[wp-hackers] WordPress and 'LinkWare'

Petit petit at petitpub.com
Sat Sep 23 21:52:05 GMT 2006

Roy Schestowitz wrote:
> Not so long ago, links that are embedded in themes were discussed. 
> Particularly, links that went beyond crediting the author got flagged 
> as a possible 'grey area'. I just wanted to draw your attention to the 
> following item which has just reached NewsForge.
> Linkware licenses can go awry
> ,----[ Snippet ]
> | The other day I was browsing WordPress Planet and noticed a link to 31
> | free WordPress themes from WordPress Diva. Of course, the "free" is as
> | in beer, and the license requires that you display two links 
> embedded in
> | the theme "as long as the theme is in use." I don't mean to pick on 
> Diva
> | in particular, but I would like to illustrate why these sorts of
> | "linkware" licenses, or licenses requiring reciprocal links, can be a
> | bad idea.
> |
> | On the surface, it's not particularly onerous to ask a user to 
> provide a
> | link back to the person(s) who developed a theme or Web application.
> | WordPress Diva, for example, is providing some nice-looking themes,
> | and is only asking for a link back to theme's Web page and to another
> | site promoting furniture. They're tiny, unobtrusive links at the bottom
> | of the page, well out of the way. Why would this be a bad thing?
> `----
The article makes some very good points, especially about the volatile 
state of URL:s, and on the question of what
should be done, if I want to change the theme and then redistribute it - 
should the links stay?

I don't think that we, meaning wordpress.org or ditto.com, can set rules 
against linkware licensed themes or plugins.
Anyone is free to offer addons to WordPress with any license they fancy, 
as long as they are not offered as GPL'd.

The original question was, I believe, if wordpress.org or .com should 
promote themes with ( mandatory ) links, and
here we may well have a rule, not to do that. I think we shouldn't.

If themes or plugins are offered under the GPL, anyone is free to add or 
remove links, but the grey zone remains.
The problem here is that many users of a theme don't bother or doesn't 
know how to remove a link in the footer.
For the link back to the authors site, I like it to be there, so I can 
contact the author.


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