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This question is very similar to Canada Customs' "form is protected A when completed".

I have a LaTeX style file and template that is basically a fill-in-the-blanks form (specifically this form).

I use it for my own cards, which are currently in the project (because the people I play with need to see them).

I wish to release the under GPL v3, but I don't want deceitful people to change "my" cards and present them as evidence that I play something other than what I do (I'm happy to have them used as additional examples). I assume that I can limit the license to the files in the source directory, and leave the output directory (tex and pdf) locked down.

However, "create a card" is basically:

  • copy the template (which I want to have open, to allow modifications or cleanup)
  • fill in the blanks
  • uncomment the boxes that need to be checked
  • build.

I know this one is basic, but I can't find it on a search: do the .tex files that are "filled in templates' count as modified files under GPL license if released? If so, then under the GPLv3, is there any way to say "you can't modify these tex files, build a new card and imply it's what I do"? Obviously, a similar question applies to anyone else who uses this for their own cards - after all, they won't want me to change them and claim it was what they do, either.

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There's a bunch of issues here, not all of which are copyright or GPL specific.

do the .tex files that are "filled in templates' count as modified files under GPL license if released?

I would say very much yes, they are clearly dependent on the original.

However, if you are the sole copyright holder of the original template you personally are completely free to ignore the GPL on that work and can release your filled in templates under any license you like.

under the GPLv3, is there any way to say "you can't modify these tex files, build a new card and imply it's what I do"?

No; the GPL specifically prohibits any further restrictions on the use of derived works.

However: there may be other legal prohibitions against this, independent of copyright law, just as there may be legal prohibitions against me making a convention card completely independent of your template, putting your name on it and publishing it. However, that question is off-topic here but potentially on-topic at Law SE - the answer will almost certainly vary by jurisdiction though.

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  • Thanks. I would prefer if others had that right as well, though. Q: can you edit to explain how, if at all, 7c (allowing "Prohibiting misrepresentation" clauses) fits in to this?
    – Mycroft
    Apr 21, 2022 at 20:26

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