[Phpmyadmin-devel] tcpdf and licensing

Isaac Bennetch bennetch at gmail.com
Fri Dec 16 16:32:59 CET 2011

On 12/16/2011 10:26 AM, Marc Delisle wrote:
> Isaac Bennetch a écrit :
>> Greetings,
> Hi Isaac,
> see the reply from Nicola Asuni (TCPDF) in our bug tracker:
> https://sourceforge.net/tracker/?func=detail&atid=377408&aid=3460857&group_id=23067

Thanks, sorry for the noise here, then. Apparently jimmik posted the bug 
around the same time ChrisWi came to IRC; since the tracker has more 
existing discussion let's continue the conversion there.

>> 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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