[wp-hackers] Plugin Licensing
andycharrington at gmail.com
Tue Mar 15 22:53:24 UTC 2011
I think at the end of the day there is no clear cut answer. Do what you plan to do, just beware of the potential backlash from the community. Until someone goes to court over whether or not plugins and themes are derivatives of WordPress we will never know. In a way it makes me wish thesis had held out and gone to court as Matt threatened. I don't really wish that on anyone but at least we would have had some clearer answers....
This list is not the place to find the answer though.
Sent from my iPhone
On 15 Mar 2011, at 20:40, Iain Cambridge <backie at backie.org> wrote:
> I just had to point out your quote from US copyright law at the start
> of the page pretty much cancelled your whole argument. The key
> adjectives: recast, transformed, and adapted. A plugin or theme
> doesn't do any of the following to the core code.
> Adapt - to make suitable to requirements or conditions; adjust or
> modify fittingly:
> Recast - to remodel or reconstruct (a literary work, document,sentence, etc.).
> Transform - to change in form, appearance, or structure; metamorphose.
> - to change in condition, nature, or character; convert.
> - to change into another substance; transmute.
> Simply put, to say my code is a derivative of someone elses because
> it calls a function that someone else has has defined is just crazy in
> my eyes. I can have 1000 lines of code and only 1 of them being
> add_action and all of a sudden it's gotta be GPL? Nah don't think so.
> What if someone else also creates a function called add_action does
> that automaticaly become a derivative ?
> Also people seem to think FSF and SFLC are always right, bad news they
> aren't they have opinions like other people do and until a judge
> agrees with them they are just as wrong as we are. Also have to note
> that WordPress Fondation haven't taken legal action againist non GPL
> plugins. Could this because the GPL can't apply to the WordPress core
> due to non GPL compatible code  and copyrighted lyrics? But none of
> this really matters because chances of a case going to court for not
> being GPL compliant is slim to none.
>  http://core.trac.wordpress.org/export/17521/trunk/wp-includes/class-simplepie.php
> On 15 March 2011 19:08, Chip Bennett <chip at chipbennett.net> wrote:
>> Heh. I practically wrote a book  on copyright case law and its
>> applicability to GPL.
>> The problem is, the argument has been hashed and re-hashed ad nauseum, on
>> the hackers mailing list and elsewhere. Arguing it again is not going to
>> change anyone's mind (especially on this mailing list). That's why I try my
>> best not to engage in arguing the merits here anymore. Nothing fruitful will
>> come of it.
>> (Catch me in a more appropriate venue, on the other hand, and I'll discuss
>> and debate it to your heart's content.)
>> On Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 1:59 PM, Trent Martin <trentmar at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> There have actually been many, many court cases regarding derivative works.
>>> A derivative work is a work that partially contains someone else's work. My
>>> code is 100% my own and because I don't distribute WordPress with my
>>> I am not bound by the GPL. My product is combined with WordPress by the end
>>> user, which the end user is allowed to do; the GPL doesn't even come into
>>> For something to be a derivative work it must be a work in the first place;
>>> a work that is separate from the original work. A work is a fixed medium
>>> can distribute to others, a user installing a plugin that mixes in RAM with
>>> WordPress is simply not a work. I can sell a case for an iPhone that
>>> completely depends on the shape and size of the phone, but my case is
>>> certainly not a derivative work.
>>> Further the GPL plainly and explicitly states that “You may make, run and
>>> propagate covered works that you do not convey, without conditions.” In
>>> other words, if you accept the GPL you are not bound to any conditions as
>>> long as you do not convey (distribute) the work to others. An end user is
>>> clearly allowed to modify WordPress for his or her own use and the fact
>>> they do it themselves, pay someone to do it, or by purchasing code from
>>> someone else it doesn't make a difference because none of these constitute
>>> violation of the copyright law or the GPL.
>>> The biggest argument I see is that plugins completely depend on WordPress
>>> and it's inner workings. However, books about WordPress also have this same
>>> requirement and they are not derivative works. Dependency does not define a
>>> derivative work.
>>> On Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 12:43 PM, Andy Charrington-Wilden <
>>> andycharrington at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> [...]However, I accept that the WordPress community has rightfully
>>>> own ethos with respect to acceptable licensing of WordPress Plugins and
>>>> That hits the nail on the head. Without any actual court cases happening
>>>> one really knows the legality of derivative works. The whole thesis
>>>> went a step closer to defining it but I think all it really proved was
>>>> power and influence Matt has.
>>>> I'm all for good ethics and morals but unfortunately it is a fact that
>>>> are not always conducive to making a living.
>>>> For what it's worth my solution was to build a hosted service. No one
>>>> downloads or even sees my code so there's no worries about people
>>>> it and reselling. Whilst this solution works for me I understand that it
>>>> doesn't solve the larger issue if licensing and derivative works.
>>>> I think this will keep producing massive threads until either something
>>>> changes within automatic or a case goes to court......
>>>> Jealous Designs
>>>> Website: jealousdesigns.co.uk
>>>> Portfolio: jealousdesigns.co.uk/portfolio
>>>> Phone: 07903030008
>>>> Twitter: _a_n_d_y
>>>> Skype: andycharrington
>>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>> On 15 Mar 2011, at 18:08, Chip Bennett <chip at chipbennett.net> wrote:
>>>>> However, I accept that the WordPress community has rightfully defined
>>>>> own ethos with respect to acceptable licensing of WordPress Plugins and
>>>> wp-hackers mailing list
>>>> wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com
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