[kwlug-disc] Wordpress themes must be GPL

Lori Paniak ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com
Sat Jul 24 18:10:47 EDT 2010


On Sat, 2010-07-24 at 17:46 -0400, Darcy Casselman wrote:
> On Sat, Jul 24, 2010 at 5:38 PM, Insurance Squared Inc.
> <gcooke at insurancesquared.com> wrote:
> > The folks at wordpress got into a twitter/interview/blogosphere argument
> > with the developer of this theme, suggesting that because of the theme's
> > association with wordpress, which is GPL, that therefore the theme must also
> > be GPL (instead of $89 or whatever it was that he was charging.  I think I
> > paid $150).
> 
> Semantic quibbling, perhaps, but I take some issue with the "instead
> of."  There's nothing in the GPL that says you can't charge for your
> work.  It just says that you must allow people to use, share,
> understand and adapt the technology.
> 
> Allowing those freedoms makes it hard to force people to pay you,
> sure, but I bristle at the idea that free software is a free lunch.
> This guy should be applauded and rewarded for doing the right thing.
> 
> Darcy.
> 

There is nothing wrong with paying for GPL software.  I do it and I know
many of you do as well through the F/LOSS Fund and direct cash donations
to projects.  This doesn't even take into account people donating their
time, effort and hardware to projects for development.  There are many
ways to "pay".

It sounds like Mr. Pearson made an error in assuming that he could
appropriate the creative works of the Wordpress project for his own
profit.  If he wanted to protect the closed nature (and cash-generating
capacity) of his theme, he should have worked out an alternative
licensing scheme with the Wordpress project.  It is no different than
selling a application that includes a warez copy of MS XP.  Except, that
instead of facing a big fine and jail time, all the open source
community demands is that the GPL be respected.  How civilized - and no
lawyers!
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