[Phpmyadmin-devel] tcpdf and licensing

Tyron Madlener tyronx at gmail.com
Fri Dec 16 16:20:57 CET 2011

I find it very disconcerting to enforce a branding on the libraries
generated output. Isn't there any alternative pdf library that could
be used?

On Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 3:58 PM, Isaac Bennetch <bennetch at gmail.com> wrote:
> Greetings,
> As you might recall from the PHPExcel licensing discussion
> (https://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/message.php?msg_id=27884122) the
> Fedora people were investigating a possible licensing concern with the
> tcpdf library we bundle. Nothing has come of that with Fedora, but
> apparently the SuSE people have found something they don't like. The
> user ChrisWi asked about it in the IRC channel and provided a link to
> their bugtracker: https://bugzilla.novell.com/show_bug.cgi?id=736698 --
> which requires a login, so he also provided the following text summary:
> ** begin paste **
> phpMyAdmin (and presumably many earlier versions as well) contains
> tcpdf. This package claims to be LGPL-3.0+ licensed but contains the
> following
> clause:
> Additionally,
> As the LGPL-3.0+ incorporates by reference the GPL-3.0+, sections 7 and
> 10 of
> the GPL-3.0+ are relevant:
> All other non-permissive additional terms are considered "further
> restrictions" within the meaning of section 10.  If the Program as you
> received it, or any part of it, contains a notice stating that it is
> governed by this License along with a term that is a further
> restriction, you may remove that term.  If a license document contains
> a further restriction but permits relicensing or conveying under this
> License, you may add to a covered work material governed by the terms
> of that license document, provided that the further restriction does
> not survive such relicensing or conveying.
> Accordingly, it may be possible to point out to tcpdf upstream that the
> additional term that they apply may be viewed as a 'non-permissive
> restriction'
> and that you wish to exercise your rights under the GPL-3.0+ to remove that
> term from downstream distributions.
> If upstream are unwilling to engage in meaningful discussion or take the
> view
> that the additional restriction is per se not part of the license
> because it is
> above the license and not incorporated into it, tcpdf should be dropped.
> ** end paste **
> Now again, as I'm sure you're aware, we're not responsible for making
> the distributions happy, but it's also in our best interest to try to
> resolve these things. Looks to my non-lawyer eye like this is something
> to push back on the tcpdf folks. Again, if I'm understanding correctly,
> the problem is the additional line added that "YOU CAN'T REMOVE ANY
> Additionally, Google provides a lot of results of people questioning
> this.
> https://sourceforge.net/projects/tcpdf/forums/forum/435311/topic/3757478
> seems to be the best discussion. A discussion regarding the inclusion in
> Tiki Wiki
> (http://projects.opensource.org/pipermail/license-discuss/2011-November/000028.html)
> went so far as to bring up the dubious legal position of putting a
> (tcpdf) copyright notice on the work of others.
>  From the tcpdf forums link, it appears the author has no interest in
> changing this. To be fair to tcpdf, the only place I see his notice in
> the generated PDF is the "PDF Producer" field of the file properties. I
> think that's reasonable, but I think the part that concerns the SuSE
> folks is the having a non-OSI-endorsed clause appended to a license; if
> every project would do that it would be a nightmare to maintain. But
> that's just my interpretation.
> I've signed up for a Novell account, but I'm still not authorized to
> view the bug report directly. At the moment, aside from the gentleman in
> IRC, we have no line of communication to them or way of getting updates
> on their internal discussion.
> Thanks for your thoughts on this...
> ~isaac
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