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Subject: Re: DOCBOOK-APPS: Licensing for producing PDFs?


Dan York wrote:
> 
> Question for you all.  Many of you probably know of the current situation
> where the U.S. FBI has arrested Dmitry Sklyarov for his company's role
> in creating software that converts files in Adobe's eBook format to PDF:
> 
>   http://www.eff.org/IP/DMCA/US_v_Sklyarov/20010717_eff_sklyarov_pr.html
>   http://www.boycottadobe.com/
>   http://www.eff.org/alerts/20010719_eff_sklyarov_alert.html
> 
> The resulting publicity has caused one of our partners to ask about any legal
> issues around generating PDF files from DocBook using open source tools.
> I honestly did not know what to tell him.  As far as I know, Adobe is
> promoting PDF as a "free" and "open" standard.  

I think you would need to go and look at the book "PDF Reference Version
1.3 Second Edition" by "Adobe Systems Inc".  (ISBN: 0201615886).

This documents the PDF specification - i.e. it tells you want you need
to know to create programs which read/write PDF.

I don't have this book. But I do have the equivalent Postscript
Reference manual. The first part of this (IIRC - it is currently on my
bookshelf at home ;-) covers what you can and can't do with Postscript.
You can implement an interpreter. You can refer to the input of your
interpret as postscript - but you can't call your interpreter
PostScript. Hence "Ghostscript is an interpreter for the PostScript
Language" is OK. I suspect that you will find something similar for PDF
- seeing that PDF is mainly a tweak of PostScript and that the
specification is published in the same way.

So, providing that no illegal copying of Adobe's software has been
undertaken (In US terms that would mean disassembly, reverse engineering
or whatever) there should be no problem. As the specification is freely
available (for the price of the book - 37) I don't expect that this has
ever or would ever happen.

The encrypted Ebook format is another matter - I understand that this is
mainly an encryption of a PDF file. I doubt that this is documented in
the PDF Reference book though ;-).....

So in Summary "No problems with pdftex"

Of course, this is just my personal IANAL opinion...


Regards,

Ian.


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