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purethemes says

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.

You must live in some utopia if you don’t realize that there will be people exploiting this to the max, no matter what WordPress community will think about it. The various theme-shops can be GPL because they have closed ecosystem with their themes, support, subscription payments etc. It’s all different here simply because ThemeForest is marketplace, but I’m still pretty sure that number of authors who will go to GPL will be so small that rather insignificant.

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vazz says
As far as i understand, you are allowing them to redistribute for any given price, including zero.
But this is a GPL issue not a Themeforest one.
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bitfade says

The GPL only applies to the end user. It doesn’t apply to the author.
thanks but explanations are not needed, the difference between the license under which items are sold and the terms of the author agreements was quite clear to me since i joined the marketplace.

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.

search “copycat” in the forums to have picture of what happens here already, even without the GPL.

No matter how you put it, the exclusive agreement has just one purpose: to ensure that items sold on envato marketplaces cannot be purchased elsewhere.

By releasing them under the GPL, resale/redistribute rights are granted to end users and any restriction imposed by the exclusive agreement becomes pointless since there’s no way to prevent those items from being offered elsewhere, rather paid or free

The fact that the author is not the one using different distribution channels is completely irrelevant.

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carlhancock says
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.

No, they are not reputable and you underestimate the impact pirates sites will have on your sales if you think they will post a problem.

Downloading themes and plugins from pirate sites and marketplaces is like playing russian roulette. You’ll most likely get burned. They are rife with malware. If you want your WordPress site to be compromised and used by blackhat SEO’s then by all means… download themes and plugins from these types of sites.

The average WordPress user has no problem paying for themes and plugins. The type of user that is going to turn to the pirate sites are the type of user that weren’t going to buy your theme or plugin to begin with. They are also the type of user that is oblivious to the fact that those sites are a major source of WordPress malware, otherwise they’d steer well clear of them.

If the GPL was a hinderance to commercial theme and plugin developer there wouldn’t be so many highly successful and profitable thema and plugin companies in existence. But that simply isn’t the case. Gravity Forms. WooThemes. iThemes. StudioPress. Easy Digital Downloads. Press75. Organic Themes. Theme Foundry. PageLines. AppThemes. WPZoom. Themify. Colorlabs. ThemeShift. Crowd Favorite. Headway. Obox. Standard. Need I go on?

There are a large number of high successful WordPress theme and plugin products that are GPL and haven’t been hindered by it in the slightest and they were GPL long before ThemeForest made the GPL an option for it’s authors and in many cases they were selling themes and plugins longer than Envato has been.

The myth that the GPL will be detrimental to a commercial theme or plugin is just that. A myth.

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carlhancock says
You must live in some utopia if you don’t realize that there will be people exploiting this to the max, no matter what WordPress community will think about it. The various theme-shops can be GPL because they have closed ecosystem with their themes, support, subscription payments etc. It’s all different here simply because ThemeForest is marketplace, but I’m still pretty sure that number of authors who will go to GPL will be so small that rather insignificant.

Utopia? Maybe you should educate yourself on the greater WordPress commercial ecosystem. ThemeForest is but one piece of a much larger puzzle. The fact that it is a marketplace doesn’t afford it any special circumstances when it comes to the GPL and it’s perceived negative impact.

If the GPL was a hinderance to commercial theme and plugin developer there wouldn’t be so many highly successful and profitable thema and plugin companies in existence. But that simply isn’t the case.

Gravity Forms. WooThemes. iThemes. StudioPress. Easy Digital Downloads. Press75. Organic Themes. Theme Foundry. PageLines. AppThemes. WPZoom. Themify. Colorlabs. ThemeShift. Crowd Favorite. Headway. Obox. Standard.

ALL GPL compliant. Need I go on?

But what do I know. I only run a multi-million dollar commercial plugin business. I couldn’t possibly know what i’m talking about.

I’ll tell you a little secret. The average WordPress theme or plugin consumer doesn’t know what the GPL is and doesn’t care what the GPL is. It won’t have a negative impact. They are more than willing to pay for a good product and are honest people. If you spend your time worrying about piracy and dishonest people you aren’t focusing on the users that actually want to give you their money.

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carlhancock says
No matter how you put it, the exclusive agreement has just one purpose: to ensure that items sold on envato marketplaces cannot be purchased elsewhere.

...

The fact that the author is not the one using different distribution channels is completely irrelevant.

Wrong. The fact that the author is not the one distributing the code is completely relevant. The official distribution channel for a product is most definitely 100% relevant regardless of the licensing type. It is the distribution channel that the vast majority of end users will use to purchase the code. If you think otherwise you are giving the pirate sites far more credit than they deserve.

The exclusivity is between the author and Envato. The fact that the code in question is GPL is irrelevant. If you are concerned about end user distribution of your code then you are fretting over something that ultimately will not have a negative impact on your business. It’s a drop in the bucket.

Reputable sites and popular community resource sites aren’t keen on distributing commercial themes and plugins because undercutting the author is frowned upon by the overall community.

And as far as the “pirate” sites go… well… they are already distributing your themes and plugins and no restrictive license is going to stop them so as a business you’d be better served by ignoring them rather than expending any energy worrying about them. Users who use them are asking for their sites to be infected with Malware.

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klasikweb says

Hi,

I’m following this discussion.

As exclusive author right now we have one html template for sale on themeforest.

With the new themeforest GPL License, we plan to sell the wordpress version here on themeforest also sell the similar item on our own site. I believe is not break the GPL rules.

I was read above that we as exclusive author can’t sell the theme on other site including on their own site, but buyer who bought the theme from themeforest can sell the theme on other site:

So If our staff bought the theme from themeforest then he can sell it on other site, am I right?

Thanks

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dekciw says

@carlhancock,

If I understand correctly, Gravity Forms is 100% GPL? So tell me, how can you offer personal / business / developer licenses for 100% GPL plugin? For example, I want to use Gravity Forms on 3 projects. Should I buy business license which allows me to do that? Or should I buy personal license (which allows to use the plugin on 1 site) and use it in all three projects I’m working on? I cannot see the point, why should I pay 60$ extra, if in the end I get that same GPL licensed plugin (free to use on as many projects as I need).

Ok, if I’m wrong, and cannot do that, because your ‘personal’ license doesn’t let me act like this – stop advocating for 100% GPL. 100% GPL cannot be licensed under any additional ‘personal’, ‘business’, ‘etc’ licenses or it won’t be 100% GPL. Sadly, but there’s no combination of ‘80% GPL + 20% Business’ License in this game.

Oh, and one more question, which one – personal, business or developer license should I buy if I want to resell your plugin on my own website? :)

EDIT: Which license should I get, if I want to bundle 100% GPL Gravity Forms plugin with my theme? :)

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pezflash says

And as far as the “pirate” sites go… well… they are already distributing your themes and plugins and no restrictive license is going to stop them so as a business you’d be better served by ignoring them rather than expending any energy worrying about them. Users who use them are asking for their sites to be infected with Malware.

Maybe, but with the “subtle” difference you are turning the whole thing legal. So they won’t be pirate sites regarding this files, but marketplaces giving away free themes and earning with ads or subscriptions.

I really appreciate your efforts to explain this tricky question, but honestly, thinking about it seems surrealist at a minimum.

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blogjunkie says

As a theme buyer / user I want to give my point of view. As a buyer, price is only 1 of the many concerns when choosing a theme. The other most important criteria is support – that is what I will pay for. I would happily pay $199 a year (only $16.50 a month) for someone to look at my problem and figure out a solution.

Personally I find that many ThemeForest authors sorely lack the support that many 100% GPL shops provide. I won’t buy anything with “post in the comments for support”. At the very least you need a support site, at best you should have dedicated email ticketing.

It’s just like buying a car – I won’t buy a car that doesn’t have a dealer where I can go get parts and maintenance. My website is as important if not more important than a car for my business, so SUPPORT IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

For these reasons I won’t download pirate themes. Even more so for complicated themes that have lots of options – pirate theme sites won’t even have a manual. (I’m just guessing how it works on pirate theme sites – I’ve never actually visited one before).

Finally, unlike most people I actually know what the GPL is. And while I don’t always agree with the WordPress Foundation’s policies and decisions, I respect the GPL and what it stands for. I think that for many theme authors on Envato, their themes are their livelihoods. If you make your livelihood off a GPL software, then you should respect it’s principles because it was what enabled you to make your livelihood in the first place. Imagine if you had to pay a fee to become a developer like the iOS developer program. WordPress is free, but theme authors shouldn’t take it for granted. Respect why and how it’s free for you, and practice those same principles in your business.

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