I've just completed composing a scholarly book using LaTeX and it has been accepted for publication. Are there legal requirements for 1) acknowledgments or 2) permissions connected with the use of LaTeX in a published book? I don't see anything about the latter in the current versions of the docs for the packages I've used.

Edit: Frank Mittelbach has pointed me to a paper he has recently published on the history of the LaTeX Project Public License: TUGboat 32(2011)/1:83–94. Section 1.2 (p. 84) contains a digression on the multicol license and its current status. He describes the multicol "moral obligation" license as "perhaps the most curious license ever drawn up."

  • 'LaTeX' here is a bit loose. Some packages may require some statements, others do not, and the kernel itself is separate again.
    – Joseph Wright
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 19:00
  • @Joseph do you have any example of this? Especially stemming from packages included in default installations like TeX Live or MikTeX. I've only seen one such file. Where one was actually asked to send the author a copy of each work one produced with the aid of his macros. I have naturally denied to globally install these macros on our system.
    – daleif
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 19:32
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    @daleif Well, most famously there is the 'moral obligation' clause for multicol. More broadly, the question does not limit us to packages in TL/MiKTeX.
    – Joseph Wright
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 19:43
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    the ams doesn't require any statements about the use of (La)TeX, although some authors do choose to acknowledge its use. i've seen this usually either in the formal acknowledgments (sometimes a section in the preface or as a final "afterword"), or as a statement ``Typeset with LaTeX'' on the copyright page. but, except for a few specific packages as mentioned by daleif and joseph, it's not a legal requirement. Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 20:34

1 Answer 1


I know of no package or software in the TeX world with a legal or moral requirement of acknowledgments like the advertising clause in the old BSD license.

AFAIK multicol is the only one with a moral obligation clause for payment; commercial software and some packages exist(ed).

  • Never knew about multicol, just serves to show how much attention normal people give to licenses within the products they use
    – daleif
    Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 20:38
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    @dalei: multicol asks you for payment, not for acknowledgments. Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 20:51
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    Also, it asks for a payment on a moral scale, which means that you decide what the appropriate fee is :-)
    – Joseph Wright
    Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 20:53
  • @JosephWright: Usually Frank get's a beer whenever I meet him. :-) Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 21:02
  • @JosephWright so so ... I get a beer each time I meet Martin, good to know, perhaps I should cash in on that :-) Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 16:56

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