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Good ethics? (38 posts)

  1. barbarac
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I would like your advice on something folks.

    My new site (www.cafegeek.com/home) is based on the Kubrick template. I had so much fun playing with the changes that I'd like to design new themes for other users.

    • At which point does a template based on a template become my own?
    • I am happy to give credit for work that I will base mine on, what is the prefferred method?
  2. Lorelle
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    There is a lot of debate about this, but in the most simplist of terms, if it doesn't resemble the original, if you honestly can't recognize it, then it's a new template. But giving credit for the home team that got you there, that is up to you but seriously, and I mean seriously, encouraged.

    Those with good hearts and minds typically say something like "based upon Kubrick" with a link. Those without.....who cares about them anyway. They're trash bloggers! ;-)

    If you've just changed the fonts, widened or narrowed it, and gave it new colors and a header, it's still Kubrick. If you took away the wasted real estate on the side borders, put the sidebar on the other side, put the footer on top and the header on the bottom....you know where I'm going...then it's yours.

  3. Jinsan
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    What Manji did, and what I really like, is to recognise other designs based on Manji as flavours. I think this is something that perhaps could be used as a method to provide credit for the original author in addition to crediting the new design to the current user. I've seen designs that have ripped to shreds the original Kubrick and turned the whole thing upside down, and yet these people still give credit where credit is due.

    I like your design and I think it's obvious to those that have seen kubrick to know it' kubrick, but it's distinctive enough to call your own. There's plenty of space in the CSS to add as many credits as you want. You can right a book if you want.

    You could have, for example:

    CafeGeek Theme by: Your name
    Author URI: Your domain
    Description: blah blah

    Below it you can add:

    Based on Michael H.... Kubrick Theme
    Theme URI: http:///bl;ah blah
    Author: Blah
    Descriptionm: blah.

    Really you only need to place your work part in the CSS with no need to modify the Kubrick element. Addtionally a link back is always welcome and appreciated.

    As for when is a theme you've modified your own, well, I asked that very same question - the theme I did was uite different to the original, and almost unreocgnisable I guess, at the same time, I still credited the author, because I didn't do the theme from scratch. A theme you take and modify is never wholly your own, but the distinction of when it is your own is up for debate and varies from person to person. Use your judgement, be sensible and fair and you won't go far wrong

  4. barbarac
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Very cool.

    Yeah I'm going to create a credit page soon, with credit to the template and also folks on this site who've helped me with coding issues.

    Cheers
    rob

  5. Copyright law requires that a template should be 10% different before you can call it your own. But the WordPress Community would prefer (and will strictly advocate) that the template must at least 50% different before calling it your own. For an example of 50% difference, see Kubrick: http://binarybonsai.com/kubrick
    and Mallow (based off of Kubrick): http://www.somefoolwitha.com/mallow/

  6. Mark (podz)
    Support Maven
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I think % is taking things a bit far .... and the number of ways you could measure that would mean arguments anyway.

  7. iand
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    the template must at least 50% different before calling it your own
    Are we talking css or code here? The layout I use was originally for drupal, but I converted it to WP. So the css and images are mostly the original authors, but the php is mine.

  8. notthatugly
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Where exactly does this 'legality requires the template be 10% different' thing come from -- and, as podz asks, how on earth would it be measured? It's straightforward enough to measure whether PHP code is 10% different -- just do a diff -- but you can make a theme look completely different by changing a lot less code than that. Conversely, you could mess with the xhtml and php but leave the css intact -- it'd look the same, but the amount of fiddling with invisible stuff might qualify you to call it a new theme. The GPL model simply doesn't fit how most people evaluate templates. We don't look at the source code to judge how derivative a theme is; we look at the output. And I'd be hard put by either standard to call a two-col centred fixed-width theme with a nice header 50% different from the next two-col centred fixed-width theme with a nice header.

    Anyway, the fact that the original poster cared enough to ask about this issue means they should be OK.

  9. Where exactly does this 'legality requires the template be 10% different' thing come from?

    It's copyright law. I figure that it's a good standard to live by when making derivatives, but I personally prefer 50% difference. I've edited my post for clarity.

  10. the template must at least 50% different before calling it your own
    Are we talking css or code here?

    According to past debates, the 50% difference has to be visual. Such as the case of Kubrick vs. Mallow, or Kubrick vs. Wuhan.

  11. prissed
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    When crediting others, I like the 50% difference.

    When people credit me, I'd be happy with the 10% difference.

    [rant]
    ...changing colors and border-style is not a friggin' 10% difference...
    [/rant]

  12. Mark (podz)
    Support Maven
    Posted 9 years ago #

    % ...

    49% / 51% ?
    How to measure ? By who ? Looking at the main page / comments / archives / single post ? And who stops the author doing what they want anyway ? (No-one can)

  13. notthatugly
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    That's the problem. I don't see how you can possibly measure something as subjective as 'does this site look like this site?' in percentages. Most of us can spot a ripoff and pinpoint what's been lifted from the other design, but I don't know how you'd begin to classify that in numerical terms (or why that would be useful).

  14. Root
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    It is very good of the original poster to even bother to ask. Generally left to their own devices WP users are more than generous in this respect. There are different shades of credit. Someone may not (in your opinion) merit a link on the front but you could put them in the CSS comments or on a credits page on the blog. No one is going to criticise much anyway. Do your own thing. Good luck and welcome to WordPress.

  15. Kafkaesqui

    Posted 9 years ago #

    Since Kubrick is released under the GPL, why not just follow its guidelines:

    http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html

    >>>
    2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

    a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.

  16. notthatugly
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I wonder how many theme developers are actually bothering to annotate every template they edit with the date and details of their modifications. So many of the supposedly GPL ones don't even bother to state the licence (is that legal?)

  17. piginzen
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    macmanx,

    where did you find this 10% law?

    i studied music business in college and took a bunch of copyright law (mainly music) classes... and that doesn't sound familiar.

    it is however very curious.

    any insight would be great!

    thanks

  18. Jinsan
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I think that 10% was plucked out of thin air...

  19. I think that 10% was plucked out of thin air...

    ::memo to self:: Past and present experience proves that this forum is filled with jack-asses who would rather accuse than do their own research. Isn't it wonderful how I always get singled out? Why do I even bother? Good ethics? What a joke. Thank you Jinsan, you've given me good cause to take at least a week's vacation from here.

  20. Kafkaesqui

    Posted 9 years ago #

    macmanx: Actually, I consider myself fairly knowledgable on copyright law, and even I had to go "huh?" I know of the 10 percent rule for fair use, but not anything on the issue of modifications to a copyrighted product.

  21. Kaf, I was just using it as a guideline. I said it up in the post that everyone is ignoring. The part about "I figure that it's a good standard to live by when making derivatives."

    Anywho, I'm taking my week's vacation starting now. Let the shit fly. That's what these forums are good for anyways.

  22. Kafkaesqui

    Posted 9 years ago #

    notthatugly:
    "I wonder how many theme developers are actually bothering to annotate every template they edit with the date and details of their modifications."

    I suspect not as many as there should be.

    "So many of the supposedly GPL ones don't even bother to state the licence (is that legal?)"

    Copyright is implied in a created work, but any license requirements should be stated (explicitly!). However, copyright normally trumps licensing, and in the case of no specified license (or release to public domain), one should go back to the original author on issues of modified and/or redistributed code.

    (Note: I am not a lawyer)

  23. Kafkaesqui

    Posted 9 years ago #

    macmanx:
    "I was just using it as a guideline."

    Well, it is a good one.

    Enjoy the time off. You've earned it. ;)

  24. Enjoy the time off. You've earned it. ;)

    Yet ... kind people like you make it hard for me to leave. Oh well, I'm going to at least take a few hours off. Thanks for your support, Kaf.

  25. piginzen
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I didn't mean to accuse anyone and I am sorry that is how you interpreted that.

    I really just wanted to find your source so in the future I would be correct if I was speaking of such matters.

    Copyright Law fascinates me and I like to be correct on such matters if there is something I am unaware of.

    Thanks.

  26. Kafkaesqui

    Posted 9 years ago #

    Ok, so here's my proposal for an attribution guideline when modifying themes:

    1%-10% -- Still the same theme. Changes are considered customizations or "flavors" of the original. Copyright and original license must be kept.

    11%-50% -- Theme "inspired by" original. Reference to copyright, etc. must note original author. New elements (images, templates, code) not in original fall under current author's copyright (naturally). Original license must be kept.

    51%-%90 -- This is a new theme. Original is seen as a "base." Work is considered derivative, but not "appropriated". Reference to original theme/author is suggested. Original license must be kept.

    91%-99% -- If I can't recognize any of my theme in yours, I'm not sure how I'd enforce issues of copyright/license/etc. For this, we'll have to rely on trust (I know, but sometimes you have no choice).

    100% -- What's this doing here?

    All % values are subjective--there's no way around that. However, we can certainly hash out general areas of modification that fall under each. For example, swapping colors is an obvious 1%. Changing a fixed-width template to fluid is probably starting to step into the 11% category.

    [EDIT: Made slight changes after posting in regards to licensing. This proposal is also dependent on themes which offer a license allowing for modification and redistribution. Most, but not all, will.]

  27. vkaryl
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I like that Kafka - I write, so copyright IS a big deal to me, and that's a pretty fair division, logical I think. And I think it's marvelous that barbarac asked the question to begin with.

    Macmanx, I will miss you while you're gone, have fun, be careful!

  28. Jinsan
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    macmanx I'll take your comments as a compliment. you should perhaps rephrase your "Guideline" rather than phrasing it as a fact. As I said it sounds like it got plucked fm thin air - how do you define the percentage of a theme? Kaf's guidelines look like guidelines, but even then, you can stick a % next to a theme and say this theme is X% changed. What to one person is a 50% modification, someone else will argue is a 100% modification. When you start guessing and making numbers up, it's going to cause a helluva lot of problems as some users may just feel inclinded to think it "looks" like it's 50% and therefore he'll call it 50%.

    Funnily enough, Macmanx actually offered similar advice before here:

    http://wordpress.org/support/topic.php?id=24672

    What helped me understand this was when he used examples comparing kubruck a to be and then c. That gives a better impression. Still, I think it's such a subjective question for the most part that everyone will have a different opinion - but as NP states, the rips offs and those that are clearly default are very easy to distinguish. Even then, many do keep the credits in the CSS if not the link.

  29. I'll take your comments as a compliment.

    That's good. Thinking positive is always good.

    As I said it sounds like it got plucked fm thin air

    "The 10 percent rule suggests using 10 percent or less of a total work is considered fair use. "
    Here's one of many Google search results: http://www.nisd.net/sdevww/html/OnlineLearning/DigitalCopyright/fairuse.htm

    How do you define the percentage of a theme [or any similar object]?

    I'm not sure, but judges do it all the time, so it is possible.

    When you start guessing and making numbers up, it's going to cause a helluva lot of problems

    That must be why there are so many problems with the U.S. government. But, as you can see from above, I wasn't guessing, nor was I making up anything.

    Funnily enough, Macmanx actually offered similar advice before here:

    I don't see what's funny about offering similar advice. Should I consider randomly changing my advice from time-to-time?

    What helped me understand this was when he used examples comparing kubruck a to be and then c. That gives a better impression.

    That's why I offered that comparison as an example.

  30. Jinsan
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    If we're talking digital copyright, are we discussing specifically code, or everything? I;m sure the relevant lobby groups would argue that any use of their precious material is digital copyright with no room for fair use.

    I've hit a nerve, obviously and you've taken it personally, strangely. But I guess that's your choice. I'm not going to go into a tit-for-tat debate on this, but I just can't see how you would judge 10% of a theme. Anyone want to do a write up? I mean then of course you have the different licenses - and if a theme is 50% or even 95% different from the original can you actually change the license - I guess the answer is no.

    It's a topic that perhaps needs thawing out, and maybe someone could do an actual write up - again % are a tough one, because of the range, it makes it more difficult - what determines the difference between 10% and 11%?or 11% and 13%?

    If you perhaps use a scale that can distinguish more succinctly whether a theme sits in x or y, that would be quite useful. Or do away with the 10% and start from somewhere higher up? It's a messy one.

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