These may sound like silly questions but I feel the need for clarification regarding some legal aspects of Visual Paradigm Community Edition.
I am currently considering using the Community Edition for my personal open-source project’s documentation purposes but I could not find a precise definition of the “non-commercial use” condition. Does it mean that I could not sell documentation that includes diagrams generated by Visual Paradigm ? Does it mean that I could not sell the whole product ? (I am very doubtful about this one)
The documentation says that pattern watermarks are inserted into exported files when at least two diagrams of any diagram type are created. What if I remove these watermarks from the exported file with another piece of software ? For example, it is trivially easy to remove the watermarks from a SVG file with Inkscape. I could not find anything in the software license or anywhere else that could prevent a user from getting rid of the watermark restriction in this way. Am I wrong ?
Thank you for any information.
I am also wondering about this topic, especially the part with removing the watermark from a SVG. I hope someone can answer out question.
We consider manually remove the watermarks in the exported image (in whatever format) is an illegal usage. The Community Edition and Evaluation software is NOT ALLOW for commercial use. For more details please contact our support team (email@example.com).
Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with VP other than I happen to like their products and their service a lot. So I can by no means speak for the company and the following are just my thoughts on the matter. Neither am I a lawyer.
I think that if the license says that commercial use of the community edition isn’t allowed, that’s the contract to apply if you decide to use the software. Personally, I’d definitely consider selling documentation with VP-UML’s diagrams a commercial use of the program. If you used the Community Edition commercially, this would in my opinion be a breach of the contract, no matter whether you remove the watermarks or not. Removing the watermarks doesn’t make the use legal; that would be absurd. This would be like reasoning, “it’s legal if I steal something as long as I don’t get caught.”
A much more interesting question is whether it’s considered “commercial use” if you gave the documentation for your project away for free. What if you have banners on your website to help finance the project? What if you ask for donations on your project website? Does it get commercial then in the sense of the VP-UML license?
Another quite tricky scenario just comes to my mind. Imagine you created documentation for an open source software that you give away for free. Half a year after the release of the software with this documentation a company takes your software including the documentation, extends the software a bit, and sells it, again, with the documentation you wrote. At first thought, I’d say nobody can blame you for that. But if it happens to be your company, or one of a friend? This isn’t so simple anymore.
It would be interesting if the VP-UML team elaborated a bit on these topics. On the other hand, it’s a non-trivial matter, and I could well understand if the support team wouldn’t want to say anything about it.
That said, I think that the Modeler Edition, which can be used commercially, is quite affordable. Even more so if you use the software only occasionally, so you might be ok with the subscription model.