[wp-hackers] General consensus of "Premium Theme" concept

Jacob Santos wordpress at santosj.name
Thu Mar 20 15:18:30 GMT 2008

While reading the GPL and FAQ, I've come to the conclusion that in order 
to legally, without any ambiguously edge cases, is to just release your 
code dual licensed or at least one that allows the user to legally use 
your code in GPL environment.

I think the big issue is that, for the user, your license stands above 
all. So if you have CC with links back and the user removes that because 
the code is now under the GPL, then they've violated your license in 
order to be compatible with the GPL. You have to say in your license 
that it is okay to use your plugin or theme under GPL if and only if the 
original license is not violated.

If you were going to release your theme with WordPress (officially or 
unofficially) then it would have to be GPL.

Also, since the majority of the theme uses the code in WordPress and is 
loaded as WordPress, the code will have to have a GPL compatible license 
in order to be distributed. You can still dual license YOUR code, but in 
order to be completely legal, you would have to build a bridge that 
disassociates your code from the WordPress code. WordPress automatically 
includes functions.php, therefore you can license functions.php in your 
theme any way you want, so basically, the user is paying for 
functions.php and the design.

You can still like sell your code with dual license, but as soon as it 
hits the WordPress execution, it will become GPL code with its 
restrictions on what your license can legally restrict and still be 
compatible with GPL. Meaning, if you have a requirement that a link goes 
back to your site, then it may or may not be enforceable. However, if 
you have a license that states that the user can not redistribute the 
code, then the other license would take effect, Since the first license 
should take precedence, because you are the copyright holder and 
therefore have a say on how your other code is distributed.

That is what I got from the FAQ, possible loopholes, and discussion. The 
fact remains clear that all code that works with WordPress must at least 
be compatible with GPL in some way. Anything else is borderline with 
legal speak.

Glenn Ansley wrote:
> Thanks for the replies.
> I regularly take freelance jobs for clients that involve charging for theme
> / plugin development.
> The reason I asked this question was to get a feel for buisness models like
> wpremix_com, premiumthemes_net, or premiumnewstheme_com (of which I have no
> affiliation).
> Part of me wants to capitalize on such a model, the other part of me wants
> to avoid it altogether and generate revenue on donations or requests for
> proposals from the traffic.
> I guess it all goes back to what one's primary goal for developing under the
> WP platform is: money or contribution to the community. Maybe it's not so
> black and white, but thanks for the responses anyway.
> Glenn
> On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 8:36 PM, Jeremy Visser <jeremy.visser at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> On Wed, 2008-03-19 at 17:01 -0400, Glenn Ansley wrote:
>>> What is the general consensus among the members of this list concerning
>>> premium themes and plugins for sale? *
>> Way to start a flamewar. :-P
>> --
>> Jeremy Visser                                 http://jeremy.visser.name/
>> ()                           ascii ribbon campaign — against HTML e-mail
>> /\                                               http://asciiribbon.org/
>> _______________________________________________
>> wp-hackers mailing list
>> wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com
>> http://lists.automattic.com/mailman/listinfo/wp-hackers
> _______________________________________________
> wp-hackers mailing list
> wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com
> http://lists.automattic.com/mailman/listinfo/wp-hackers


Jacob Santos

http://www.santosj.name - blog
http://funcdoc.wordpress.com - WordPress Documentation Blog/Guide Licensed under GPLv2

Also known as darkdragon and santosj on WP trac.

More information about the wp-hackers mailing list