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

Lynne Pope lynne.pope at gmail.com
Sun Dec 14 11:02:24 GMT 2008

2008/12/14 Jennifer Hodgdon <yahgrp at poplarware.com>

> So if they start from a GPL theme as a starting point, and then use and
> modify that source code, it is a derivative work. Right?

If a GPL'd theme is used as a starting point for a theme then the new theme
is derived from the original and must also be licensed under the GPL, using
the version permitted by the original theme.

FWIW, there are not many themes on WP.org that actually comply with the GPL.
The GPL requires that developers must conspicuously and appropriately
publish on each copy distributed an appropriate copyright notice and
disclaimer of warranty and keep intact all the notices that refer to this
License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of
the Program a copy of the GNU General Public License along with the Program.
Few themes provide this. Some themes place additional restrictions, such as
leaving footer links, and these breach the GPL. Some are released under GPL
with the proviso that the theme cannot be sold - again, this breaches the
GPL because the GPL permits them to be sold (not just by the developer

There is at least one theme there that is licensed under GPL3 (
http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/wpfolio#post-716), yet GPL3 is not
compatible with GPL2 and cannot be used with GPL2. WordPress is GPL2.

Hopefully, when Matt & co. release their statement about the changes to the
themes repository they will also make it clearer about what they expect from
theme developers because at the moment there seems to be a whole heap of


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