[wp-hackers] Plugin Licensing

William P. Davis will.davis at gmail.com
Sun Mar 13 17:50:17 UTC 2011

Example: Akismet. The plugin is open-source but the actual spam detection is done on Akismet servers, therefore it is a service and not required to be open source. (Also, it's not a derivative of WP that way). If you want to make money, you can build a plugin that connects to your api and then charge for access to the api. I'm building a plugin right now that does exactly that, although it also includes a library so you can fully self-host if you wish (and I think that is the absolute right way to do it). WP is supposed to be bigger than any one person — you can branch trunk or any plugin or theme to make necessary changes or make it better. I've done it with other peoples' plugins and I hope people do it with mine. Without that sort of culture WP will quickly fall behind and will see the lack of innovation most proprietary CMSes are known for. 
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-----Original Message-----
From: Blue Chives <info at bluechives.com>
Sender: wp-hackers-bounces at lists.automattic.com
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2011 13:41:16 
To: <wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com>
Reply-To: wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com
Subject: Re: [wp-hackers] Plugin Licensing

On 13 Mar 2011, at 13:28, Piyush Mishra wrote:

> On Sun, Mar 13, 2011 at 6:21 PM, Chip Bennett <chip at chipbennett.net> wrote:
>> On Sun, Mar 13, 2011 at 5:56 AM, Piyush Mishra <me at piyushmishra.com>
>> wrote:
>>> I don't think you got the whole idea as I was trying to put it. The
>> source
>>> code remains open source and ready to contribute for people who already
>> do
>>> that and it will always be. Why would WordPress close its source anyway?
>>> Its about those people who write plugins and go all heights to make it
>> paid
>>> only. They will have to pay WordPress community back in cash.
>>> A lot of us pay back to the community in one way or the other.
>>> But there are those who extend WordPress and sell their plugins.
>>> Check this out:-
>>> http://www.gravityforms.com/terms-and-conditions/
>>> try getting the latest version of gforms and this one
>>> http://www.gravityhelp.com/forums/topic/is-it-gpl (yes its true, css
>> files
>>> aren't covered).
>>> My point is as WordPress users get helpless in such situations. we should
>>> keep dual license to take care of that or take some action
>>> (copyright infringement / demand giving php files out for free)
>>> The GPL does not preclude the selling of GPL-licensed code; in fact, it
>> explicitly permits it. You have no legal (or moral) right to "demand" that
>> they give their PHP files away for free.
>> There is absolutely nothing whatsoever wrong with what the GravityForms
>> folks are doing.
> Nope there is. as plugins donot interact only as a fork process to
> WordPress, GPL sees it as a part of the software and thus, they are legally
> bound to release their source code in public making it equally easy to
> obtain as they have made the paid version (stripped off of the css n images)

They are required to distribute the code to those they supply and they are required to not restrict their freedoms.  If however it was a hosted service they won't need to supply the source code as it would be a service being supplied.

There is no requirement for them to distribute the code for free nor to make it easy for someone to obtain it for free.  However if I so choice they can not stop me giving away or charging for the GPL code.  That is the freedom the GPL gives me.    However I must also supply the source code and not restrict the freedoms of those I supply.

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