Support » Themes and Templates » Selling commercial themes?

  • A friend of mine has started building custom wordpress theme for clients and makes nice money from it. It this legal? Is everybody allowed to sell a theme?

    He doesn’t charge for wordpress itself, but for installation and customization – and for designing…. He codes all themes from the start since they are not typical blog layouts and since he is a good programmer. He says he would not ever sell any theme based on someone elses theme. What restrictions are there?? Are all themes automaticaly placed under some license? A link to a good codex article would be great. i could not find any….

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Well, it’s tricky. But look at it this way. He is getting paid to create custom designs, images, themes, etc. Shouldn’t he be compensated for his time? For his work?

    I see no issues with what he is doing at all.

    This is in fact something I’ve been contemplating myself. I’m no programmer, so I don’t know if the line would be blurred or not… but I’ve been considering adding something like “Blog Setup” to my list of services, using WordPress specifically. This would include a from-scratch design for the blog, and setup of the administrative portions.

    As for your friend, I don’t see any violations in what he’s doing. He’s not selling WordPress itself, he’s creating templates and setting up software. Does it matter if the software is freeware, open source or paid software? If he were setting up a server for someone, he would still charge accordingly for his services regardless of what the server software cost.

    I would say there is a high demand for people who can make custom themes, if they charge a reasonable price.

    I know I’d rather be paying someone than all the time I’ve spent learning it, yet, whenever I ask on the forum the advice is always “It’s easy to learn it, check this codex and that codex”. Yeah, it’s easy enough, but you know what, I’d pay someone who knows how already, $20-$50-$200 to save me the time depending on what you could do for my blogs.

    You can pick up jobs on Rent-A-Coder if you don’t have clients of your own.

    Copying one of the free themes and selling it would be cheating, by the way, if anyone is doing this I hope you get called out.

    Let’s get something straight. Just because something is OpenSource, doesn’t mean it has to be free. However, there is a certain amount of ethics involved (or lack of it) if you start going around selling WP to people. People tend to look down on it because you’d be getting something for nothing. But there is nothing in the GPL that says you cannot charge for it.

    That aside, there’s nothing wrong with selling a SERVICE that happens to be WP related, like building a theme, or installing WP, or a plugin.

    As for copying a free theme and selling it, that’s a grey area… it really depends on the licensing of the theme.

    I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. The above is my interpretation of the matters as I understand them and may not be entirely accurate.

    Don’t loads of people do this..

    I’m a freelancer.. who happens to love wordpress and want’s to encourage my clients to use it. So the sites I’m designing at the moment use wordpress, but I’m not selling wordpress, I’m using it as a tool for web design – my clients understand I didn’t make wordpress and that’s it’s open source and I’m just installing it and designing the theme that works for them (usually a cms theme rather than a blog!)

    There’s nothing tricky or blurry about charging for software/services that enhances/augments GPL/open source code.

    This practice has been going on forever and is thoroughly encouraged. Ever heard of a company called Red Hat ? How about a tiny operating system called OS X ?

    The only thing not allowed is passing off someone else’s work (whole or in part) as your own. That particular scenario is not what the original poster asked about. They asked about charging for original code that works with open source code; and that scenario is in total compliance with many of the open source licenses out there.

    Good points.. I have seen that my favorite webdesigner is also building custom themes. When I start looking around, several people do this. But noone advertise it from what I see! My big idol charges a lot for teh themes but at the same time he is world famous for his skillz so people pay good…. I understand that it is worth it to many ppl. thx for the reply

    There are coders who customize WP for clients with specioal needs; there are designers who make new, custom themes for clients who don’t want (or don’t have time) to learn how to do it; there are others who make themes to blend into the existing site of the client… and so on.
    All are legitimate businesses. Except coding I also do all the above. They don’t pay me for WP: most of the time WP is already installed on their site. They pay to have a unique, special theme. It is absolutely legal (to answer the initial question) and yes, everybody is allowed to sell a theme.

Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • The topic ‘Selling commercial themes?’ is closed to new replies.