[theme-reviewers] Yet another licensing question :)

carolina poena myazalea at hotmail.com
Sat Apr 12 15:35:38 UTC 2014

Phew, I forgot how exhausting it is to review themes when the author doesnt list all the licenses in the readme  :) maybe that's where to look when you want to cherry pick themes. ;)

From: otto at ottodestruct.com
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2014 06:47:17 -0500
To: theme-reviewers at lists.wordpress.org
Subject: Re: [theme-reviewers] Yet another licensing question :)

On Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 6:33 AM, myazalea <myazalea at hotmail.com> wrote:

Does MIT require copyright? Then he should formalize it as
Copyright 2014 /name/

It really isn't a question of the license, as such. You can't remove somebody else's copyright notices, period. Basic copyright rules.

Yes, you should always use a standard format of some sort. But not using a standard format doesn't automatically invalidate it. 
Asking to keep your name in any derivative works like that is an okay and GPL-Compatible requirement, because such a requirement is already implicit both in the GPL and general copyright law. It is not an additional restriction on use or distribution as defined by the GPL. He may not frame it specifically in the realm of "copyright notice", but that doesn't invalidate it.

MIT is perfectly GPL-Compatible too, BTW.
Now, this could be considered a restriction if it was overly broad. For example, the original 4-clause BSD license had this line in it:

"All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must display the following acknowledgement: This product includes software developed by the <organization>."

This was not compatible, as such, because it went above and beyond basic copyright, requiring mentions of the copyright holder in subsequent advertising materials. It is an additional restriction that is not allowed.

But a simple "don't remove my name from the source code" is redundant, because it's implied in basic copyright law. You cannot simply steal other people's work and claim it as your own. Changing copyright notices is always wrong. The correct thing to do when making derivative works from somebody else's code is to add your own name, and to include a summary of the changes made and when you made them. This is actually a requirement of the GPL, in section 2a.


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