Support » Plugins » Copyrights violation? Can plugin name be stolen?

  • Hello,

    We got a following situation:

    Jason Pelker and me created at 2010-06-13 a plugin named “upPrev“. These are plugin details from a first release: http://plugins.trac.wordpress.org/browser/upprev-nytimes-style-next-post-jquery-animated-fly-in-button/trunk/readme.txt?rev=252266 (Plugin Name: upPrev)

    Jason decided that we gonna add some description to its name, because we wanted that potential user could get a clear idea, what’s the plugin about, and generally the name is the first thing what you see, so the plugin name was extended to: upPrev: NYTimes Style “Next Post” jQuery Animated Button (http://plugins.trac.wordpress.org/browser/upprev-nytimes-style-next-post-jquery-animated-fly-in-button/trunk/readme.txt?rev=252268)

    You may notice that one therm is really unique in this name “upPrev”. It doesn’t have any special meaning, but it can create undeniable identification.

    Jason took some efforts to propagate our solution. In very short time, information about upPrev appeared in many blogs and it become quite popular. upPrev wasn’t no longer a word without meaning.. it become our identification.

    Few months later, at 2011-08-05 Marcin Pietrzak (iWorks) decided to release upPrev modification: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/upprev. And that’s fine.. this is what we can do, we can share our code, and letting others to improve it, by releasing its modifications, but…

    If we releasing plugin modification, completely separate solution, being an independent author, can we took the most important, the most unique part of the original name as ours? This single therm “upPrev” since the first release created some hmm.. brand identity. After one year, Marcin Pietrzak took the most important part of our plugin’s name “upPrev” and created its modification.

    Please, don’t tell me that this is allowed. That this is not any kind of copyrights violation. Users are confused, because they think, that upPrev (by iWorks) it’s just a newest version of our plugin, when this is completely separate plugin. If the modification was named, let’s say “upPrev – iWorks modification” everything would be clear, but he just took our unique therm as his own.

    Is it fair? Because I still feel robbed.

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)

    (@ipstenu)

    🏳️‍🌈 Halfelf Rogue & Plugin Review Team Rep

    Did you copyright protect the name ‘upPrev’?

    If yes, then yeah, you have a ‘case.’ If no, then what he did was annoying, but not against any rule.

    iWorks forked your plugin, picked a (IMO) better name, and added functionality. It’s exactly what the GPL lets him do. You were robbed, but only because he used a simpler name. If you’d called yours upPrev, and he made upPrev Plus, would you have the same complaint?

    I’m thinking about some current trend of simplification which is noticeable for example at logos. Brands are changing they logos, they keep the main idea, but they are presenting with a simpler way, without some previous details, but you can still feel that this is the same brand, it’s just evolving.

    1. upPrev: NYTimes Style “Next Post” jQuery Animated Button
    2. + simplification =
    3. upPrev

    Generally the initial name of our plugin was “upPrev” (http://plugins.trac.wordpress.org/browser/upprev-nytimes-style-next-post-jquery-animated-fly-in-button/trunk/readme.txt?rev=252266). Jason chose different tag/coding name and expanded the plugin name to it, because we wanted to provide some details.. it’s like a more complex logo to present a context of a new unknown product.

    I don’t know is it only my impression, but simplification gives me a feeling that this still the same product. It become more popular so it doesn’t need those extra details in the name or logo no longer.

    Feeling about “upPrev” and “upPrev Plus”, or our current name “upPrev Previous Post Animated Notification” and “upPrev Plus”… hard to say, would I have the same complain :] I’m just thinking of a situation if I saw, a very well known beverage (let’s use a sample name) C-C and C-C Plus… or maybe C-C Light. Do I think that this is still the same producer? Yes, I do. The product itself must vary somehow, but the producer is surely the same.

    What do I need to stop thinking that this is the same brand, the same product, the same author or producer? Another unique word, the name which doesn’t contain the combination of unique therms.. P-C, Hop-C, Future-C.

    Completely different thought – what’s the name of a plugin exactly? Is it a tag/coding name, the name which is displayed in repository? Or is it an entry in readme.txt file, which is sent with every revision?

    If it’s the second answer, can we change the name as many times as we want? So we can simplify our plugin’s name and leave only “upPrev”. Like I said, it was even the name in our very first readme.txt, so we are simply going to restore it.

    But it doesn’t sound right either. We are simply going to war with increasing a version number every time, when the second person decide to release his new version, and both plugins are going to have the same name.

    The current situation is also not encouraging for any farther development. We got the second plugin with a simplified name, where people are thinking, that this is not a modification by someone else, but simply a newer version of the original plugin. Why do I think in this way? Because sometimes I’m receiving emails, where people are asking for help related to upPrev, but when I’m going to check an issue, I’m seeing that they are using his not our version. It’s great that they found his modification useful, but they are confused who is the real author of upPrev. They are looking for some information about upPrev authors, and they are confused who they should write to. Maybe there is even some Contact link in the settings, but they are still confused seeing the same name (simplified and extended) at WordPress Plugins. If I remember sometimes even threads were created for incorrect plugin.

    Moderator Ipstenu (Mika Epstein)

    (@ipstenu)

    🏳️‍🌈 Halfelf Rogue & Plugin Review Team Rep

    There are two parts of the name. The ‘Name’ and the ‘slug’. The name is what people see when they go to your repo entry. The SLUG is the URL.

    Can you change a plugin SLUG? No.

    Can you change the displayed name? Yes (as you noticed in the readme already).

    The rest… well I’m sorry you’re going through this, but there’s nothing against the rules with what anyone did here. The plugin page even clearly states it’s a fork, an attribution that didn’t need to be on the front page.

    Yes, people will be confused.

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • The topic ‘Copyrights violation? Can plugin name be stolen?’ is closed to new replies.