[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: The "Evil Cookie Producer" case

For some reason, my latest answers weren't sent to the list, but to individual people.

Sorry for that. This is my latest response:
Andrew Ross wrote:
My reasoning goes that if I write some software which uses iText to produce a pdf, then if I use some other piece of software to modify that pdf then I have potentially broken the license, since the producer line may have been changed to reflect the name of this second piece of software.

The point of view of my attorney:
- company A = 1T3XT BVBA
- company B = a company using iText in software to create PDFs
- company C = a company using the PDFs created by company B

Company B is bound by the license. This doesn't mean the producer line can't be changed; there are different options to add extra data: - They can add data to the existing producer line ("created by product A; modified by product B") - They can use an other metadata field (Application in Document Properties) to add whatever they want.
Read ISO-32000-1 to find out more about metadata in PDF.

Company C doesn't enter in the AGPL, but has the right to know that Company B uses iText.

Why is this important?

Typically, we get PDFs sent to us by companies that have never used iText; sometimes they don't even know iText, BUT they have an issue with a PDF created by iText. In general the problem is caused due to postprocessing by a third party app. Nevertheless, we can help out in many cases: thanks to the fact that the consumer of the PDF can trace the PDF down to iText. This is what the end consumer wants, and this is what 1T3XT wants, regardless of the opinion of any other party in-between.

"The AGPL and the extra term ensure the consumer's RIGHT to know
that the PDF was produced by iText. Denying this right is IMO
exactly the abuse of Free Software the AGPL wants to avoid."

That is what I honestly believe: the producer line is non-intrusive. It doesn't show up when the PDF is printed (be it on paper, or using a virtual printer); it doesn't show up when the PDF is viewed, unless the viewer (third party software) decides to show it (for instance because the consumer opens the "Document Properties" dialog in search for more information).

The producer line doesn't take away any freedom from company C. On the contrary: if company C wants to know which "ingredients" were used to create the PDF, they can find out thanks to the producer line. Suppose that some company B wants to hide this information, then company B takes away this freedom from company C.

Reply to: