[theme-reviewers] explicit license statements for binaries

Angelo Bertolli angelo.bertolli at gmail.com
Fri Feb 10 17:26:04 UTC 2012

I think we're losing sight of what the intention of the GPL on the 
themes are... to be able to modify and reuse or redistribute the theme. 
  I don't think it's really all that important to get so nit picky about 
each item within the theme on its own license, except as a technicality.

I think the whole theme itself should be considered an individual "work" 
and when you use a public domain image (as I do) the entire thing 
becomes a a new work and can retain a GPL copyright as a whole.  While 
this doesn't prevent someone who knows the image is public domain from 
re-using that image however they want, I don't think there should be any 
assumptions made.

On 2/10/2012 12:09 PM, Bruce Wampler 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
> many themes include JavaScripts that include their own licenses included
> in 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
> http://lists.wordpress.org/mailman/listinfo/theme-reviewers

More information about the theme-reviewers mailing list