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I'm working on a (most possibly) proprietary front-end React app for my company. We use this npm package as a plugin for TinyMce editor. Turns out, it has GPL v3 license, which isn't allowed as per our policy.

After some research, I found this solution. In short, instead of installing and using the above package as a local plugin, I can list it as an external plugin and request to the following URL to get the js code:

https://www.wiris.net/demo/plugins/tiny_mce/plugin.js

The code from the above URL is identical to the main js file in the npm package as far as I'm concerned.

I want to know if this is a viable way to avoid the licensing issue that I have? Is the js file hosted on Wiris' server protected in the same way their package is?

  • Congratulations for being so picky about licencing issues. – Basile Starynkevitch Feb 21 at 12:22
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Very murky...

If the application's relevant parts run on the user's machine, you aren't distributing anything. If it runs on your server, you arent't distributing anything. In neither case would GPL kick in, as I understand it.

But by FSF's interpretation (not court validated, as far as I know), writing software that can only be used with something GPLed makes it a derivative, thus bound by GPL. Which makes quite a lot of sense to me, but I'd factor in how tight/extensive the use is. (IANAL, IANYL, I don't play one on TV).

In any case, from what you say, company policy would forbid such use. Or at least take a very dim view of it. Better stay clear.

  • Thanks for your answer. I know I should stay clear of the forbidden licenses, so I'm not asking how I can use a GPLed package without violation. I'm asking if the external resources gotten from wiris demo page are also protected under GPL (if not then I can use them) – Thanh Son Nguyen Feb 20 at 11:03
  • @ThanhSonNguyen, it is very hard to find license information regarding that package (I coundn't even quickly verify your claim that the npm package is GPL licensed). You should assume that the version on the demo site is also under GPL or another problematic license. Your best option is to contact Wiris to see if they have the package also under a more favourable license. – Bart van Ingen Schenau Feb 20 at 11:53
  • @BartvanIngenSchenau Yes, I've done it afterwards and still waiting for their response. Thank you for the suggestion anyway. On a side note, just fyi, the licensing info is on the right column, right under the weekly download chart if you visit on desktop. npm and yarn can also do the checking out of the box. – Thanh Son Nguyen Feb 20 at 14:38

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