You write "Since version 2.0.0, the plugin has become a commercial plugin." That means that in the "Changes" and for the screenshots here on the wordpress.org you present a commercial plugin.
Is it a mistake, or has WordPress changed its policy?
You write "Since version 2.0.0, the plugin has become a commercial plugin." That means that in the "Changes" and for the screenshots here on the wordpress.org you present a commercial plugin.
Is it a mistake, or has WordPress changed its policy?
I agree. It's abandoned, superseded, and serves little purpose beyond promoting a commercial product; get it out of here.
Did the author actually mean that the free edition is no longer being updated with free feature and they simply meant that there is another edition?
I would say they never but I think they should get a chance to say before removing the plugin.
I call for the plugin to be removed if the author is suggesting that the free edition is not being supported OR updates to it do not support free users.
This is rampant and will destroy the repository as we know it.
Seems like every time you go to load a plugin, you get a sales pitch for the "real" PREMIUM plugin. More and more people are either abandoning their GPL work or marginally maintaining it as come-on sales tool for their new "premium" alternative.
And by the way, how do you purport to have a commercially licensed plugin when it was derived from the original GPL code? What exactly are the GPL provisions for transforming the GPL code into these new commercial editions? I don't see that in the GPL license documents, but maybe someone can point it out.
For a real eye-opener, take a look at the "All-in-One Event Calendar". They don't even bother mentioning (in the repository text or their website) that by "upgrading" you supposedly abandon your GPL rights. And when they were asked directly, they refused to answer, then claimed a 99% GPL / 1% commercial mixture. (See http://help.time.ly/customer/en/portal/questions/484885-how-is-your-license-valid-not-a-violation-of-the-wordpress-?new=484885) Ridiculous indeed.
In another prime example of bait-and-switch marketing, check ou the "WordPress Advanced Ticket System". Their repository plugin includes more non-functioning features than functioning features ("This feature only available in the premium version."). And as if that weren't enough, the plugin instals a link in your WordPress home page footer that links to their "premium" plugin!
These practices should be stopped before the entire repository turns into an up-selling market. Furthermore, the lack of enforcement of license restrictions encourages the transformation of GPL code into proprietary commercial code and discourages future GPL development.
We need a guide for authors, rules. A clear set of examples on how to provide a premium edition without taking advantage of WordPress.org and its community.
I emailed Matt requesting more attention. I would like to be a moderator focusing on this specific issue before it gets worse. It has seriously increased recently. I also made this mistakes as soon as I left University and I've spend the last 12 months working on CSV 2 POST which has a premium edition. There is no advertising or forced links on the blog. Not a single Ad Sense ad or even an ad for another one of my plugins or services.
I think in the current World climate it will get far worse so it needs looked into for sure.
Agreed. It is getting destructive.
If you provide services, consultation, support, static resources, etc, then obviously that is what you are charging for with your membership. Someone running off and giving away the code is just part of the deal you entered when you signed on to GPL.
There are other instances where plugins are completely based on serving as a tool to allow WordPress to interact with external SAAS applications. The fact that the GPL code in these plugins may be worthless without the SAAS is academic. But if in either instance you are selling a plugin and claim the code itself is commercial and proprietary in nature, then you are at odds with WordPress' official position on the matter.
That is, Automattic asserts the following:
"If the program dynamically links plug-ins, and they make function calls to each other and share data structures, we believe they form a single program, which must be treated as an extension of both the main program and the plug-ins. This means the plug-ins must be released under the GPL or a GPL-compatible free software license, and that the terms of the GPL must be followed when those plug-ins are distributed."
The support and update model really is the alternative here. StudioPress has shown that with good support and community you can make money on GPL. And maybe WordPress should publish a breakdown of how to do this in a way that is compatible with GPL. Something that's constructive instead of a head-in-the-sand approach.
But without the slightest hint of enforcement, the dilution of the repository (and the concept of GPL, for that matter) is inevitable. Maybe they have made enough money that they no longer care about the GPL, but by allowing this behavior on their own site, they go beyond indifference and actually contribute to the problem.
Specifically, if they (Matt, Automattic, et.al.) intend to openly allow commercial themes and plugins, they should revise their position (above) on licensing and create another (commercial) area for them. If they are going to continue to maintain the position that WordPress themes and plugins must be GPL - yet not enforce license violations - they need to at least force the sellers of such code off their site and make it more difficult for them to sell "commercial" WordPress products.
You make me laugh Domain Pawn Shop... Seeing a guy who is making a lot of money out of selling domain names crying because he needs to pay few dollars for a software is quite funny if not more...
You perfectly now what it is to make good money out of almost nothing. So why do you come here and shout people who are providing very nice plugins for free. Nothing forces us to use these plugins if we don't want to. Still, they represent a very good piece of S/W. Do you think that the 17K users that downloaded user messages were misleaded? What about the 12 ones that rated it 5 stars?
I have been using user messages plugin for a while and it is very convenient. So I really don't want it to disappear from here just to sustain the bad feelings of freebies like you... You are just an opportunist, you come here and claim people are doing wrong with false allegations while you should praise them for offering free S/W to the community! You are really badly positionned to claim that they are doing wrong by making little money out of their plugins. Developping a plugin like user messages should have been a lot of work so it is quite understandable that this guy is trying to get a bit of money out of it. For me, it is way more understandable than people selling domain names for thousands K$...
So you might think you are right. But it doesn't mean you are. The WordPress community isn't limited to you. And it isn't because you are angry with this for a reason I can imagine but certainly not understand that you must prevent other users from benefiting from these plugins!!!
This is now getting really ridiculous. Characterizing the very valid criticism about licenses as "crying" is childish, and taking the star rating as proof of quality or user appreciation is weird. It's a no-brainer that anyone can register multiple times with different email addresses. Judging the author by his/her promotion methods, this would come as no surprise.
The significance of download stats for people's approval of the present licensing model is very low given that this number includes also previous version when the license was still ok. Also they include people who downloaded and uninstalled again.
And, of course, the community isn't limited to one person. That applies to anyone including you, mauricius.
The WordPress team should definitely make their position clearer and prevent misuse of their platform.
@One_more : All-in-One Event Calendar has been downloaded 242.507 times and rated 5 stars 259 times. Is it bullshit for you?
Yes Pawn Shop is just crying on the forum. What does it bring to the community? Nothing! It is just killing it with level zero debates and trolling.
Instead of that, you should rather think about what you could do to help the WordPress community by donating to plugins authors, buying premium releases, performing translations and assisting on the support forums. Obviously, you have no time for that, you are just here to try to obtain more for less. I suggest you to code from scratch all these plugins that you are criticizing. Once you would have done that and realized what it takes to do so, I am sure you will weight your comments a bit more and have a more positive attitude towards the community.
Criticizing is so easy. Everybody can do that. Bringing value to a community is another step that people like you just don't understand.
WordPress is what it is today thanks to all these plugin and theme authors that contributed by offering free plugins and enhancements to the core. Step up and contribute at the same level and then you'll be in a position to discuss. Before that, it is just noise and troll...
I am pissed off with these people that are just here to criticize. This is amazing attitude, never seen that! It is good that you are only marginal and that 99% of the users are happy with the way plugins and themes are delivered.
I like all these plugins, whether free or premiums. I have absolutely no issue to upgrade the free plugin to a premium release when it is required as long as it meets a requirement. There is someone that worked hard to deliver this work so I'd rather thank him for making it happen at a very reasonnable price which I couldn't have done on my own rather than trying to question the licensing aspect to obtain it for free...
Nothing forces you to pay for a plugin or like it. Just don't use it. Can't you accept its presence among the 20.000 others? It isn't because it is different that it is bad and it isn't because you don't like it or you claim that it is bad that it is bad. You need to accept that in life, things don't always go in the direction you'd like, simply because this direction is wrong or not the one selected by other people. So there is no need to make a big discussion for that, useless, just accept it. You won't kill all the people that you don't like. So this is the same concept here. You aren't here to make the rules and create troubles to contributors that aren't in line with what you think is the right way to be. The policies are made by the community for the general interest and the general interest is to have as many contributors as possible to grow WP installed base and expand his capabilities! You are just playing against this...
If you feel there is an issue or problem with a plugin, please contact plugins [at] wordpress.org with all of the relevant details.
*Drinks more coffee and listens for the click of the GPL landmine*
There's a lot of things going on in this thread.
1 - The are plugins that some of you feel is exploitive.
That may or may not be the case, but if a plugin is violating the terms here please inform plugins AT wordpress.org and that plugin will get looked at and possibly the author will get contacted.
Possibly; just because you don't like what the author is doing or how they are behaving is not the same as violating the GPL. There is a lot of talk here about how putting GPL code behind a paywall somehow violates the terms of the license or makes it a "proprietary license".
That's just not the case and the GPL absolutely permits selling code like that.
2 - Automattic, Matt, et al are not WordPress.ORG. Yes, really.
This is a common mistake. People like to say things like "Specifically, if they (Matt, Automattic, et.al.) intend to" and "That is, Automattic asserts the following" or the old "Why doesn't Automattic SPEND MONEY" (that one's my favorite) which just also not the case.
It's not semantics, it's not word games. Automattic does contribute a great deal of resources, planning, etc. and Matt is a founder of the WordPress project/software. But they're a contributor and the community drives WordPress.
3 - People are making money of WordPress and that needs to be regulated!
OK, that's not been explicitly said here, but that seems to be the tone.
People are allowed to make money off of their effort. If they're abusing the system then yes, report them. But instead of looking for "GPL violations! BAIT-AND-SWITCH" deal with specific plugins, report them if there really are doing something anti-GPL.
Just please stop with the personal attacks. That's pointless, inflammatory and serves no purpose. You can be more productive than that.
Thanks Jan for these comments! Way more constructive than the previous ones. [ Mod note: Okay, I'm just going to redact that personal comment there. Please be positive. ]
@mauricius - Your folderol is tedious. That my writing amuses you is of no consequence to the facts of the matter. All the justification in the world can not legitimize violation of the GPL license. And lest we forget, PUBLIC is the license's middle name. It's not the Whatever Sounds Fair to You license or the Nobody Else is Complaining So Shut Up license, it is the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE. It is a well thought-out, written document that defines the rights of the public to legally copy, distribute and/or modify the software under which it is released. Or in the exact words of the license document:
"Developers that use the GNU GPL protect your rights with two steps:
(1) assert copyright on the software, and (2) offer you this License
giving you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify it."
@Jan Dembowski - I'll leave the intricacies of relational logistics to those like yourself that understand them. I will say, however, that little is done to dispel the idea that Matt, Automattic, et.al. is an appropriate address. (See the MA.TT blog post http://ma.tt/2012/09/future-of-work/ and the article it points to http://www.forbes.com/sites/jjcolao/2012/09/05/the-internets-mother-tongue/ )
I would assert that debating to whom complaints are addressed is a distraction from the merits of the complaints. And the complaints in this matter are quite clear: (1) the repository is being used in a manner that is commercial in nature, and; (2) taking GPL code (for example, a plugin) and converting it to a commercially licensed proprietary piece of software (say, a "premium" plugin) is a violation of the rights I, as a member of the public, was granted in the original code.
Selling access to GPL code, selling support and other peripheral services for GPL code, charging a fee to modify GPL code, and any other number of activities are not the basis of my complaints. The basis of my complaints are vested in the rights conveyed in the original GPL releases of such software. More and more plugin authors are not only claiming (or implying by restriction) that these modified plugins are proprietary, but are using the repository to market this corruption of the GPL.
I regularly purchase access to support and updates (modifications) of WordPress themes and plugins. But my choice to do so does not enhance or diminish my rights under the GPL. And I would have those same rights had a friend conveyed the software to me after she paid for access to it. These are the rights established when the code is licensed under the GPL.
This is the intended focus of my complaints. So if in those points you see errors in my views, please do explain them, as I thought the GPL was quite clear on modification and the distribution (or conveyance) of modified GPL software.
If, however, I am anywhere close to correct, surely my example of the "All-in-One Event Calendar" license (http://pastebin.com/embed_iframe.php?i=aTJV7HAp) should have been adequate to illustrate the basis for my complaints. And either way, I feel as though I am contributing to the community by taking time to express theses view for the community to consider, as well as pointing these issues out and demanding some response from whomever will claim to be WordPress.
I would close by adding that each plugin in the repository has an easy way to "Favorite" the plugin, "Rate" the plugin, "Donate" to the plugin, and "Vote" for the plugin - perhaps it is time for a "Report" the plugin option.
It is a good discussion to have, but lets not get to heated up. Otherwise the thread closes and that helps no one.
Maybe a survey should be emailed asking people what they find acceptable and unacceptable in a plugin with many questions relating to premium editions?
I know the first response from Moderators is going to be as esmi says which is expected and the proper approach.
I don't feel there is enough hours in the day for the current admin to sort out what is starting to go very wrong in the repository. I'm going to keep suggesting that a single person has the job of dealing with these plugins.
That persons task would be to ensure plugins have a use without payment. At the same time they should possibly provide guides to suppose people in creating a premium edition in the way that the WordPress community finds acceptable. Possibly have some sort of symbol on the plugins page, indicating that a plugin has a premium version. In return for displaying this symbol, as technically it is a helpful piece of information i.e. advertising. The author agrees not to display advertising in their free plugin or display features on the interface such as forms or buttons, as if they are going to work but don't.
I think I'm trying to say. There needs to be a guideline that authors agree to but giving something back in return continues to invite good plugin developers who really need to have a premium edition which is provided through a service.
@Pawn Shop :
You got it completely wrong...
Plugins hosted in wordpress.org have to be GPL, just because if they weren't, how could wordpress.org host and distribute these freely? Then it is also a community decision that the plugins hosted here are FREE and GPL. And on that front, all the plugins you have mentionned are GPL here so this is just noise you are making here!
Now, for everything that is outside of wordpress.org, it is outside of your control and WordPress community control.
It is good for you if these plugins are licensed under the GPL but you have no way to enforce it and more than that the plugin authors don't have any legal obligation to release these plugins under a full GPL license. This is the difference between our wordpress.org site and what is happening elsewhere.
What I am telling you is that you aren't taking the discussion on the right angle. These plugins don't cause any problem to anybody and more than that, they are heavily contributing to the WordPress ecosystem.
You aren't Chuck Norris so no need to transform yourself into the web cherif. Just use the plugins you like and ignore the ones you don't like.
Be positive man, it is friday and sunny weather! :)
And the complaints in this matter are quite clear
As I tried to point out earlier, the final arbiters in these situations are the team at the other end of plugins [at] wordpress.org. You really need to direct any complaints about specific plugins to this team if you want them to be investigated.
Plugins hosted in wordpress.org have to be GPL, just because if they weren't, how could wordpress.org host and distribute these freely?
Sorry but that it incorrect. Plugins are derivative works of WordPress and, as such, inherit WordPress' GPL license. See http://wordpress.org/about/license/
Agree with you, it should be a community decision rather than Chuck Norris going around and claiming that this one or this one is bad and should be removed just because he doesn't like it.
So it needs to be part of a WordPress survey sent out to regular users of the repository to ask them what is acceptable or not.
Then we should keep in mind that if all free plugins where a premium release is available are removed from wordpress.org, it is likely that remaining plugins will be very limited in terms of features (except for the TOP 20) because plugin authors won't maintain plugins on the long term if they have no way to get a retribution for it, especially when it requires a lot of support attention.
I believe it is the community interest to reward better plugins authors. The more we give to them, the more they will contribute back. If we are just here to restrict the ways they could recover from their efforts, then they will switch to another CMS where community is more "friendly". I don't care to see some ads for premium plugins here, it is targeted advertisement which is way better than all the ads that you see on the other websites which are usually not targeted to visitor needs. And if it can help a bit the author, it doesn't hurt me. In life, you need to give a bit if you want to get in return. Suffering from having features description or premium advertisement is not so painfull...
WordPress couldn't host plugins with a non GPL license, this would be somehow redistributing freely proprietary software which isn't possible. This is the point I was making by saying that. I agree with you that this isn't the only reason why the plugins need to be GPL here, the derivative work aspect is another.
@WebTechGlobal Good ideas for the community to decide - trade-offs for access, how premium services are presented in the repository, etc. And again, my issue is with license restrictions - not access, installation, support, modification fees, or any other manifestation of profit that surrounds plugins.
@mauricius I'm a fairly positive individual, but it does dampen one's spirits when I awaken to see that - with little direct discussion of the issues I raise - I have been mocked and berated for expressing my opinions.
And since the horse is surely dead by now, I do hate to beat it further, but I simply fail to see how a concurrent license can eliminate my rights under the original GPL license.
What, exactly, is the action, declaration, or whatever that you believe gives an author the legal ability to make a modified GPL plugin into proprietary software and eliminate the public's right to modify and distribute it?
@esmi That is what I will do; this will be my last post on the matter. Still, with the rapid increase in such activity, I stand by my "Report" idea.
Might I suggest that you raise this on the Requests & Feedback forum where it can be discussed without reference to any one specific plugin?
It is simply the copyright... The plugin author is the code owner. The GPL license just gives to anybody the right to modify, resell and redistribute it as long as they credit the original author.
But then the original code author keeps the right to write a new release with the specific license he wants to. It is the code owner that decides on the license. The GPL doesn't mention anywhere that if the original developper sets version 1 as GPL, then he can't set version 2 as MIT or anything else.
GPL is tied to distribution. When a piece of code is distributed, it comes with a license, this is a kind of stamp. Nobody has the right to remove or modify that stamp for this specific release without author consent. But adopting GPL one day for a specific piece of code doesn't mean that you need to keep it forever for any release as long as you own the original copyrights.
So when a plugin author decides to put release 1 in GPL, he doesn't have the right to go to people at a point and tell them "stop using release 1, it isn't GPL anymore". But he could deliver release 2 under a different license as it is a new original distribution and not a redistribution.
There was some debates in the WordPress community few years ago about the GPL license and the ability to modify it for WordPress code. It turned out that it wasn't possible because it would have required consent of every WordPress contributor (everyone that wrote a patch). But in theory, if everybody had accepted, then it would have been feasible to switch to MIT or something else. Obviously, you understand that it is easier for an isolated plugin author to agree with himself than for a hundred of thousand of contributors :)
So from my point of view :
1/ Plugins here need to stay free and GPL, no discussion about it. I believe we are in agreement here (yes we can!).
2/ Then, it is the interest of the community to have premium plugins developped because when you have an issue with a plugin, it is good if you can get prompt support by paying something. I really dislike to see a plugin crashing my site and then having nowhere to get prompt support because it is free and maintained on a best effort basis (which is natural for a free plugin). So I would rather push to have all the services and premium releases advertised heavily on the free plugin pages. This would allow to exactly understand what level you can expect if you run into trouble.
3/ WordPress.org is a unique place. I usually put more trust on plugins I find here than elsewhere, whether free or free with a premium release available. So I'd prefer to see all staying here.
4/ I believe plugin authors will put more efforts to maintain the free releases if they have a reward from the community. A good reward is to allow advertisements of premium releases. It doesn't cost anything to us, the plugin users and it allows the plugins authors to get some benefits out of their work. Nobody can work hard for free on the long term, I am sure you understand it. So why would plugin authors write very complex free plugins if they have no way to recover their time? So things need to be balanced...
And I am against your "report" button. We aren't in a pornographic forum. There is no point having this kind of button here.
@mauricius Okay. Yes, I see in theory that it is possible to have a situation where duel licensing would make a difference - but I haven't seen it in the repository. You do not have that situation in any instance I have seen (nor in the instance that prompted the start of this post) where the plugin was introduced on day one with two versions, having two segregated development efforts. Instead, they have been released as GPL and developed in concert with public input and often specific code contributions, and then, subsequently, that previously licensed, released and distributed GPL software is forked into a commercial, proprietary plugin. It may be a subtle distinction, but I do not see that as complying with the original GPL terms.
Also, for yet a final clarification, I fully support paying for access, installation, support, modification, or any other profit-bearing non-GPL-intruding strategy an author might adopt.
And last but not least, a Report feature would be an easy way for admins to judge community response to an authors behavior, just as the Rate feature is an easy way for the public to judge the community's impression of the quality of a plugin. There is no pornographic aspect to the suggestion.
Hopefully we can just agree that we don't agree, as this really is it for me on this post.
Glad to see that you understand what I am saying.
Indeed, a plugin author can set a GPL release for release 1 and then later on decide to set another license for release 2. The only person he needs the agreement from are the people who contributed to the code since the first GPL release. So if only the plugin author wrote the code and he hadn't integrated any external contribution, he is free to just modify the license for the release 2. He just can't modify it for the release 1 as it has been distributed and so that's too late.
But for later releases, he can do what he wants to do as long as he has the agreement from the code contributors (ie himself if he is the only one who wrote some code). A code contribution is a code contribution meaning that someone that gives the advise to add this or that feature isn't a code contributor. When you suggest to Microsoft a Windows enhancement, you don't become a copyright holder. You understand what I mean, the contribution needs to be concrete and clear.
And if an another hand, if he wants to originally deliver the plugin under two different licenses, he can also do that. If the code delivered under each release is similar, then it is probably not a good idea, except if he grants special rights with the other license that the GPL doesn't include.
To give you a concrete example, see here :
Plupload is the library included in WP core for the media uploader. It is available in GPL but there is also a commercial license available which provides additionnal capabilities. I believe it is fair in this situation, what is your opinion on that?
Personnally, I believe that plupload is a good addition to WP core and I am also happy to have them selling commercial licenses of their library to allow them to maintain this library at the right level.
So it is exactly the same story here. Some will ask you to pay money for support, some others for additionnal features, etc... They are free to license their code the way they want to as long as they respect the copyrights holders and they don't put a non GPL release on wordpress.org. If you pay, it is because it meets your needs, so why are you unhappy with a different license for a premium plugin? I don't see your point, please clarify, it is interesting.
The problem I see with the report feature is that it can be easily abused and I believe moderators have more positive things to do than to investigate false reports... User assistance, feature development and community expansion are better targets for me.
Im confused by that argument. surely if v1 of a WordPress plugin inherits GPL licensing from WordPress as a derivative work, a subsequent version could not be released under a more restrictive license as it would still inherit GPL even if if was hosted on the dev's site & only available to purchasers? – btw I'm not arguing but asking as this stuff makes my head spin.
Nothing in GPL claims that because original release is GPL, then all subsequents release needs to be GPL. GPL just claims that if someone that isn't the original code owner wants to modify or redistribute the code of a GPL release, then it needs to keep a GPL compatible license as he would have modified GPL code. But obviously, the original code owner keeps the right to modify the license whenever he wants for new releases, he can even distribute the same code under a GPL license for some users and a non GPL license for other users.
Again, GPL is tied to distribution. So it is really up to the code author to decide under which license he wants to distribute a release and this can change along the time. It is just about changing the distribution. As long as all the code contributors agree on that, there is nothing in GPL preventing that. GPL just prevent that for the GPL release.
We shouldn't mix up the situation of the original code owner and the situation of the people who obtainer the GPL release. Deciding to release some code under GPL at a point doesn't mean you have to do that forever and you can't do anything else with it. Just take the dual license example for plupload, I think it is a clear one.
Nothing in GPL claims that because original release is GPL, then all subsequents release needs to be GPL.
That doesn't make sense. a subsequent release would be a derivative work. The only way it could be licensed differently is if it didn't use any of the original code (ie it would be a new application).
No, this isn't true, I am sorry for that. Read the GPL and you'll see that it isn't mentionned anywhere that the copyrights on the original code are given away forever. It is even clearly stated in their FAQ :
"would like to release a program I wrote under the GNU GPL, but I would like to use the same code in non-free programs. (#ReleaseUnderGPLAndNF)
To release a non-free program is always ethically tainted, but legally there is no obstacle to your doing this. If you are the copyright holder for the code, you can release it under various different non-exclusive licenses at various times."
I agree that it is kind of complex to understand how it works... But it is quite clear that distributing under GPL doesn't mean that you can't distribute under any other license. This remains the copyright holder decision and has nothing to do with the code similarities. A plugin author could distribute some code as release 1 under GPL and then just change the name and release it under another license.
People usually mix up copyrights and licensing. GPL just gives to users the rights to modify and redistribute a GPL distribution of the code under the GPL. But the original copyrights remain the property of the contributors, this is why they have to be credited.
Surely the key phrase in the context of WP is "If you are the copyright holder for the code". I don't think I've ever come across a plugin or theme that doesn't use a WP core function.
I was talking about the plugin code, not WP code. The contamination aspect is a different topic which you might not want to mix up with the distribution aspect in order to keep discussion simple :)
Otto who is a core contributor just made it clear in another post that premium plugins outside of this site don't need to be GPL... End of the story. I believe you can give a bit more credit to him than you give to me.
This topic has been closed to new replies.