1594 posts Chris Robinson
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contempoinc says

I’m getting the feeling this whole 100% GPL thing wasn’t fully thought through by Envato, and for that reason I’ll stick with the split licensing.

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vazz says

Carlhancock, I perfectly understand what you are saying and I do agree with you, yes there’s an agreement period. But what I mean is, this is wrong from the start, it generates absurd conclusions. Can anyone sell the GPL theme everywhere, except the author?

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organicbee says

for anyone wondering this is what the “exclusive” agreement states

Agreeing to keep your portfolio of items for sale exclusive to the Envato Marketplaces entitles you to a higher percentage of each sale — from 50% to 70%. You can still sell other items elsewhere (on other marketplaces, your own site) however any items you place on an Envato Marketplace must be exclusively sold there.

on a side note, not sure how much it will matter from what I’ve heard only a handful of authors have actually gone GPL

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vazz says
from what I’ve heard only a handful of authors have actually gone GPL
probably because it makes no sense?
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organicbee says

from what I’ve heard only a handful of authors have actually gone GPL
probably because it makes no sense?

To you it doesn’t make sense, to some it does. ;-)

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carlhancock says

Carlhancock, I perfectly understand what you are saying and I do agree with you, yes there’s an agreement period. But what I mean is, this is wrong from the start, it generates absurd conclusions. Can anyone sell the GPL theme everywhere, except the author?

Yes. Unless they enter into a personal contract with Envato or some other marketplace promising exclusivity of course.

But despite the fear of end users undercutting the author and reselling the GPL code elsewhere, it’s unlikely to post a major issue. The community polices itself.

As I mentioned Envato is not going to allow an end user to resell a theme they purchased from you on their marketplace, nor is any other reputable WordPress related marketplace. WordPress.org’s plugin repository would also reject the submission of a commercial theme that is being submitted for free to undercut the author.

Sure it’s not against the licensing but it’s against community decency. The GPL doesn’t give you the right to sell code on Envato or make it available via the WordPress.org plugin or theme repositories. That’s unrelated to the GPL.

So yes, a user could attempt to sell your GPL theme elsewhere even if you can’t. But any reputable marketplace wouldn’t allow it if it was brought to their attention because it’s just not kosher.

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vazz says

@carlhancock, indeed but it’s more about the principle, at least from my side. Thank you for the debate, really useful:)

@chrisakelley, I may be to innocent/naive (to speak nicely) but I didn’t figure it out lol.

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bitfade says

How can GPL themes still be considered TF exclusive when the license grants redistribution rights to the end user ? How pointless is to limit the author when everybody else is not ?

The issue here are Envato exclusivity terms for authors selling GPL items, not the GPL itself.

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carlhancock says

How can GPL themes still be considered TF exclusive when the license grants redistribution rights to the end user ? How pointless is to limit the author when everybody else is not ? The issue here are Envato exclusivity terms for authors selling GPL items, not the GPL itself.

I would suggest you read the rest of my replies in this thread for more insight.

The GPL only applies to the end user. It doesn’t apply to the author. The exclusivity you enter into with Envato only applies to how you choose to sell the product. It has nothing to do with the GPL license the code is released using.

As for it being pointless, i’ve already mentioned that reselling another WordPress developers commercial theme and plugin is not considered kosher by the community. It’s not something condoned by the major marketplaces and it’s not something condoned by the WordPress.org plugin and theme repositories. Now if the end user drastically changes the theme or plugin and creates something new out of it, that is another story.

It’s most definitely not pointless.

Case in point. Gravity Forms is currently sold exclusively through the Gravity Forms web site and it is not available on CodeCanyon. If Gravity Forms were to be made available in CodeCanyon it wouldn’t do so under an exclusive deal because it’s sales channel is already well established. However, if it were not well established it very well could be sold exclusively via CodeCanyon.

You need to separate the agreement you sign with Envato and the agreement your code is released under when choosing to release the code as GPL. They are two very different things.

I’ll use a made up example to illustrate this situation…

- I design and sell T-Shirts - I sign an exclusive deal with Threadless to sell my T-Shirt design on their site - A user buys my t-shirt design - The user sells it on eBay - I cannot personally sell it on eBay because of my exclusive deal with Threadless but there is nothing stopping someone else from doing so because they are free to do so if they choose.

This example is not unusual.

The situation with the GPL as it relates to Envato exclusivity is the same type of situation.

Although unlike t-shirts, the WordPress community doesn’t look too kindly on users undercutting the developer of commercial themes and plugins by giving them away or reselling them. It’s not against the GPL but it simply isn’t considered kosher by the community unless the user has made significant changes to the theme or plugin to create something new out of it. So it actually has more protections from this scenario than say a t-shirt designer would.

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pezflash says

So yes, a user could attempt to sell your GPL theme elsewhere even if you can’t. But any reputable marketplace wouldn’t allow it if it was brought to their attention because it’s just not kosher.

And what about all those piracy marketplaces? Are they also reputable enough?
As far as i understand, you are allowing them to redistribute for any given price, including zero. So at the end the only advantage a purchase gives here is support (the infamous thing that has been never mandatory). Voilá, the future of Themeforest.

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