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MIT License In WordPress Plugins? (10 posts)

  1. Hardeep Asrani
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Hey people,

    I wanted to know if I could use a file in my plugin which falls under the MIT License.

    I will distribute a copy of license in my plugin & link to the script in description.

    Are we allowed to do so?

    Or even if I ask the owner for the permission.

    Thanks folks!

  2. If you want to host your plugin here then the licensing of the code has to be GPL compatible.

    http://wordpress.org/plugins/about/guidelines/

    *Drinks more coffee*

    Or maybe it has to be GPL v2 or greater and MIT isn't allowed even if it's compatible (that MIT version)... contact the plugin team at plugins [at] wordpress.org for a definitive answer.

    Keep in mind that they're backed up at the moment so please be patient and wait for a reply from them. The forums aren't necessarily the best place to ask that. ;)

  3. Hardeep Asrani
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Thanks for the info. Let's see if we could get anymore answers, so let's keep this thread open.

  4. Dan Jones
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    It says "compatible with" GPLv2. According to GNU, the MIT license (they call it the Expat License) is compatible.

  5. That may be what MIT says but check with the plugin team first.

  6. Dan Jones
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Not what MIT says, what the Free Software Foundation says, and that's linked straight from the plugin guidelines page.

  7. MIT is okay for plugins. I'm on the plugins team, too. We check when you submit the plugin.

  8. Tom Dworzanski
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    The key difference is the GPL requires code modifications to be open-sourced if the code is distributed in any way, while the MIT does not.

    If I were to take a piece of open source software that is licensed under the GPL (like WordPress), any code I add that builds on top of it (pretty much all PHP that plugs-in to WordPress) must be licensed under the GPL as well. If I combine MIT licensed code with a GPL product, the new, whole product must be licensed under the GPL. In this way, the MIT is compatible with the GPL. However, MIT software distributed with GPL software (like WordPress) is no longer MIT licensed but becomes GPL licensed.

    It is possible combine MIT licensed code with GPL code and retain the MIT license for the MIT part only if it's an independent product. The SimplePie project for example (which is actually BSD licensed -- similar to MIT) can continue to be BSD licensed even though it's part of WordPress because it's independent of WordPress. (Keep in mind that you do not have as many rights as the owners of the WordPress copyright so I'm just using this as an example.)

    The question here is whether the plugin can be considered a separate work or if it's merely a modification of WordPress. This is a legal question best left to a qualified attorney. That being said, the general feeling of the WordPress community is that the PHP code of plugins must be distributed under the GPL. This is evidenced by all major commercial plugins being licensed under the GPL.

    There is an excellent theme-specific article on this topic which may help shed light on this topic.

    Keep in mind also, that if you use the MIT license, anyone may take your code and release it under the GPL. They may also take your code and distribute it with their modifications without providing source code turning your work into a part of their proprietary product. This is very much counter to the goals of the GPL.

    I suppose it would be possible for some very limited plugins to be licensed under the MIT without much room for debate (a CSS-only plugin perhaps). But in general, there is legal risk to using MIT while there is much less to using GPL.

  9. Most people tend to dual license MIT/GPLv2 to cover that, though your example of SimplePie is perfect in explaining why it's weird :)

    Keep in mind also, that if you use the MIT license, anyone may take your code and release it under the GPL. They may also take your code and distribute it with their modifications without providing source code turning your work into a part of their proprietary product. This is very much counter to the goals of the GPL.

    I will note that more often than not, the problem we have is people doing that anyway, regardless of the GPL. :/

  10. Samad
    Member
    Posted 9 months ago #

    Hi,

    I'm building a hosted web application using WP. Means I'm hosting one copy of WP website at my server and the clients will eventually subscribe to it and get benefits of the offered services. Now, my question is, if I'd like to customize this service for some clients and sell it to them so that they could host it at their own server, what would be the optimal solution in you opinion. I believe the GPL license of WP doesn't allow that and I don't like to build everything from scratch using an other framework.

    Thanks.

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