[wp-hackers] Copyright violations by plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.

Jared Bangs jared at pacific22.com
Fri Jun 27 22:10:43 GMT 2008

Interesting points from Austin. Just out of curiosity and for my own
education, I'm interested in specific thoughts on the following

1. It's my understanding that the GPL carries / implies NO requirement
for attribution in derivative works (as Austin mentions), so I'm
unclear as to what the allegation is as it relates to that.

2. The closest thing that *might* apply would be the section that
references ""keeping intact all the notices that refer to this
License,", so that if the source contained an original reference to
the license, written by the original author, subsequent copiers may be
obliged to keep that. However, I just downloaded the robots-meta
plugin, and can find no such references for anyone to "keep intact",
so I think you're out of luck there as well.

Granted, it's a crappy thing to do, and giving attribution would
certainly be the *RIGHT* thing to do, and any considerate developer
should do it, especially in a case of exact copying like this.

The problem is that I don't think there's any technical violation of
the GPL or anything else here; just a breach of etiquette. I think you
might need a bit more than that before you start talking about
take-down notices, etc.

- Jared

On Fri, Jun 27, 2008 at 2:33 PM, Austin Matzko <if.website at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 27, 2008 at 5:03 PM, Joost de Valk <joost at joostdevalk.nl> wrote:
>> On Jun 27, 2008, at 10:58 PM, Alex King wrote:
>>> http://opensource.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.php
>>> MODIFICATION likely apply here.
>> Yup, think so too. (though IANAL) what's a man to do?
> I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, just (apparently) ignorant:
> which are the lines that forbid 1) copying without attribution and 2)
> not notifying the original developer?
> In the sections Alex King points to, I see requirements that the
> derived work must maintain license compatibility with the GPL, which
> this ripoff plugin has done explicitly.
> On Fri, Jun 27, 2008 at 5:03 PM, Dan Coulter <dan at dancoulter.com> wrote:
>> The original author of the code holds the copyright, and the GPL states that
>> you must maintain the copyright notices of the code that you use.
> The closest thing I can find to that is that one must "keep intact all
> the notices that refer to this License," which isn't quite the same,
> and is obeyed by the ripoff in invoking the GPL.  Could you quote the
> section you had in mind?
> It's also worth pointing out that there are no notices of copyright in
> Joost de Valk's code available at
> http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/robots-meta/, so even if your
> interpretation is correct the ripoff has nothing to maintain.
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