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WordPress and GPL – A Discussion

WPTavern has posted an interesting discussion in the form of a chat transcript pertaining to the issues surrounding GPL(and Non-GPL) licensing of WordPress themes. If you are a theme creator, or just have an interest in the legal aspects of GPL licensing of WordPress themes, I’d recommend checking it out.

It’s a fairly informal discussion between Ryan Hellyer (of and an unnamed “specialist in copyright law”. And while Ryan freely admits to not knowing whether what this “specialist” says is true or not, the discussion is pretty interesting.

They get into some details that often seem to be overlooked when discussing GPL licensing, such as having a copyright to the design of a theme separate from the backend code, and beach of contract issues. Law geeks will probably get the most of out it, but it’s not too full of legalese, so most people should be able to follow it if they are interested to learn more about the subject.

Take it all with a grain of salt though, since the “specialist” is unnamed, and his opinion is just that, HIS opinion.

That said, what are YOUR thoughts on the matter of GPL and Non-GPL licensed themes?

Categories: Opinion, WordPress News

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  1. Ryan ) says: 5/22/2009

    Yeah, definitely don’t take this as legal advice. It’s just an impromptu chat on the topic. I’m not even sure if he has read the GPL license in detail.


  2. Beagle says: 5/23/2009

    Yes, it was just my opinion, and no, I haven’t read the license in detail.

    That was really my main point – if the license actually applies at all, then I’m sure whatever it says is perfectly clear and we can all go home.

    But just because I say something applies, doesn’t mean it does. I can claim that by rights all of Microsoft’s money is actually mine. Doesn’t make it true.

    If want to tell you what you can and cannot do with a design, then they need to have some sort of claim over it. Saying that they have a claim over it isn’t good enough.



  3. watches says: 5/25/2009

    why? i always think every coin has two sides.wordpress is good in some aspects,and the other ,too.i usually use a lot of webs of either.


  4. Massachusetts certified pilots says: 9/24/2009

    my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght at the end there, not leave it with �we leave it to you to decide�.


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