I read EULAs so you don’t have to. I’ve spent years reading end user license agreements, EULAs, looking for little gotchas or just trying to figure out what the agreement allows and doesn’t allow.
I have never seen a EULA as mind-bogglingly greedy and evil as Apple’s EULA for its new ebook authoring program.
Dan Wineman calls it “unprecedented audacity” on Apple’s part. For people like me, who write and sell books, access to multiple markets is essential. But that’s prohibited:
Apple, in this EULA, is claiming a right not just to its software, but to its software’s output. It’s akin 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. As far as I know, in the consumer software industry, this practice is unprecedented.
Exactly: Imagine if Microsoft said you had to pay them 30% of your speaking fees if you used a PowerPoint deck in a speech.
Online Disputes Expose
Publishers' Copyright Vulnerability
When book publishers rallied against Google's library book scanning project last year, they accused the tech giant of stealing. In a lawsuit filed in New York federal court, the publishers claimed that if Google Inc. made digital copies of library books available online for search purposes, the tech company would be committing massive copyright infringement. But then one book publisher, HarperCollins, tried to steal a page from its antagonist's playbook, announcing that it would make its entire backlist, about 20,000 titles, including such classics as"Charlotte's Web," available online. Publishers didn't have a problem --but book authors and their lawyers did a double take.
Back in 2004, Google felt quite strongly that its “Book Search” project was a fair use of copyrighted material. It kept pointing out that it wasn't displaying complete copies of books covered by copyright. Instead, it scanned the material and then displayed snippets from these books in response to queries. The bottom line: In 2004, Google thought it was shaping its conduct according to the law. But Google's lawyers also have to shape the working situation in which Google operates. That working situation, from 2004 until 10/8/08 has involved great bitterness coming from publishers who could otherwise be Google's allies. The pure legal principle of the fair use argument, weighed against that bitterness and the possibility of a win-win deal, had to defer.