Premium WordPress Themes Have Lots of Licensing Issues!

February 15th, 2009

Lots of you get the idea behind Linux, its openness, freedom to develop it and most importantly freedom to share your newly developed work. All those things implicate to GPL license, thorough which Linux is released.

On the other hand, this does not preclude anyone from charging for support for Linux-related activities. For example, people can charge for installing Linux. People can charge for telephone, email, or chat support, and so on and so forth. So this means there is a business model that can be built upon GPL based systems!

Oh, you guest it, WordPress is also GPL licensed product so it pratically gives you all  four freedoms that every user should have:

  • the freedom to use the software for any purpose,
  • the freedom to change the software to suit your needs,
  • the freedom to share the software with your friends and neighbors, and
  • the freedom to share the changes you make.

But does this apply to WordPress themes?

I’ve been following debates on forums and blogs for quite some time and still don’t have an answer. On technical side I would say Yes, all themes should be licensed through GPL compatible license but on the other hand what about art work you put into it? – icons, graphics, overall structure etc.?

Final conclusions

  • Yes, you can sell/buy premium themes, but not without full support included (not just forums but full author support).
  • No Theme should be restricted to so called ‘Developer version’ or sth similar.
  • People behind WordPress should encourage people to develop professional themes.
  • Making BizzArtic work GPL compatible is my next priority.

Follow debates yourself, shape your opinion and post a comment from it

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