Re: The "Evil Cookie Producer" case
For some reason, my latest answers weren't sent to the list, but to
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
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.