Recently, I have been considering making some screenshots of LibreOffice's applications and putting them on my blog (just as graphical examples for the text). But then, I started to think about what rights and obligations – in general, what licenses – are appropriate to such use of LibreOffice. For example, whether I am required to include any particular license notices.

I mean screenshots both of whole windows / dialog boxes, and of any part of them.

What I have found so far

I have found the following threads related to my question:

However, none of them answers my question as I do not see in neither of them any mentions about screenshots from the legal point of view.

Moreover, I have searched for any such mentions in the license that LibreOffice is made available under (Mozilla Public License Version 2.0), but found nothing.

I realize that it may not make any sense speaking about licensing in such a case; if so, I would also like to see any source that states it explicitly.


I have found the following guide for legally using screenshots of Microsoft products. I am putting it here because maybe it will better show what I am about. I imagine whether there would be a statement like this on the internet, but considering LibreOffice (or some broader group of software that LibreOffice explicitly states it is a part of).

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/legal/intellectualproperty/permissions/default.aspx (navigate to the section "Screenshots")

  • Copyright protects exact copies and derivative works. A screenshot of your program which happens to display LibreOffice is not a derivative work of LibreOffice. It would be the same as if you took a screenshot of your computer screen, and Microsoft Word happens to be running there. You do not need a license from Microsoft to create such a screenshot; Word and LibreOffice are displaying the 'output' of their program. See Is the output of an open source program licensed the same?
    – Brandin
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 9:04
  • However if the output primarily includes copyrighted works, then there could be a problem. For example, a photo is copyrighted, and you open up that photo in LibreOffice, and then create a screenshot of LibreOffice-displaying-that-photo and then redistribute your screenshot in order to bypass the photo's copyright, then that would be a violation of that photographer's copyright on that photo.
    – Brandin
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 9:06
  • 2
    @Brandin, you don't need a copyright license of Word/LibreOffice to create a screenshot, but you might need a license for other intellectual property rights, like the design right or trade dress. Those are IP rights concerned with the design of things. Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 14:53
  • @Brandin, thanks for your opinion. I think similarly, but I still consider it an opinion of just two people. I read the thread you linked, but it does not give me anything more than I (or: you and I) know already – no external source, like documentation, license, official Q&A, legal notices etc. — In the case of copyrighted works in the output, I am aware of it.
    – Silv
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 15:48
  • 1
    @Silv, from what I can tell from the questions you linked to, LibreOffice does not seem to seek protection of those IP rights. And depending on how you use those screenshots, your use might even fall under "fair use"/"fair dealing" and not require a license. Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


While the term "license" is most frequently applied to program source code text, it also covers visual assets and such. An argument could be made that, for example, if the title bar of a program includes its icon, and you are distributing a screenshot of the program, your screenshot is a derived work of the icon and is thus subject to the license that the icon was distributed under.

LibreOffice license includes the following grant:

Each Contributor hereby grants You a world-wide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license:

under intellectual property rights (other than patent or trademark) Licensable by such Contributor to use, reproduce, make available, modify, display, perform, distribute, and otherwise exploit its Contributions, either on an unmodified basis, with Modifications, or as part of a Larger Work;

This statement permits, as related to our example, reproduction of the LibreOffice icon in a screenshot.

Note that trademark rights are explicitly excluded. Trademark applies to both the "LibreOffice" name and the logo; a full program screenshot would generally include at least one, and thus would be subject to the trademark license. LibreOffice trademark policy grants the right to use LibreOffice trademarks:

Except as outlined below, you may use the Marks without prior written permission (subject to the following terms):

  1. To refer to the LibreOffice software in substantially unmodified form.

This grant should apply if the screenshot is not used in a prohibited way.

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