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Distributing a document

From GPLv3 Wiki

If you want to apply the GPLv3 to a document (a free textbook for example), several issues come up. Suppose that you distribute it as a PDF file on the web. That's no problem even with the GPLv2: Just put the source (TeX, ODF, etc.) alongside the PDF file.

If you want to distribute a printed book, with the GPLv2 (or v3draft1) you'd have to include with each book a CDROM or equivalent containing the source or provide a written offer for the source. A written offer is easy to include in a book. v3draft2 also solves the problem by adding sec. 6b1, which allows you to offer source via the web (like the GFDL allows).

One issue is terminology. I think the printed book is in object form because object form is defined as any non-source form. It's also usually the output of a program, the PDF file, when run on the printer. Sec. 2 says "The output from running it is covered by this License only if the output, given its content, constitutes a covered work." So the printed book would be a work based on the PDF file and therefore a covered work. That seems reasonable.

Another issue is fonts. Do they have to be free? It seems so, since the Corresponding Source (sec. 1) includes source to whatever is needed to generate the work. Exceptions are made only (1) for System Libraries, but they apply only to executable works and therefore not to a printed book, and (2) for generally available free programs. If a font is a program (like a Type 1 font in a .pfb file), then you wouldn't need to distribute the free fonts used in making the PDF file or the book. But you would need to distribute, for example, bembo.pfb, which of course you couldn't. So the document couldn't use non-free fonts. I think that's a welcome conclusion but I am not sure.