[theme-reviewers] GPL and limiting usage

Trent Lapinski trent at cyberchimps.com
Fri Sep 20 22:03:54 UTC 2013

@Otto I already stated that from a technical legal perspective your interpretation of copyright law is valid. 

It still doesn't speak to the issue of whether or not we're going to allow this on wordpress.org or not.

I'm always going to side with users rights over paywalls, and forced pricing structures and payment practices.

Again, I want to make it very clear here that what PageLines is doing is not selling a support service, they are forcing users to pay to get continued access to features that are critical to the future development of the users website when they've already paid for the Pro product.

They are essentially leasing features to users, and forcefully removing them if they don't continue to pay.

Legal issues, and interpretations of the GPL aside, as a community should we allow this?

My vote is absolutely not. If anything I think we need to define our guidelines more clearly that leasing features, paywalls, and proprietary validation APIs that serve no function other then to remove features if someone stops paying should be banned to protect the rights of users. Moving said features to a companion plugin shouldn't be allowed as a loophole either.

This will be my final e-mail on this subject. I truly hope the greater good of the community is considered here, for I fear if we allow this it will open pandoras box to a host of similar scams.

--Trent Lapinski
CEO of CyberChimps

On Sep 20, 2013, at 2:38 PM, Otto <otto at ottodestruct.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 4:33 PM, Ünsal Korkmaz <unsalkorkmaz at gmail.com> wrote:
>> @Otto, All i understand from your perspective:
>> "You are moron if you sell a product with 1 time fee, why dont you make it
>> on monthly fee?"
>> Label it as GPL, put all valuable functionality in plugin with paywall.
>> You just changed wordpress commerical GPL theme market. I hope you realize
>> it.
> I didn't change anything. You've always had the ability to sell
> add-ons to your themes. Why are you not doing this now? It's obvious.
> It may not be a great idea, however, to do self-disabling code behind
> a subscription. I never said DMS's subscription plugin was a *good
> idea*. Making that sort of self-disabling thing encourages others to
> take your code and offer it for free with your restrictions removed,
> undercutting you. It creates animosity between you and your userbase.
> But, selling add-on products is a perfectly valid market. I'd go the
> extra step and make them unrestricted though, having checks like this
> won't help you in the long run. You shouldn't try to sell code,
> because code can be copied and modified. Selling support services is
> always long term.
> -Otto
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