[wp-hackers] Premium plugin protection

Chip Bennett chip at chipbennett.net
Sun Dec 12 20:29:04 UTC 2010

Opinions will vary, especially regarding the legal definition of "derivative
work" <http://bit.ly/c1WZ25>.

But what really matters is this point: while you may be within your legal
rights to distribute non-GPL WordPress Plugins/Themes, your legal right to
do so doesn't mean that the WordPress community has to welcome your exercise
of those rights. While I believe that Plugins do not inherently inherit the
WordPress GPL (unless a Plugin/Theme has actual incorporation of WordPress
core code), I likewise believe that the WordPress community has the right to
define its own ethos regarding the licensing of
WordPress-extending/dependent code.

Continuing to argue the question really is pointless. The opinion of no one
in the WordPress community - and especially those directly involved with the
Project - will change unless and/or until a case is taken to, and settled
in, court.

If you choose to distribute non-GPL Plugins, do so - but understand that in
so doing, you are effectively exiling yourself from the good graces of the
WordPress community.

And with that, I think I've used up my 16-characters' worth of


On Sun, Dec 12, 2010 at 5:38 AM, Andy Charrington-Wilden <
andycharrington at gmail.com> wrote:

> Ok that's what I was missing. My ignorance of gpl means I did not
> understand derivative works. Although it is still a bit grey as you say!
> I'm not sure of the relevance of the timing yourself comment....
> I think it's probably time to wrap this discussion up! I can feel a little
> tension building!
> A very interesting conversation with you all. Thank you for your help and
> advice!
> I'm off to research derivative works under the gpl. Fun!
> Thanks again.
> Sent from my iPhone
> On 12 Dec 2010, at 10:58, Ryan Bilesky <rbilesky at gmail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> Please correct me if I'm wrong but
> >>
> >> http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/about/
> >>
> >> Seems to imply that a plugin has to be gpl compatible to be hosted on
> .org.
> >> It does not say that a plugin not hosted on .org has to be gpl
> compatible.
> >> Does it?
> >
> >
> > The GPL license states that derivative works must be GPL licensed too.
> It
> > is a bit or a grey area though as to whether plugins and themes are
> > derivative works, the official stance is they are derivative works
> therefore
> > they must be GPL licensed, but as I have mentioned before that doesn't
> > necessarily make that so, an argument can be made for plugins and themes
> not
> > being derivative thus no requirements as to how they are licensed.
> >
> > Plugins and themes on the WPORG repo are a diffrent thing though because
> you
> > argree to make them GPL by submitting them, its hidden in the terms on
> that
> > page you linked to.
> >
> >
> >
> >> It seems that profiting from plugins is a bit of a taboo subject. Is
> this
> >> because it is genuinely frowned upon by the community or because it is
> >> actually against the ethos of wordpress. Which may be the same thing.
> >>
> > idk about that, there are many premium plugins and themes avalible and
> > I don't see that such is being frowned upon.
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