[theme-reviewers] Licensing

Joseph Scott joseph at automattic.com
Mon Jun 14 21:47:00 UTC 2010

On Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 12:20 PM,  <chip at chipbennett.net> wrote:
> Out of curiosity: have there been discussions otherwise? I've always
> understood that GPL, GPLv2, GPLv2 or later, GPLv3, and
> non-GPL-but-compatible licenses are all acceptable for the repositories.

The short answer is yes.  The longer answer is that there are, under
certain conditions, incompatibilities between versions of the GPL.
Not something we need to dwell on at this point.

>> - Part of this theme has terms that are not compatible with the GPL,
>> specifically the font they include (see LicenseForSansationFont.txt).
>> The entire theme needs to be under terms that are GPL or compatible.
>> Lately fonts have been an issue for themes because many fonts have
>> terms that are not GPL compatible.
> I'm assuming the theme is using @font-face?

It's including a JS encoded font file as part of the theme distribution.

> Probably where I start to veer slightly off-topic, but: I'm wondering if
> the repository guidelines could be clarified (or even loosened a bit) with
> respect to things like fonts and icons (see below), so that fonts/icons
> that are freely distributable are acceptable in themes hosted in the
> repository?

As long as the licensing terms are compatible with the GPL fonts/icons
are fine.  The easy way to remember this is that a theme (all of the
theme) should grant the same freedoms that WordPress itself does.

> 1) A listing of known GPL-compatible icon sets would be awfully handy in
> the Codex.

Anyone is welcome to start and maintain such a list.

> 2) A little wiggle room with the repository guidelines would also be
> helpful. There's not a whole lot of GPL-compatible icon sets out there
> that developers can bundle with their themes. The Tango and Drupal
> (lullbots?) icons are nice and all, but they don't need to be ubiquitous
> for WordPress themes. :)
> I currently use FamFamFam Silk, but am looking into others, because
> CC-By-SA isn't GPL-compatible. Which is a shame, because Silk is one of
> the most gorgeous, most useful icon sets around.

Icon sets like Silk are fairly nice, and common.  Has anyone asked the
author about providing them under other terms besides CC?

>> - The credit link in the footer appears to be SEO'ing for 'Blog
>> Designer'.  I'd expect credit link text to be relevant and accurate,
>> in this case I'd think something like 'Diabolique Design' or
>> 'diaboliquedesign.com' would be better.  In general credit link text
>> would be the name of the theme, or the site/person being linked to.
>> Sadly WP themes have a history of being abused for ad/promo links as
>> well as SEO'ing for specific terms.  Those are abuses I don't want to
>> see in the theme directory.
> Yes, please! Keep a tight rein on footer links.
> Maybe even set formal guidelines that footer links must:
> a) Link to the ThemeURI or AuthorURI, and
> b) Use as anchor text either the Theme Name or Author Name
> That would seem to be more than reasonable to me.

Most theme authors have been pretty good about this sort of thing, but
it might be worth spelling out.  Perhaps tack it on to
http://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Review ?

Joseph Scott
joseph at josephscott.org

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