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TeX Live License
TeX Live License
Karl Berry

To the best of our knowledge, all software in the TeX Live distribution
is freely redistributable (libre, that is, not necessarily gratis),
within the Free Software Foundation's definition and the Debian Free
Software Guidelines.  Where the two conflict, we generally follow the
FSF (see [*] below).  If you find any non-free files included, please
contact us (references given at the end).

That said, TeX Live has neither a single copyright holder nor a single
license covering its entire contents, since it is a collection of many
disparate packages.  Therefore, you may copy, modify, and/or
redistribute software from TeX Live only if you comply with the
requirements placed thereon by the owners of the respective packages.

To most easily learn these requirements, we suggest checking the TeX
Catalogue at: (or any
CTAN mirror).  The Catalogue is also included in TeX Live in
./texmf/doc/html/catalogue/, but the online version will have updates.
Of course the legal statements within the packages themselves are the
final authority.

In some cases, TeX Live is distributed with a snapshot of the CTAN
archive, which is entirely independent of and separable from TeX Live
itself.  (The "live" DVD in the TeX Collection is one example of this.)
Please be aware that the CTAN snapshot contains many files which are
*not* freely redistributable; see LICENSE.CTAN for more information.


In general, you may redistribute TeX Live, with or without modification,
for profit or not, according to the usual free software tenets.  Here
are some general guidelines for doing this:

- If you make any changes to the TeX Live distribution or any
package it contains, besides complying with any licensing requirements,
you must prominently mention such changes in your modified distribution
so that users do not take your work for ours, and know to contact you,
not us, in case of questions or problems.  A new top-level
README.<yourwork> file is a good place to describe the general situation.

- Especially (but not necessarily) if changes or additions are made, we
recommend a clearly different title, such as "<your work> DVD, based on
TeX Live YYYY (with updates)", where YYYY is the year of TeX Live you
are using.  This credits both our work and yours.

- You absolutely may *not* place your own copyright on the entire
distribution, since it is not your work (as stated above, TeX Live is
not created by any single person or entity).  Statements such as "all
rights reserved" and "may not be reproduced" are especially
reprehensible, since they are antithetical to the free software
principles under which TeX Live is produced.

- You may use any cover or media label designs that you wish.  Such
packaging and marketing details are not covered by any TeX Live license.

- Finally, we make the following requests (not legal requirements):

a) Acknowledging that TeX Live is developed as a joint effort by all TeX
   user groups, and encouraging the user/reader to join their user group
   of choice.  The web page may be
   referenced as a list of TeX user groups.

b) Referencing the TeX Live home page:

Such information may be placed on the label of your media, your cover,
and/or in accompanying text (for instance, in the acknowledgements
section of a book).

Finally, although it is again not at all a requirement, we'd like to
invite any redistributors to make a donation to the project, whether
cash or in-kind, for example via

If you have any questions or comments, *please* contact us.  In general,
we appreciate being given the chance to review any TeX Live-related
material in advance of publication, simply to avoid mistakes.  It is
much better to correct text on a CD label or in a book before thousands
of copies are made!

We are also happy to keep anyone planning a publication informed as to
our deadlines and progress.  Just let us know.  However, be aware that
TeX Live is produced entirely by volunteers, and no dates can be


Finally, we are often asked what license to use for new work.  To be
considered for inclusion on TeX Live, a package must use a free software
license, such as the LaTeX Project Public License, the GNU General
Public License, the X Window System license, the modified BSD license,
etc.  Furthermore, all sources must be available, including for
documentation files.  Please see the url's below for more information.

Thanks for your interest in TeX.

- Karl Berry, editor, for the TeX Live team

[*] Conflicts between FSF and Debian.

The most notable instance of legal conflict between the FSF definition
of "free software" and the Debian Free Software Guidelines is in regard
to the GNU Free Documentation License when "invariant sections" (e.g.,
Front-Cover Texts, Back-Cover Texts, or Invariant Sections) are
included.  (FSF considers it free, of course, and Debian doesn't.) 

The most common instance of such a license is in documentation for
official GNU packages -- such as GNU Texinfo, which is included in TeX
Live.  There may be other GFDL'd files with invariant sections as well;
we have not exhaustively checked.

For TeX Live, we decided to follow the FSF, rather than Debian.  So such
documentation *is* included in the original TeX Live distribution.  (In
repackagings of TL according to Debian rules, it is removed.)  We surely
wish these two major organizations in the free software world could
cooperate on a documentation license acceptable to both.

If other specific conflicts are brought to our attention, we will note
them here.

TeX Live mailing list:
TeX Live home page:

The FSF's free software definition:
Debian Free Software Guidelines:
FSF commentary on existing licenses:

LPPL: or texmf/doc/latex/base/lppl.txt
LPPL rationale: texmf/doc/latex/base/modguide.pdf