[wp-hackers] Premium plugin protection

Eric Mann eric at eam.me
Tue Dec 14 15:22:26 UTC 2010

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 8:11 PM, Vid Luther <vid at zippykid.com> wrote:
> Just to be a pedantic ass... it's open source, that's why you can do it,
> not because it's GPL :).
> It could be BSD license, or Apache, or PHP, or MIT.. and you could still
> do it... technically speaking of course.

Open Source != GPL and that's important to remember.

GPL'd code requires that the original source be made available to all
recipients in "the preferred form of the work for making modifications to
it."  I've quoted this before, but perhaps you've missed it.  So let me say
this as clearly as possible: *obfuscated/encrypted code is NOT the preferred
form of the work for making modifications to it!*
Code that is licensed under the terms of and compliant with the GPL must
have the non-obfuscated version available.  Themes being distributed by
organizations who refuse to respond to email, send support requests to a
black hole, and use obfuscated/encrypted code to install malware on your
site are *not following the terms of the license they're claiming gives them
the right to re-distribute these themes.  Any attempt to defend that
practice is, frankly, insulting to those of us who actually do follow the
*But you are right, you do have the right to remove this code under the GPL
and because the project is open source.  However, there are open source
licenses that allow for code modification and redistribution without requiring
that you make the non-obfuscated versions available.  The MIT is actually a
very good license in that situation because you can use it for JavaScript,
distribute only the minified version, and still use the code in GPL projects
(the MIT license is GPL compatible).*
*Please remember, though, that GPL'd software follows a much more
restrictive license and set of rules than generic "open source."  *

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