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If I write a LaTeX document that uses LPPL packages, since (La)TeX is a macro-replacement language, and I generate its output, to PDF for example, is the resultant output, in any form, a derived work from the LPPL packages?

I would like to be clear about this in order to know which types of licenses can I apply to my LaTeX source code and its output. For example, GFDL, CC-BY-SA, or even the source code LPPL and its output CC-BY-SA.

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closed as off topic by Martin Schröder, Thorsten, Kurt, Claudio Fiandrino, Stefan Kottwitz Nov 14 '12 at 16:57

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While interesting, I think this question is probably off-topic. A proper answer requires legal expertise, and also may depend upon the jurisdiction you are in. That makes it a poor fit for what we can offer: knowledge about TeX and friends as a technical level. –  Joseph Wright Nov 14 '12 at 14:35
@JosephWright I do not agree, because the question goes to the heart of LaTeX and we owe readers the answer that there are no juridical texts which mean the same all over the world. –  Keks Dose Nov 14 '12 at 15:21
@KeksDose: Yes, but legal questions are always off-topic on Stackexchange. –  Martin Schröder Nov 14 '12 at 15:30
@MartinSchröder Then let's have a community wiki regarding legal questions where we explain the problem of the multiple jurisdictions. Then we can close all coming legal questions by referring to our answer. Besides that, here are Frank Mittelbach, who cares about the LPPL, and the German lawyer Keks Dose, so this might not be a wild and frutless guessing. –  Keks Dose Nov 14 '12 at 15:33

2 Answers 2

up vote 24 down vote accepted

The answer is clearly and unambigously NO. LPPL is only covering the WORK itself, e.g., the package that is under LPPL and the distribution and modification of the WORK but not the "use" of the WORK.

It explicitly states:

Activities other than distribution and/or modification of the Work are not covered by this license; they are outside its scope. In particular, the act of running the Work is not restricted and no requirements are made concerning any offers of support for the Work.

So running the WORK, i.e., in the LaTeX world producing a document with it is not of concern for LPPL and the output is not under any license but under whatever license you would put that output.

Just for the record, I should mention that I'm primarily be responsible for the LPPL content as one of its authors.

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If you are looking for a serious answer to a legal question, there is no other way than to ask an attorney in your country, because the meaning of a license like LPPL depends on the legal frames of the countries around the world.

Given, that we do not know your country and a lot of other details, on which a serious answer depends, I guess that any PDF you generate using software under the LPPL, is not a »derived work«, except a PDF which contains the software or parts of it.

In reply to Frank Mittelbach's answer above and comment below: One could argue, that the sentence »running the Work...« says nothing about the output produced by »running the WORK«. If one is allowed to run a software it may not be included that one is free to use the result.

It would be more clear, if clause 1 of the conditions of the LPPL stated that the results produced neither are derived works nor in the scope of the licence.

From my (German) way of interpreting this licence it seems not impossible to construct an argument that the result of the software were derived work, although running the software is free. A special case is a PDF containing the text of the WORK.

I would not follow this argument, but if our OP resides in the USA, we have to concede that a lawsuite SCO ./. rest of the world (e.g. see here) was possible there. We can not exclude it for all countries of the world.

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As far as "specific interpretations of part of a license" are concerned you may be right, but not here. LPPL clearly defines that usage and its result do not fall under the license. –  Frank Mittelbach Nov 14 '12 at 14:30
@FrankMittelbach I improved my answer in reply to your comment. Just for curiosity: Has this LPPL been approved by a person specialiced in licencing right? –  Keks Dose Nov 14 '12 at 15:24
This I have learned a few minutes ago: an "automatic or mechanic" transformation of a work, isn't a derivate work, but a reproduction of this work (it depends on the country, but more or less this is the idea). Moreover, a reproduction of a work has the copyright of the original work, and thus, you can use/modify/distribute it with the same conditions as the original work. –  Peregring-lk Nov 14 '12 at 15:36
@KeksDose it has not formally approved by a lawyer if that is what you are asking, but LPPL 1.3 has been the result of a long work together with folks of DEBIAN legal and just recently we had discussions with the lawyer from Mozilla who in turn roped in a lawyer in Germany to advice us and the conclusion back there was that in case of unclarity a statement of intend would make ambigous interpretation clear. And I as the originator of the license here state that the intend is output of running the work is not covered by the license. Period. Of course somebody can put a document under LPPL. –  Frank Mittelbach Nov 14 '12 at 18:26

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