[theme-reviewers] GPL and limiting usage

Chip Bennett chip at chipbennett.net
Fri Sep 20 19:45:48 UTC 2013

> The GPL doesn't actually guarantee usage rights.

So, you would imply that the WPTRT stance, for over three years, that any
and all usage restrictions are incompatible with GPL is incorrect? Because
that has been our operating principle all along: Themes cannot restrict
usage in any way.

If we say that this subscription model is acceptable and that it conforms
to WPORG policy, then I would view that statement as a fairly significant
sea-change in WPORG free-software philosophy.

Again: the key difference here is that 100% of the code and functionality
are contained within the distributed Plugin itself. The server is entirely
unnecessary to the function of the Plugin, and server API connectivity
exists solely to determine whether or not to disable functionality within
the Plugin, based on subscription status.

On Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 3:31 PM, Otto <otto at ottodestruct.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 2:26 PM, Chip Bennett <chip at chipbennett.net>
> wrote:
> > If the 1-, 6-, unlimited-site breakdown represents *usage*, of code
> > contained entirely in the distributed Plugin, then that is a
> > GPL-incompatible usage restriction.
> How exactly do you figure this? Because I know the GPL pretty darned
> well, and I'm rather certain that you are mistaken here.
> The GPL doesn't actually guarantee usage rights. It just prevents
> anybody from further restricting those rights, through these lines:
> "Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the
> Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the
> original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to
> these terms and conditions. You may not impose any further
> restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted
> herein."
> You can certainly be correct about the "spirit" of the GPL, however
> the creator of a work has the copyright. They cannot break their own
> licensing terms. You can not actually create a piece of code that is
> inherently "GPL-incompatible", because that is not how licensing
> works.
> Are we enforcing spirit now too?
> -Otto
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