Notice for WordPress Theme and Plugin Developers

themespluginsdbJust wanted to pass some info along to all of you budding theme developers.  Your themes need to be licensed under GPL.

Well, okay, part of them.  According to this article from WordPress the php and html in your themes are GPL because WordPress itself is under the GPL.  However, the css files and any images in your theme do not technically need to be licensed under the GPL.  Talk about a monkey wrench!

What that means is technically you could pull off a case where you can hold all the rights to your css and image files to control the php and html.  Now, I’m not a lawyer by any stretch of the imagination (and the only area I know something about is music copyright law), but that seems to be really tricky.

As an aside, this is really only a problem for premium themes and plugins.  Because the php and html are derivative works of WordPress, you must follow the GPL.  That does not mean that you cannot charge for your time, effort, and distribution of the themes or plugins.  But you have to allow for the provisions of the GPL; namely, your code must be available, and anyone else can modify and/or distribute the code without permission.

Ah, the new world of copyright and license.  For me, I’ve spent a good amount of time coding, tweaking, and testing my WordPress Creations.  And while I do agree that open is better, I would like the option to get something back for my effort.

Do you all have any thoughts?  Any arguments for or against?

Edit: Well, it seems the crux of the argument is what constitues a derivative work of WordPress.  This article details the problem.  Thanks to Andrei from Softblog for the link.

4 Comments

    • Thanks for the link. I'm reading the article as I'm writing this. I could see it a bit before, but it does seem as the big question in the legal arena is what is a derivative work of WordPress? Thanks again.

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