Is it permissible to use a LaTeX template for writing a Curriculum Vitae (CV)/résumé, licensed under the CC BY-NC-SA, in order to gain paid employment?

Examples of such templates can be found, for example, here. (Some of the templates there occasionally seem to engage under dubious licensing practices, like reusing resources under incompatible licenses, but that's out of scope for this question.)

Distributing the CV would presumably be considered as the sharing of adapted material, which according to §2a1B is allowed for "NonCommercial purposes only". §1k states that "NonCommercial means not primarily intended for or directed towards commercial advantage or monetary compensation". Arguably, aiming to obtain a paid job is intended towards commercial advantage, so it would run afoul of this condition.

The principal counterargument is that the intention of the authors was evidently not to prevent other people from using the templates (even applying for a paying job at a charity would not be permitted, leaving only a very small range of possible uses). However, the original intention does not necessarily mean much from a legal point of view, even if it makes it exceedingly unlikely that in actual fact one would be sued for this.

1 Answer 1


As you point out, it is not entirely clear if a CV would be NON-COMMERCIAL in this case. I would tend to think that the intent of the author of this template is to prohibit commercial copycats of the web site templates on another template web site but this is not made clear on the web site.

Rather, this website is designed to make LaTeX easy for the beginner as well as for the expert by providing heavily commented, easy to understand, templates for a diversity of document types. It is my hope that this website will decrease frustration, increase the use of LaTeX and provide a generally useful service to all who are interested.

Now in earnest, it is not clear either if applying a LaTeX template is making the generated document subject to the license of the template if you are NOT redistributing the template itself but only using it to produce a document based on your content (e.g your life redux in a CV).

For instance one moderator of the site (presumably the author?) provides this comment:

If you give away the sources of your CV, i.e. the tex files, you have to include the license. Your final output, generated with the plasmati style, is yours and yours alone. No need to mention the template.

Licensing for templates is quite a mess.

This could be treated as a rider to the licensing making it clear that the CV would be yours, but this is a very specific comment on one template in a forum. A more comprehensive clarification would be better IMHO.

That the same web page has a contact email and an IRC channel at #LaTeXTemplates on irc.latextemplates.com

If I were you, I would contact the author by email or IRC to ask permission and suggest they make it clear on their web site that using these templates in a commercial context (such as CV or else) other than to publish a template web site is not an issue under the CC-BY-NC-SA licensing and would not make the resulting document subject to the CC-BY-NC-SA.

You may also need to contact the actual original author of your template too as it is not clear who exactly has actual rights between the site owner and the original author.

Good luck!

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