Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is Apple Evil?

According to technology writer Ed Bott, he’s read many license agreements looking for the gotchas in the fine print. What he found in Apple’s license agreement for its new iBooks Author program caused him to call it “mind-bogglingly greedy and evil.”

The paragraph that most bothered him was this one:
Apple will not be responsible for any costs, expenses, damages, losses (including
without limitation lost business opportunities or lost profits) or other liabilities you may incur as a result of your use of this Apple Software, including without limitation the fact that your Work may not be selected for distribution by Apple.
He says this paragraph means that if you submit your book to Apple and they reject it, you can’t legally sell it anywhere, at least not in that form. In other words, you would have to throw away all the formatting you did in iBooks Author and re-format it. He goes so far as to say:
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.
Bott says he’ll be writing more on this topic, so if you want to follow him, check out his blog, The Ed Bott Report.

Thanks to James V. Lee and Timothy J. Bruce for emailing me about this article.


  1. That is evil. So months and months of hard work goes out the window becasue I submit (that word seems appropriate) to Apple? Yeah, that's greedy and evil.

    I also think Google is evil, but that another story.

  2. I'd like to hear Apple's response to his post.

  3. Apple has always been enormously proprietary with its software. I don't understand why anybody would want to use their software to format with in the first place. The biggest complaints I've heard about this so far is the vague wording in their contract. It will catch some authors unaware, if they don't do their homework.

  4. This is the second thing in a week that talks about Apple being evil. The first thing was that they have a slave labor operation I forget where. Makes me sad, if it's true.

  5. Lets just say I'm appalled at their business practices in this arena. Apparently, I'm not the only one. The European Commission launched an investigation to look into whether Apple and the big 5 publishers were in cahoots with anti-competitive practices.

    Apple didn't get where they are today by playing nice. As Laura points out, they've perfected art of proprietary rights to their products and look for ways to go after any competition that stands in their way.


  6. Well, I'm no lawyer (thank God) ... and I'm not even a very good reader (so sad), but I'm not sure I got the interpretation from that clause that Mr. Bott did ... but then, what the heck do I know?

  7. Evil or not, Apple is a very creative company when it comes to technology development.

    It seams like Apple and their competitors (Samsung) live with a kind of terror balance. Seams like they are in continuous legal conflicts, and sometimes calm down and license stuff from each other.

    Many electronic components in the Apple gadgets are produced by Samsung, so they should insist on putting a sticker with "Samsung Inside" on all Apple products >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  8. Saying that you can't use your Apple-created product anywhere else isn't any more evil than Amazon saying if you use KDP Select you can't market your ebooks anywhere else. Those required effort to create, too.
    I think we're going to see a major war between the two companies in the very near future.

  9. I guess you just have to understand that before jumping into the app.

  10. It's so wrong that they write this stuff in such a way that many of us without legal experience don't understand how limiting their agreements are. Why trick the little guy on purpose and to what greedy gain?

  11. I'm not even sure lawyers can figure out some of the legalese in this contract - and many others. Contracts with print publishers can be confusing, as well.


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