[kwlug-disc] Wordpress themes must be GPL

Khalid Baheyeldin kb at 2bits.com
Thu Jul 29 13:02:32 EDT 2010


On Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 12:50 PM, R. Brent Clements <rbclemen at gmail.com>wrote:

> I just re-read the GPL v3 quickly, and I see nothing about being
> obligated to anyone other than the entities I directly conveyed the
> work to.  I understand that in a feel-good, share-and-share-alike
> world that is all very feel good and all, but it is the line that
> divides.  If RMS was required to give away copies in order to have the
> right to sell them that would be completely different.  In my example
> above the nominal cost of receiving a copy of my source from me is
> $100, and I will throw in a free copy of the binaries and related
> data.
>
> >From the licence:
> --begin cut
> 6. Conveying Non-Source Forms.
> You may convey a covered work in object code form under the terms of
> sections 4 and 5, provided that you also convey the machine-readable
> Corresponding Source under the terms of this License, in one of these
> ways:
> a) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product
> (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by the
> Corresponding Source fixed on a durable physical medium customarily
> used for software interchange.
> b) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product
> (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a written
> offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as long as you
> offer spare parts or customer support for that product model, to give
> anyone who possesses the object code either (1) a copy of the
> Corresponding Source for all the software in the product that is
> covered by this License, on a durable physical medium customarily used
> for software interchange, for a price no more than your reasonable
> cost of physically performing this conveying of source, or (2) access
> to copy the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge.
>
> --end cut
>
> Key part there is obligated to give the source to those who possess
> the object code
> And from what I can tell including the source only with the original
> distribution is perfectly legit under the GPL
>
> Obviously my 10 customers could decide to redistribute the contents of
> the medium in any way they see fit, but if they don't copy the whole
> package including the source to their "customers" they are modifying
> the work and would have to cover the cost of distributing the source
> themselves.
>

Look at this:

"... to give ANYONE WHO POSSESSES THE OBJECT CODE either (1) a copy
of the Corresponding Source for all the software in the product that is
covered by
this License, ... , or (2) access  to copy the Corresponding Source from a
network server at no charge."

First, if you are distributing PHP or Ruby or Python, then it is already
source code.

But regardless, if you sell the binary form to anyone, the license allows
that person
to give the binary to anyone they want to share with. Then that third person
can ask
you for the source code and you are obliged to give it to them.

So, third parties can ask for the source code, and you have to make it
available.

If you are using the GPL code internally only for tools and such, then this
is not
distributing, and you are not obliged to give anyone access to it. The
trigger is
"distribution", including selling, sharing, ...etc.
-- 
Khalid M. Baheyeldin
2bits.com, Inc.
http://2bits.com
Drupal optimization, development, customization and consulting.
Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. --  Edsger W.Dijkstra
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. --   Leonardo da Vinci
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