• I’m new to WordPress and I’m discovering that there are a large number of plug-ins I would have to pay for, if I want to receive/use them and that I am tightly constrained in how I can use them.

    Having used another open-source CMS I am aware there have been issues with charging for themes and open-source. Indeed, I purchased a theme for that CMS last year and the provider made clear that the php code was open source under GPL, but that css and other files were not. This I understood.

    In searching for information on the internet, I came across this http://news.softpedia.com/news/WordPress-Law-Adopt-GPL-or-Face-Legal-Action-148811.shtml which seems a similar issue. However, I could find nothing on any similar stance being taken against paid-plugin sellers.

    Does his mean that these plug-ins are exempt from the WordPress licensing model. If so how and why, given themes seem not to be.

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • esmi


    Forum Moderator

    GPL (or “open-source”) does not automatically equate to “free”. A commercial plugin can still be released under GPL.

    My question was not so much about whether GPL automatically equates to free – I am well aware it doesn’t. Neither was it about whether a “commercial” plug-in can be released under GPL.

    My question was more in respect of constraints that are imposed on commercial plug-ins which apparently contradict the GPL licensing model. e.g. limitations of use, no right to distribute/modify etc.

    The link I provided – I’m not sure whether you read it esmi – outlines a stance being taken by WordPress against theme providers. My question was if themes are not exempt from the WordPress licensing model, then how & why are plug-ins.

    Moderator James Huff


    Halfelf Minion 🚀

    The action is being taken against themes which copy core WordPress code and release it as their own under a proprietary license. WordPress’ GPL license allows code to be copied and redistributed, so long as it is also released under the GPL. If the copied code is released under any other license (creative commons, copyright, etc.), it is in violation of WordPress’ GPL license and illegal.

    Non-GPL plugin developers have nothing to worry about as long as they are not copying the code of WordPress or any other GPL-licensed plugins.

    For an in-depth overview of the whole issue mentioned in your article, I highly recommend listening to this debate (it’s quite entertaining too):


Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
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