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WP Themes - Charge? No-charge? (31 posts)

  1. courtneyelizabeth
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Okay, here's a question for you guys...

    1. Is there a website that SELLS wordpress themes?
    2. Would you, do you support it?
    3. How do you feel about it?

    just curious.....because i see a lot of free templates and i'm wondering if there are people who actually charge for themes they've created....

  2. Cypher
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I believe I had seen a site that does sell templates, but I believe they will also customize it for your specific needs.

    Most templates are created and distributed as-is and must be modified to suit the new users' taste.

    I don't believe there is a lot of money to be made in making templates and attempting to sell it as so MANY people give out free templates.

    Regards

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

    Additionally, I am told that because all themes use WP code, they cannot be fully copyrighted. Something along the lines of the theme needing GPL code therefore... can't see it myself.

    Before someone yells at me for getting this wrong, this was in a discussion to which I was not fully taking part in and I was surprised at the result too. Given that when you pay for a theme you do so confident in the knowledge that it will not then appear on a thousand others, if anyone could clarify this it would be useful.

  4. Kafkaesqui

    Posted 9 years ago #

    Don't know who it was that told you this podz, but I can't see how they're right about it.

    For example, I can design a layout incorporating no WP code at all, representing areas where data is normally displayed by template tags with static content, and then copyright and license my design with no restrictions. I can come back and add in the WP stuff to construct a theme based on my design, but the design itself is still held under my copyright etc.

  5. masquerade
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Kaf, there has been a huge discussion on this and the legailty of it all, and the bottom line is themes must be licensed GPL Compatable, because they directly call methods defined by the parenting software without being given their own space or an API, for more info, read the GPL.

  6. billsaysthis
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    [Standard IANAL preface] GPL doesn't prevent anyone from selling their work--look at Red Hat Linux, for instance. All it says (to greatly simplify a long legal document) is that you must provide source code to customers and you must give back to the community changes made to the underlying product. Since themes clearly do the former and generally speaking the latter doesn't apply, someone could sell them. However, as mentioned, there are so many free themes available one wonders how big a market would be for paid versions.

    I think if someone has true design skills he or she would be more likely to make money customizing themes and/or supplying graphics.

  7. masquerade
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    The question was not about selling or not, but rather if sold, can the person who bought redistribute, and the answer is yes.

  8. billsaysthis
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Sorry masquerade but that wasn't the question. It was:

    "1. Is there a website that SELLS wordpress themes?
    2. Would you, do you support it?
    3. How do you feel about it?"

    In any case, unless you're the forum police here to keep us in bounds...

  9. Denis de Bernardy
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Kaf is right. You can make a theme or a plugin and not GPL it. Whoever challenges this will loose in court. Because if anything that binds to GPL software is GPL, then, basically, everything I know of is GPL. As simple as that. The key difference should and will rely on the question: Can this work as a stand alone product? And the answer, is yes, almost all the time -- meaning the GPL is mostly worthless when it comes to virally making software GPL.

    Also, contrary to what Bill suggests, you must not give back to the community changes made to the underlying product. Far from it, even: You must merely give the source code to your customer.

    In a nutshell, the GPL means that:

    * You may freely use the works for any purpose, including commercial ones
    * You may freely make derivative works provided that you leave the proper attribution and copyright notices
    * You may freely distribute the works and derivative works provided that you make the source code readily available under the same terms

  10. kickass
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Okay, so I'm curious now. If I offer a bunch of themes free for use and download, but alongside those themes I offer to make custom themes to a person's specification, with custom graphics and css/xhtml coding, and available to that person and only that person for a fee, how does the community feel about that?

  11. Firas
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Denis: http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLAndPlugins

    Most WP themes and Plugins are very intimately tied with WP's core code.

  12. billsaysthis
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    kickass, I think that's a perfectly acceptable model. Think of the free themes as advertisements and marketing collateral for your design business. The more people who use them, the better for you.

    denis: we'll have to agree to disagree but again my statement was extremely simplified. As it happens, an extensive interview with ESR came to my attention today which may give interested parties better understanding:

    http://www.onlamp.com/pub/a/onlamp/2005/06/30/esr_interview.html

  13. Denis de Bernardy
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    @kickass: that's a perfectly acceptable model, yes. I've no idea how the community will react, though.

    @Firas: the last sentence from your pointer is:

    "If the program dynamically links plug-ins, but the communication between them is limited to invoking the 'main' function of the plug-in with some options and waiting for it to return, that is a borderline case." --> and this is exactly what happens in wordpress plugins

    @Bill: the GPL says you have to release your source code to your customer under the same terms. and it says a statement that the source is available to the customer is good enough.

    it says nowhere that you must reveal your changes to the community -- the community is not your customer base. though obviously, your customers are free to distribute the changes if they want. :)

  14. Yngwin
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I have published a free theme (Neptune) and am about to publish another one. I also do customizations or complete themes for a fee -- I have done several already.

    My current site [d10e.net] doesn't really mention selling WP themes, although it is part of what I do (just not the way I market it, yet). So yes, I support that. If you want a theme to your specifications I will produce that, for a fee. I have bills to pay as well, you know...

  15. notthatugly
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Selling pre-made themes is not a viable business model, for the following reasons:

    • there are so many free themes available (well into the hundreds) that your templates would have to be absolutely extraordinary for anyone to consider forking out for them
    • the wordpress community is mostly allergic to paying for anything on top of their hosting costs. Matt had to resort to spamming search engines to get a revenue stream for this site.
    • no paid theme is ever going to get showcased on the theme repositories, and people won't pay for themes if they don't know they exist. It's hard enough to promote free themes without official support, let alone paid ones.

    I've never had a vast amount of success doing custom themes for money either. Trying to make money out of wordpressers is a hopeless cause. If you're in this for cash, your best option is to master the templating systems of MT or EE, since those users are by definition more accepting of the concept of having to pay for stuff.

  16. angsuman
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    @NotThatUgly
    Have you noticed how most theme lack one thing of another. Its like water water everywhere not a drop to drink. I tried hundreds of themes trying to find what I was looking for. Even then in one case I made a custom theme and in another I adopted gila. I realized that Gila theme does something very very strange. It loads the two sidebars first and then the main content! Ideally I would have liked the content to load first and then sidebars. It really screws up your serps and search engine descriptions of your pages. So I am in search again.

    I can see there is a business here.

  17. skippy
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice.

    Denis-de-Bernardy:
    <cite>"If the program dynamically links plug-ins, but the communication between them is limited to invoking the 'main' function of the plug-in with some options and waiting for it to return, that is a borderline case." --> and this is exactly what happens in wordpress plugins</cite>

    Most of the plugins I've written use the global $wpdb object, and vsrious WordPress functions (get_currentuserdata() for example). That is a far cry from merely invoking the main function and returning some data. It is because of this that WordPress plugins are required to be GPL compliant. If you can make a plugin that does not use WordPress functions or data structures, then you are free to license it however you want.

    WordPress themes are similar in many ways: they use the template functions, and the Loop, to make stuff happen. Without those template functions, and without the Loop, the theme isn't very useful.

    Please note that the GPL says nothing about copyright. I retain the copyright on all my plugins. A theme author is encouraged to retain the copyright on their themes.

    Also note that the GPL does not restrict you from selling your work. You may sell plugins and themes. But be advised that selling plugins (and arguably themes) grants to the purchaser all the privileges of the GPL, which means that they are free to use your work for any purpose, and that they are free to distribute your work to others.

  18. notthatugly
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Have you noticed how most theme lack one thing of another. Its like water water everywhere not a drop to drink.

    Yes, absolutely. Quantity doesn't equal quality, you only have to spend a couple of minutes flicking through the theme repositories to see that. But if potential clients are going to be informed by other members of the community that it's ok for them to redistribute my designs on their own sites, I'm not going any further down that road. I'm currently reconverting both my free themes to generic templates; extra work for me, extra work for the end users, but it'll be worth it to be able to release my work under a more appropriate licence.

    (I've also been told that the original licence I released my themes under wasn't GPL-compatible, in spite of it being listed as such on the GNU list, but have yet to hear from any lawyers about the matter. So discussions like this are largely academic. Nobody is actually going to sue anyone for selling or releasing wordpress themes under a non-GPL licence; and it would be pretty damn counter-productive if they did, since the more themes there are the better it is for the software.)

  19. courtneyelizabeth
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Wow,

    I really appreciate this discussion. Thank you so much for addressing it. I was very curious to know what others thought.

    I guess my next question would be, since WP is under GPL....if one was to sell their themes, how many in the WP community would actually buy and then freely distribute the theme?

    I mean, would someone reallysell their themes knowing that people in the community will be giving them away for free, possibly listing them on theme download sites...?

  20. moshu
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    I don't really see a market for putting up themes for sale - with over 200 free themes it's hard to find anyone who'd pay for it. (And why would anyone buy one just to give it away for free to the "community"...?)
    However there might be a market for customized themes, for integrating WP in an existing website's design and similar projects. And there is nothing wrong in charging a price for such services.

  21. courtneyelizabeth
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    "(And why would anyone buy one just to give it away for free to the "community"...?)"

    *shrug* who knows...it was mentioned above....so i thought I'd address it...thanks for your commentary

  22. skippy
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    Note, of course, that themes are distinct from custom graphics. If you have a fair hand with Photoshop or GIMP, you might be able to earn a few bucks for custom header images, or the like.

  23. angsuman
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    If you want to sell your theme it should be more advanced than most of the themes we see in terms of functionality and customizability.

    IANAL. Having said that -

    You can sell code based on GPL code like RedHat does and you can build a successful model on top of that.

    Think about branding your themes. Someday you too may be able to say like - Genuine Microsoft Windows (insert your brand name instead). That will make re-selling less lucrative.

    [GPL Rant]
    GPL is so communist (read anti-capitalist) in nature it makes me mad sometimes. And the viral nature of the license...
    [/GPL Rant]

    Now I feel better :)

  24. notthatugly
    Member
    Posted 9 years ago #

    And why would anyone buy one just to give it away for free to the "community"...?

    Can't rule out the possibility of some open-source zealot doing it just to prove a point; though given the aforementioned allergy of such people to paying for stuff, this is admittedly unlikely.

    And with the widespread availability of image editing software and free photo sites, there is probably even less market for custom graphics than there is for custom themes. Coding a full-scale theme involves considerably more time and skill than throwing together a header in Photoshop.

  25. sadish
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I run a site providing free wordpress themes. its called http://wpthemes.info

    Just for trying things out, I started another website, http://alittleaway.com that is trying to sell a wordpress theme.

    I havent got anything sold yet, but if I get something, I will post on this thread.

    Thanks
    Sadish

  26. graemep
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I am not sure I completely believe the FSF on the necessity to GPL plug-ins.

    If the plug-in is distributed together with the GPLed software, then the distributor probably is in breach of the GPL.

    However if the plug-in is distributed by itself (the usual case with themes), then the distributor is not actually distributing any GPLed code. If you are not distributing any GPLed code, then you are not breaching the GPL!

    Angsuman: the GPL is a very pro-free markets license - it counters network effects and other distortions of the market.

  27. RuddO
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I sell one theme and a theme and plugin pack.

    Burnin' R is the theme for sale

    Supercharged WordPress is the plugin and theme pack

  28. davidchait
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Wow. Free WP, plus Free Plugins, for $50! Cool.

  29. pizdin_dim
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    "Also note that the GPL does not restrict you from selling your work. You may sell plugins and themes. But be advised that selling plugins (and arguably themes) grants to the purchaser all the privileges of the GPL, which means that they are free to use your work for any purpose, and that they are free to distribute your work to others."

    That's precisely the point. Price has nothing to do with it, it's only about the freedom to distribute your theme to others, irrespective of whether it's given away or sold.

    I also agree with Moshu: there might be a market for customized themes. trying to sell them is probably a waste of time.

  30. Bhoney
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I continue to think there is a market for themes that cost.I would pay for a number of awsome themes I have seen from that Typo Theme Competition.If people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars to design sites like Ewebscapes, why wouldn't they pay for a theme.As a matter of fact, a theme is exactly what they are paying for.I would never pay a site like Ewebscapes for what they do.$200 for a theme... you must be kidding... lol.

    Yes, I would buy a theme for 20 or even 25 dollars.Put a cap on the number of downloads.It can be done, but the themes have got to be stellar, really stand out and be priced moderately... under $100.

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