[theme-reviewers] explicit license statements for binaries
chip at chipbennett.net
Fri Feb 10 17:21:49 UTC 2012
Public domain IS GPL-compatible, so that's fine. No issues there.
If someone modifies a PD work, and those modifications are copyrightable,
that's fine, too, provided they are licensed appropriately. In this case, I
think it is still appropriate to indicate that the work was derived from a
PD work. The point here is to ensure that end users can follow the
copyright trail, so that they are secure in their right to modify and
redistribute ALL parts of the Theme.
I really don't want the WPTRT to go any farther than absolutely necessary
in this regard. Despite what we occasionally imply in mail-lists, we are,
in fact, not lawyers. :)
With respect to bundled scripts: yes, they must also be licensed under GPL
(or compatible). And yes: the copyright and license information for the
bundled script needs to be in the readme. (Most such scripts are
distributed under licenses that require disclosure of the license, anyway,
so this isn't any sort of "tightening" on our part.)
For example, I'm not sure that the statements in my own license file (and
those of many other themes in the repository) would meet the technical GPL
requirements of referring back to the original Twenty Eleven source code it
was derived from, yet that seems to have been treated as acceptable
practice for a long time.
You are absolutely correct. WordPress Themes and Plugins have been
historically bad at adhering to the copyright/license disclosure
requirements (or even just the GNU-recommended best practices) of GPL (and
compatible licenses). Consider this an area of continual improvement.
On Fri, Feb 10, 2012 at 11:09 AM, Bruce Wampler <weavertheme at gmail.com>wrote:
> What about images that use public domain images as a source?
> First, if a theme uses public domain images, it is not very clear from
> copyright law that there needs to be any attribution of that fact when they
> are used, or that they are even subject to any licensing.
> I personally have built quite a collection of public domain images - and
> over time have likely lost track of the download source. But even then,
> what is that worth? Whatever source I used most likely collected the images
> from some other public domain source. So the statement that some images are
> public domain should be enough because that statement is as trustworthy as
> any up the download chain.
> Second, it is pretty clear that modified public domain images can in fact
> be copyrighted. Thus, covering original images, images created from public
> domain sources, or "original" public domain sources should all be treated
> equally - covered under the GPL compatible license used by the theme.
> (Modified versions of copyrighted images cannot be used without being
> covered by a GPL-compatible license which would require the appropriate
> links to the original.)
> It doesn't seem to me that it should be up to the WPTRT to become lawyers
> or police and try to interpret and enforce copyright law. It seems to me
> that the overwhelming majority of theme authors do their best to follow
> copyright/licensing law. I personally have been extremely careful about the
> sources of my images (and other code snippets).
> So for my theme, which does include a number of header images and icons of
> both original work and modified public domain work, I believe that they are
> all covered by the main GPL license.
> And as a secondary issue - what about GPL compatible scripts? It seems
> their own sub-directory. Should it be required that a reference to each
> such library be included in the readme.txt? What about PHP code snippets
> used from some GPL compatible source - it seems to be common practice to
> use these with proper attribution at the head of the snippet. Just how deep
> does one need to go in the readme.txt file. Perhaps nothing, or maybe a
> statement: Some scripts and code fragments include licenses in their
> respective sub-directories. One could even extend this to the actual base
> code of the theme, which very frequently started with one of the default WP
> themes, or another GPL theme. For example, I'm not sure that the statements
> in my own license file (and those of many other themes in the repository)
> would meet the technical GPL requirements of referring back to the original
> Twenty Eleven source code it was derived from, yet that seems to have been
> treated as acceptable practice for a long time.
> If the subject of tightening up licensing requirements is opened up, I
> just think it is important to look at everything.
> theme-reviewers mailing list
> theme-reviewers at lists.wordpress.org
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