Apple tweaks fine print behind iBooks Author software

Apple has changed a controversial section of its iBooks Author end user license agreement, saying that users who want to sell outside of Apple's digital stores can do so, as long as they save in a different format.


Following controversy, Apple has made changes to the end user license agreement that binds its iBooks Author software.


The legal agreement sparked ire following the software's introduction last month for its stipulation that books that were created with the free software would have to be made available only through Apple's iBookstore if authors intended to charge for them.

In the new version of the software that went out to users this afternoon, the company has modified the original language to state that the only works subject to that rule are files in the .ibooks format, files that only open up for the company's iOS devices.

"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," the EULA now states.

"We updated the iBooks Author end user license agreement to clarify the terms for authors regarding content ownership and distribution," an Apple representative said in a statement.

So what types of files can users sell outside of Apple's stores if they've made them in the software? That leaves PDF and plain text, neither of which work with some of the extra features--like 3D objects, widgets, quizzes, and flash cards--that can be added to content created within the software.

Apple introduced its iBooks Author software at a private event last month alongside iBooks 2. The free software lets authors design digital versions of textbooks and other interactive titles for the iPad. It was launched in conjunction with the company's push to get textbook authors to create and distribute digital editions.

Shortly after its release, the licensing agreement came under fire from iOS and Mac developer Dan Wineman, who highlighted the section in question, comparing it to "Microsoft trying to restrict what people can do with Word documents, or Adobe declaring that if you use Photoshop to export a JPEG, you can't freely sell it to Getty." Today's update clarifies that.