[wp-hackers] Premium plugin protection

Ryan Bilesky rbilesky at gmail.com
Sun Dec 12 07:45:26 UTC 2010

On Sat, Dec 11, 2010 at 6:38 PM, Mike Schinkel
<mikeschinkel at newclarity.net>wrote:

> I'm going to start with the postulate that all plugins for WordPress must
> be GPL.  Matt has taken that position, many people in the WordPress
> community have agreed, and the SFLC has backed him up with their opinions.
> So we'll run with that as a given.
I am going to disagree with you on this point.  plugins in the repository
must be GPL per the repo terms, however the argument can be made that a
plugin (or a theme, because alot of themes choose Creative Commons
License to require an attribution link to be displayed in the footer) is not
a derivative work.  Now that's not to say I think that GPL isn't a
requirement, I personally have no idea as I don't know enough about GPL and
the law to say.

Now the FSF, Matt, and many people in the Wordpress community may say a
plugin or theme does constitute a derivative work.  However, any person's or
organisation's opinion on that doesn't really matter, what matters is how
the courts interpret derivative work.  AFAIK I've never heard of a court
setting a precedent in this area but its not like I've researched this

I just wanted to point out that that's not necessarily a given.  For
example, if I write a plugin and I decide to license it under RPL (Ryan's
Public License) which is a proprietary license I made for this project which
restricts many of these "freedoms" GPL offers, the only way around that
would to get a court to say its a derivative work of a GPL product and
therefore must explicitly be GPL to be in compliance with licensing
restrictions.  Now this is at least how I understand licensing and the law,
ect.  But I could very well be wrong, its not like I'm a lawyer or ever been
to law school.

But that point isn't such a given its too unclear.  And AFAIK that means (at
least in the US) it's up to the interpretation of the court.

Now I'm not trying to start an argument about this or anything, I just
wanted to point out that it's not necessarily a given.

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