I can see a possible use-case for people outside the engineering department, but I'm not about to buy them a Solidworks licence!
There is a current ER: 943881 - SolidWorks Treehouse should work without the need of the license activation. Create a standalone version..
Due that that, I suspect the answer is yes, the user needs a license.
I suspect it has less to do with licensing than with the swdocmgr.dll that 'reads' the references. That is installed/registered with SOLIDWORKS and most likely missing from the peripheral products, even if you figured out how to install those without a license.
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