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

Jeff Chandler jeffro at jeffro2pt0.com
Sat Dec 13 04:38:21 GMT 2008

"A clear position statement by WP.org would clear matters up so everyone knew where they stood."

Couldn't agree more. I've talked with a number of theme developers so far and also I've seen on the BlogHerald that more news about the theme removals will be published soon. My hope is that this news includes a post by Matt where he clearly states what the guidelines are, where he and the project stands in terms of GPL and what will and won't be tolerable for themes that opt to be paid for. At least then, we will have something to fall back on and perhaps much of the waters surrounding themes and GPL will become a much  less talked about debate.

Lynne Pope wrote:
> 2008/12/13 Matt <speedboxer at gmail.com>
>> On Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 6:18 PM, DD32 <wordpress at dd32.id.au> wrote:
>>>> Why is a theme considered a derivative work of WordPress, if it is
>>> released separately, but dependent on WordPress?
>>> Because it relies upon WordPress, A Derivative work does not need to be
>>> distributed with the parent, mearly rely upon it.
>> You could actually make a theme that wouldn't be a derivative. By not
>> using any template functions, and "simply" getting everything directly
>> from the database. Which would mean it could operate without WordPress
>> (it would need a WordPress-styled database, but that really has
>> nothing to do with licenses) and would not be a derivative. That
>> would, of course, be a PITA, but you could do it if you wanted to sell
>> a non-GPL-compat theme.
> There is still disagreement, even within the FSF, over whether a simple API
> call creates a derivative work. Some GPL projects take the position that it
> does, some take an opposite view. Both are right in terms of their own
> projects because the copyright holder has the right to enforce their license
> as they see fit (although, keeping within the clear terms of the GPL
> itself). Without case law to determine exactly what makes a derivative work
> the debates over GPL are going to continue to take up far more time than
> they should, and cause more angst in FOSS communities. Shame.
> Templates have traditionally been seen as outside the scope of the GPL.
> See: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#WMS
> WordPress themes usually consist of (X)HTML, CSS, images, and often include
> JavaScript. They do not necessarily use the JavaScript libraries that are
> included within WP (which are not GPL anyway). Many WP themes can also stand
> alone as static HTML templates simply by removing the WP functions. I
> suspect many are even designed at the outset as static templates with the WP
> function calls added later. It's also possible to build a WP theme without
> using any WP function calls at all, by using functions.php as a bridge
> between WP and the theme.
> IANAL, and am also not a seller of WP themes, but I do not believe that WP
> themes are necessarily derivative or have to be licensed under the GPL. A
> clear position statement by WP.org would clear matters up so everyone knew
> where they stood.
> Lynne
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