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Thoughts on the Wordpress & Thesis GPL hoo-haa

Published Mon, 19 Jul 2010

The blogosphere has been railing back and forth the past week about the assertion made by Matt Mullenweg that themes are covered by the GPL, as is Wordpress.

This post is a pretty good jumping off point if you need to get up to speed.

It appears in the context of the for-pay Thesis theme which is the primary issue in the discussion, there are a few points worth pointing out -

So with that in mind, the real question is - does the GPL apply to a non derivative work (in the legal, copyright sense) that is executed in the same process as the core GPL Wordpress code?

Yes it does.

At least, the GPL says it does - it's yet to be tested in a meaningful way. So whether that's a legally enforceable statement, remains to be seen, but the license is pretty clear on that matter.

My feelings about this issue in general are -

I actually think this debate is a good thing for the Wordpress's community. A bunch of people who previously didn't care about licensing and software freedom have now been pulled kicking and screaming into the debate.

And that can only be a good thing, if only a small step.

(For my general position on open-source licensing, have a read of my open-source page)

About the Author

Richard Nichols is an Australian software engineer with a passion for making things.

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