LaTeX forum ⇒ Theses, Books, Title pagesCC BY-NC-SA 3.0 attribution for non-commercial use Topic is solved

Classicthesis, Bachelor and Master thesis, PhD, Doctoral degree
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CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 attribution for non-commercial use

Postby Jogi_343 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:02 pm

I was considering to use one of these beautiful templates to write thesis which will be submitted to a university. (non-commercial use)

Do I need to include attribution inside the PDF which will be generated and submitted to university ?
If yes, then
1. What should be the exact text ? (as I was unable to find such text in the default PDF output from template).
2. In the same scenario, if someone edits .cls file, what should be included in PDF file regarding attribution ?


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Stefan Kottwitz
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Postby Stefan Kottwitz » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:14 am

Hi Jogi,

welcome to the forum!

Here is an explanation of the maintainer of viewtopic.php?t=25684 Though this was regarding a question about commercial use.

My personal opinion and general understanding is, that (especially community driven) templates are tools that can simply be used, I mean, it wish I don't have to put attribution text each time I use a template. Seriously, do people who use a single CV template write in their CV sources of the template and original and contributing authors of the template? But, regarding the source code, licensing is important: as code, distributing the template itself, the license really matters. Here NC means, it cannot be sold or distributed commercially. But it can be used commercially. Similarly, I can usually use fonts without attribution, but have to provide attribution if I would use the font itself.

I mean we have to follow licenses when we use things (especially provided for free, with just the wish of attribution). It's just that also I see it's not clearly explained with the differences: distribution (clearly requiring a license) or using like I use a font, a hammer, an operating system that I don't copy but use as provided.

Regarding the template license attribution phrasing, Vel said: "you can use any text you like provided there is a mention of “” somewhere". So it's good and it adds academic reference value if you would state somewhere, that this document was produced using LaTeX (mentioning TeX Live or MacTeX or MiKTeX, whatever you used) and it's using a template of

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Postby Vel » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:32 am

Thanks Stefan!

I've had this question quite a few times and I've been meaning to put up a page on the website that describes what's ok and what's not but other things keep taking priority!

First of all, looking back now, the CC license isn't actually the best to use for something like LaTeX templates, I mainly chose it for being well known and having a non-commercial attribute; something I feel strongly about. The problem with LaTeX templates is that there are 2 parts, the code and the compiled PDF.

I see the code as strongly adhering to the license. This means the top header with authors and the website must not be deleted, especially if the code is posted publicly on something like Github. Also, the code cannot be sold directly or be used to add value to a business, such as in an automated workflow where the PDFs are visible to customers.

The compiled PDF adheres less strongly to the license, with less requirement for attribution and some leeway for commercial use. I agree with Stefan that it would be silly to require attribution in a CV, title page or similar in the PDF itself. As such, if you're not using the template commercially at all, by all means don't attribute in the document PDF. This would include CVs, theses, reports, articles, etc. If you plan to sell the PDF, such as if you wrote a book using one of the templates, that use is fine, but attribution in the PDF would be desirable. I think it's only fair that if you make money from your work and used a template to make it look better or easier that you attribute to the source, after all, you got it for free. For future note, I don't consider making a CV for yourself commercial use at all, I get this question sometimes.

So what commercial use is restricted with regards to the PDFs then? This is firmly in the domain of something like taking the code and charging money to customise it for clients. This is something we do at and I would like to keep this exclusive to that service. Another restricted use would be creating an automated document generator that uses the template code and makes the PDFs available to clients en masse. Basically, use your brain, if it feels harmless, it probably is, if it feels like the template is pretty important to the work, don't do it. If in doubt, email me at with your use case and I'll let you know what I think.

Sorry for the long winded response, hopefully this helps others in the future! I'm also sorry it's such a convoluted answer to the question, but hopefully my motivations are clear and fair.
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