[theme-reviewers] GPL

Bryan Hadaway bhadaway at gmail.com
Mon Aug 13 05:34:41 UTC 2012

I'm not really sure what you're saying exactly, so I say this with the best
intentions of what I believe that to be, but also talking about the issue
in general. As best as I can tell, it appears that you're inferring that
I've taken an anti-GPL or Public Domain Vs GPL stance on the discussion at
hand, which isn't the case. Of course correct me if I'm wrong.

In any case I think I understand what you're trying to get at about
possible risks with Public Domain, but honestly those same risks exist with
any license (or no license). The bottom line is that we're not talking
about anything tangible (I know, a whole other debate), code, and the
attached user's rights, freedoms etc are all released in a "good faith"
scenario and can all be exploited no matter how something is released,
unless we get into copyright/notarized/patented territory.

Let's look at some black and white hypotheticals:

*Example 1*: Something is released into the Public Domain. Someone takes
it, copyrights and licenses it and sales it as is. They then sue the
original source and claim that they in fact stole it (copyright
infringement) from their product.

*Example 2*: Something is released as a GPLed premium product. Someone
takes it, publishes it as Public Domain. They then sue the original source
and claim that they in fact stole it from their free project and turned it
into a premium product fraudulently privatizing and selling something that
cannot legally leave the Public Domain.

Before we get into a million different possibilities/angles/gotchas/yadda
yadda, let me just say that in the US, anyone can sue anyone else for
anything, and I mean anything. And further more it doesn't matter what the
actual truth is. The law has nothing to do with the truth. It only has to
do with what can be "proven" in the eyes of the court. I've had lawyers for
clients and I've talked to dozens of lawyers/firms throughout my career,
and they all confirm this. Often the only thing that matters, is who has
more money, period. It's a very sad reality.

So, when it comes to the intangible nature of a WordPress theme, anyone can
take it and either slap whatever license on it they want or remove whatever
licensing they want from it and redistribute it guised as the original
source. And if they get cornered and don't have a very good case there's
always plausible deniability. "Hey, I searched for a website template
online and found this cool theme in a forum and they said it was free, so I
downloaded it." And anything digital can be faked, duped so easily, and
even anything that *IS *real in the digital realm could be put through the
reasonable doubt ringer etc etc etc.

So you feel safe releasing something as GPL? Why? And I mean that only in
the sense of the worst case exploitation scenario that you brought up.
Theoretically, we could think of all sorts of awful things that we should
both be stressed about equally, regardless of how we release our code. If
we're gonna put it under the microscope with that kind of "what if" filter,
we're not going to feel safe.

But, that's the point of it all right? We don't want to be corporate, we
don't want to copyright, trademark, patent the code we release. We want
people to enjoy it, use it, change it etc. Because we want to be friendly,
we expose ourselves to litigious people. That's the very nature of the
beast, always has been.

When it *really* comes right down to it, it's just a preference, even if we
both in addition release our code under no warranty clauses, it's all a
deterrent, not foolproof. We have to do our best to conform to our own
personal ethics and hope for the best, that people are generally good,
naive as that is that's our pursuit.

For the record, I like GPL just fine. If I had any ethical (or otherwise)
problem with it I wouldn't have ever used it to begin with, I would have
simply avoided the official repo. I simply prefer Public Domain. I don't
think it extinguishes vulnerability to exploitation, of course not. But,
that doesn't mean that the GPL or any other license in a digital product
are not open to the same exploitations, though differing circumstances.

If I completely misunderstood what you were trying to say please clarify.
Either way, I think what I've said carries a lot of important, valid
points. And yes, I'd love to read the article you wrote. Knowledge is power.

Thanks, Bryan

Bryan Phillip Hadaway

Web & Graphic Designer
bhadaway at gmail.com

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On Sun, Aug 12, 2012 at 8:19 PM, // ravi <ravi-lists at g8o.net> wrote:

> Correction:
> On Aug 12, 2012, at 11:16 PM, // ravi <ravi-lists at g8o.net> wrote:
> >
> > The side you are missing, IMHO, is that this idea of “pure” and
> “friendly” (scares not intended …
> “quotes not intended”…
> > as scare, but merely to note that they are borrowed from you) is open to
> exploitation and potentially short-lived in an evolutionary/game-theoretic
> sense [arguably]. I use the GPL for every bit of code that I release, and I
> do that without stress because I know that it is one of the strongest way
> to avoid the community that I am a part of from being exploited - that
> anyone who uses our work will share their work with us.
> >
> > I wrote a blog post about this that was picked by Matt, the last time
> the GPL wars came around. If you think they might be of interest, please
> contact me for a link.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> >       —ravi
> >
> Apologies.
> _______________________________________________
> theme-reviewers mailing list
> theme-reviewers at lists.wordpress.org
> http://lists.wordpress.org/mailman/listinfo/theme-reviewers
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