[wp-hackers] Re: Removal Of Over 200 Themes?

Joost de Valk joost at yoast.com
Fri Dec 12 20:13:55 GMT 2008

On 12 Dec 2008, at 20:57, Jeff Chandler wrote:

> So to get this straight, it is perfectly acceptable for someone to  
> sell a wordpress theme and make a business out of it but it is not  
> acceptable to state that the work, or the links within the work can  
> not be modified and redistributed? How many different ways can a  
> theme author violate the GPL while trying to make a business out of  
> it? I bet Brian Gardner is happy with his decision to bypass the GPL  
> mess and just base his business model through support packages and  
> what have you.

Remember that all of this has never been tested in court and probably  
WILL not be tested in court. The premium theme space created one of  
the first ways for developers to make REAL money with WordPress. As a  
plugin author, I know that there is hardly ANY money in developing  
open source plugins. With almost 25 plugins in the repository myself,  
I get a max of about $100 a month in donations. That wouldn't be  
enough to maintain those plugins if I did it for the money (I don't,  
let's get that straight, although I appreciate the donations and they  
do help).

Brian Gardner's new model is probably better, but I doubt it'll make  
him as much money.  In my opinion, it would be cool if the WordPress  
community and / or Automattic could make a method in which plugin  
authors could earn a bit more money writing open source plugins. That  
would probably help people keeping up longer, but I know from  
experience how hard that is.

I've been a committer in Apple's WebKit project since the very  
beginning of the project, and the Macbook Pro I'm typing this message  
on was  a gift from Apple, almost 3 years ago. Automattic is even  
better to its core contributors, it usually hires them it seems ;)

What I'm really trying to say, I think, is that it'd be good if it  
were easier to actually make MONEY with WordPress, but on the other  
hand, that goes for just about anything on the internet :)

(to clarify: I myself make enough money doing other things, so I  
wouldn't need the money, I'm just saying this because I think it'd  
help the progress of WordPress as a community. The premium themes, our  
prime example, have really pushed theme development forward IMHO.)


> Otto wrote:
>> On Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 1:20 PM, Jeremy Visser <jeremy.visser at gmail.com 
>> > wrote:
>>> Slightly off-topic, but a little aside
>>> The most awesome part of the WordPress copyright situation: that the
>>> copyright holders are us -- each and every one of us that has
>>> contributed code to WordPress. If Matt grew two horns and wanted  
>>> to make
>>> WordPress proprietary, he would have to get written permission from
>>> every single person who has ever contributed code _ever_ to  
>>> WordPress.
>>> (Good luck with that. :-D)
>> Depends on the use case. For a open source project like WP, it's
>> basically a "collective work", or a "compilation" under copyright  
>> law.
>> The individual patches are copyrighted by their authors, and are
>> derivative works of the WP project. But when you put them together
>> with the original work, then it becomes a compilation. And under US
>> copyright law, the person creating a compilation has copyright in the
>> organization of the material (plus any material he contributed, of
>> course).
>> This seems odd at first, but think of it this way: the act of putting
>> the two things together (old version + patch = new version) creates a
>> new derivative work with a separate copyright.
>> So while nobody could make WP proprietary, the copyright of the
>> project for the purposes of licensing litigation does rest with
>> whoever is the person or group committing the patches into the
>> project.
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