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In this question about adding visual style and pizzaz one person gave an answer with a link to a package (grid.sty) whose documentation contains a style that suits me a lot. I would like to use it in a document I'm typesetting but I'm left wondering if I should leave the copyright as is or if I could remove it or change it to a copyright notice of my own making. What is the consensus in the TeX community? Has this issue cropped up for anyone else before?

The packages I'm using for incorporating this style into my memoir document are

  1. rvdtx.sty
  2. pdfwidgets.sty (included by rvdtx.sty)

I'm not using elsarticle.sty

The license of the packages is the LPPL 1.2. I read the document and it doesn't seem to mention that the copyright must be visible in the generated document. However, to change the copyright information one would have to change the package rvdtx.sty, which would imply making a Derived Work. Can I and should I post these alteration online? Should I ask the copyright holder?

An image of how it looks (the copyright notice by Elsevier and River Valley is at the bottom:) grid.sty.

If this issue hasn't come up before and it's absolutely necessary to contact a lawyer about this, I think I just won't use the style.


EDIT: to sum up and remove ambiguities in my question:

  • The package rvdtx.sty includes a copyright notice for Elsevier in every footer. This is not configurable with package arguments
  • I would like to change or eliminate this, thus I would have to modify the package
  • Is this legal according to the LPPL (the license of the package)? What would I have to do to ensure the legality of my actions?
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Quite apart from any license issues, could you not simply load rvdtx in your document then modify \botstring to remove the notice? This would not break the LPPL as you are not editing the file at all. –  Joseph Wright Jan 28 '13 at 17:53
    
@JosephWright: Yes, you are completely correct. Apart from the ugly \botstring redefinition this would be optimal. Thanks a lot. –  Aktau Jan 28 '13 at 17:59
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you are using a style that is suggested in a manual of a package, you are using the package, not modifying it. You are free to do so and you don't have to mention it in the text. Remember that LaTeX itself is released under LPPL ;)

Another thing is if you wanted to publish the sourcecode of such thing. If you call \usepackage{grid} then everything is ok, since by this you acknowledge usage of the package. If you only used pieces of the code (in either package iteself or its documentation) you should mention it in your sourcecode. If you produce a "derived work", you only have to acknowledge the orinigal work, and you have to release it under a different name.

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I'm sorry if I expressed myself wrongly but I was referring to the actual copyright notice that the package rvdtx.sty puts in the footer of every page of the document in which it is used. Please take a look at grid.sty documentation to see what I mean. I also edited my question. –  Aktau Jan 28 '13 at 17:41
    
The file rvdtx.sty is released under LPPL, therefore you have the right to modify it (rename it and mention it's a "modified version of rvdtx.sty which is a part of LaTeX package grid on CTAN"). By modifying you can remove something it puts in the document itself. It is the license written at the beginning of the file that is important, not the things it produces when used. –  tohecz Jan 28 '13 at 17:50
    
@Aktau (Notice that even the source of the documentation grid.tex is released under LPPL, so you can "steal" parts of the style directly from there.) –  tohecz Jan 28 '13 at 17:53
    
Ok, I think I'm starting to get an understanding of this. But does that mean that if I don't want to publish the sourcecode to my document, I don't have to do anything at all? –  Aktau Jan 28 '13 at 18:00
    
@Aktau Yes, exactly. And even you publish it and there's \usepackage{grid} it should be ok. –  tohecz Jan 28 '13 at 18:06
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