, Apple will hold multiple events this coming fall, with the...
apple screen time screen icons

Persistent Kids Finding Loopholes in Apple's Screen Time Limits

Tuesday October 15, 2019 9:44 am PDT by
Apple is currently engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with persistent kids looking to circumvent Screen Time restrictions, but the company has been receiving some criticism for not moving quickly enough to lock down some of the loopholes, reports The Washington Post. A few of the loopholes and ways for parents to shut them down are documented on the site Protect Young Eyes, while these and...
anker lightning cable mfi

Unwrap a New Apple Device? Stock Up on Extra Certified Lightning Cables for as Little as $6

Monday December 25, 2017 5:45 am PST by
If you unwrapped an Apple product today it likely came with one of the company's first-party Lightning cables, but having an extra on hand is always a good idea, so you can place it in other rooms in your house, in your car, or in a bag when you travel. For that reason, now's a good time to shop for third-party Lightning cables that are cheaper than Apple's own accessory, but still Made For...
personal hotspot 1

Apple Acknowledges Personal Hotspot Issues Affecting Some iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Users

Saturday March 21, 2020 10:04 am PDT by
In an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has acknowledged that some iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 users may experience issues with Personal Hotspot. Apple has told Authorized Service Providers to expect customers who are unable to connect to a Personal Hotspot or experience frequent disconnection from one. Customers may also...
macos monterey safari beta 3

macOS Monterey Beta 3: Apple Redesigns Safari Tab Interface Following Complaints

Wednesday July 14, 2021 11:39 am PDT by
In the third developer beta of macOS Monterey, which came out this morning, Apple has overhauled the design of Safari, making the tab bar more similar to the current tab bar in macOS Big Sur. The prior Safari design did away with the dedicated URL and search interface, instead allowing any individual tab to be used for navigation input. Tabs were also all arranged at the top of the display...