Apple’s iBooks Author EULA: What’s the Big Deal?


I've been following the heated discussion around the license agreement for Apple's new iBooks Author tool that lets budding publishers create their own iBooks for Apple iBookstore. Apple basically says that if you create an eBook for the iBookstore with the app, you can't take the iBook file you created with the tool (or the PDF file, for that matter) and sell it somewhere else. Given that the iBook file you export from the iBooks Author is DRM free, this, in practice, means you can't sell the file on your own site, for example.

I can see why some people wouldn't like that, but at the end of the day, it's not a big deal either (especially given that you can give away free versions of you book without DRM and outside of Apple's channels).

What Does the EULA Really Say?

Apple's EULA for the app says the following:

B. Distribution of your Work. As a condition of this License and provided you are in compliance with its terms, your Work may be distributed as follows:

(i) if your Work is provided for free (at no charge), you may distribute the Work by any available means;

(ii) if 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.

At first blush, this sounds similar to Microsoft saying that the novel you wrote in Word can only be sold in the Microsoft Store. The reality is different, though. Apple doesn't claim any ownership of the content you put into iBooks Author. The text remains yours (though the good folks at Gizmodo seem to think differently).

Your Content is Yours – Sell it Wherever You Want To

Apple clearly defines 'work' as "any book or other work you generate using this software." It's the book Apple cares about – the final product the program generates, not the content you put into it.

iBooks Author is, in the end, just a tool for laying out your content so it looks nice on the iPad. Nobody is stopping any author or publisher from using another tool to sell the same content on another platform.

Apple is making a free piece of software available that allows you to create books for the iBookstore. Your content remains yours, even after you start selling the book in the iBookstore. So what's the big deal again?

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Hulu Now Has 1.5 Million Paying Subscribers, Promises to Invest $500 Million in Content in 2012


Hulu just released its year-end data for 2011 and the numbers are pretty good. The streaming video company, which mostly focusses on recent TV shows, made about $420 in revenue lat year. This is up 60% from last year and exceeded the company's own projections. Its paid service, Hulu Plus, now has 1.5 million subscribers and the number of paying subscribers continues to grow.

According to the company's own data, the number of new subscribers it attracts every day is currently double the number it attracted last year. If this trend continues, Hulu will likely have close to 2.5 million subscribers by this time next year.

Maybe most importantly for current subscribers, Hulu also expects to invest "approximately half a billion in content in 2012." This – hopefully – means that the service's lineup of shows will continue to expand. Given that the traditional cable and broadcasting networks continue to be weary of Hulu and similar online services, it remains to be seen what effect this money will have on the content offerings on the service (especially if they decide to jack up their prices).


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Google Doesn’t Do Content: Brings its Think Quarterly Magazine to U.S.


Google quietly launched Think Quarterly – a glossy print and digital magazine for its clients and partners in the U.K. – a few months ago. Even though the company didn’t want to bring too much attention to it, the publication actually created a bit of a stir, especially because Google always insisted that it wasn’t in the business of creating content (and hence wasn’t competing with the content producers that depend on Google’s search traffic). For the U.S. launch of Think Quarterly, though, Google took a more proactive approach, with a well-timed New York Times piece over the weekend (that barely mentioned the UK version) and an official announcement on the Google blog today.

With the announcement of the U.S. version, Google once again positions Think Quarterly as a B2B publication for its clients. The reality, of course, is that the content – including interesting pieces on the Internet of Things by Ogilvy & Mather’s Russell Davies and a story about how science fiction movies have fortold the future – appeals to a far wider group than just Google’s direct partners.

As the name implies, Think Quarterly is published four times a year and features in-depth articles about a range of topics Google as a company is interested in. The earlier UK editions were always worth a read, as they tended to go beyond basic Google marketing and featured quite a few interesting articles. Judging from the first consolidated U.S./UK edition, chances are this new version will be very similar. You won’t find anything that is very critical about Google, of course, but the broad range of topics makes for some interesting and though-provoking reading.

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