911 posts Never trust a ballerina with a moustache
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Carmen says

Hi guys,

Just letting you know there is an official response on it’s way. We are keeping tabs on this discussion and are aware of your concerns. As there seems to be a few issues coming up, it’s taking us a little time to get the post together, as we want to address them.

I also appreciate hearing your opinions and understand that this subject is pretty volatile. Please do your best to respect each other’s opinions, as I would hate to remove anything from the conversation.

Thanks for your patience guys, we’ll be updating you soon.

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soflyy says

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.

For GravityForms you tell users they can use the Personal license on 1 site, the Business license on 3 sites, and the Developer License on unlimited sites.

That’s the FIRST thing in list of benefits for each license at http://www.gravityforms.com/purchase-gravity-forms/

But if GravityForms is GPL users can use the personal license on as many domains as they want.

I’m interested to know your thoughts on this, since you are behind one of the most commercially successful (and GPL) plugins.

I’ve been in the WordPress plugin business in one way or another for about 5 years and I’m very seriously considering going 100% GPL. I’ve already done it on one of my plugins, with great success.

But things like this really trip me up because they make absolutely no sense.

I’d feel really bad about “tricking” my customers into buying an upsell they don’t need, which is essentially what your order page does.

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Japh says

For GravityForms you tell users they can use the Personal license on 1 site, the Business license on 3 sites, and the Developer License on unlimited sites. That’s the FIRST thing in list of benefits for each license at http://www.gravityforms.com/purchase-gravity-forms/

I’m not trying to speak for Carl or Gravity Forms here, I’m sure he’ll reply in time, but to me it appears that the purchase page for Gravity Forms is actually referring to the Support License (mentioned in section 7 of their Ts & Cs). The support license also requires annual renewal.

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carlhancock says
For GravityForms you tell users they can use the Personal license on 1 site, the Business license on 3 sites, and the Developer License on unlimited sites.

...

But if GravityForms is GPL users can use the personal license on as many domains as they want.

I’m interested to know your thoughts on this, since you are behind one of the most commercially successful (and GPL) plugins.

This is a common question that I get from users who don’t know all the ins and outs of the GPL and i’ll gladly answer it below.

Gravity Forms is GPL compliant and we do indeed sell it as a Personal License (1 Site), Business License (3 Sites) and Developer License (Unlimited).

What the features of each pricing level provide is support, support resources, priority support in the case of the Developer License, automatic updates, download access, Add-On access or lack of Add-On access and then we also have a SaaS (Software As A Service) API that Gravity Forms interacts with. Without a valid license key you would not receive any of this. All of these things are based on the pricing level you choose.

Take support for instance. Just because the code may be GPL does not mean we required to provide you with support. Nor are we required to make the code freely available to download ourselves.

However, purchase the Personal License and we’ll provide you with support and all of the benefits it includes. Purchase the Business License and we’ll extend all of these benefits to 3 sites. Purchase the Developer License and we’ll extend all of these benefits to however many sites you manage as well as support of the product on a multi-site WordPress setup.

Things such as automatic updates, the Add-On manager and some other behind the scenes goodness both in the present and in the future function via a SaaS API. It communicates back to our server and the SaaS service only functions if it’s passed a valid license key.

As with support, downloads, resources, automatic updates and any functionality delivered via SaaS is completely outside the scope of the GPL and can be proprietary.

Other good examples of SaaS plugins that are GPL but require a paid accounts to function include Automattic’s own VaultPress and Akismet. Sure the plugin code is GPL but they won’t function without a paid account at the service because some functionality occurs via a SaaS API and not on your server.

As much as it may sound like a GPL plugin or theme can’t be effectively monetized at first glance, nothing is further from the truth.

I hope that helps clarify how pricing levels come into play with a GPL commercial plugin or theme.

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pjtops says

As with support, downloads, resources, automatic updates and any functionality delivered via SaaS is completely outside the scope of the GPL and can be proprietary.

Its a smart business model, but I think you need to acknowledge the fact that for many authors here in themeforest, that kind business model is just not possible here, if all you are is a freelance themforest author. The main reason being, its a marketplace. We are selling a product, not a service. And just like most of your customers are really buying the service and not the GPL’ed code, most themeforest buyers are really buying the design, not the GPL’ed code.

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klasikweb says

Hi,

Is there an answer for this quesion?

As exclusive themeforest author, can we sell GPL wordpress theme on themeforest as well as our own site?

thanks

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purethemes says


As with support, downloads, resources, automatic updates and any functionality delivered via SaaS is completely outside the scope of the GPL and can be proprietary.
Its a smart business model, but I think you need to acknowledge the fact that for many authors here in themeforest, that kind business model is just not possible here, if all you are is a freelance themforest author. The main reason being, its a marketplace. We are selling a product, not a service. And just like most of your customers are really buying the service and not the GPL’ed code, most themeforest buyers are really buying the design, not the GPL’ed code.

+1 This is what I was talking about earlier in my comment.

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carlhancock says
Its a smart business model, but I think you need to acknowledge the fact that for many authors here in themeforest, that kind business model is just not possible here, if all you are is a freelance themforest author. The main reason being, its a marketplace. We are selling a product, not a service. And just like most of your customers are really buying the service and not the GPL’ed code, most themeforest buyers are really buying the design, not the GPL’ed code.

Wrong. There is no difference between selling a theme or plugin one of Envato’s marketplace and selling a theme or plugin on your own site. Just because it’s a marketplace doesn’t mean the same business model can’t be used.

Claiming selling GPL code is selling a service and not a product simply isn’t true.

Gravity Forms is a product. We are selling a product. That the product is GPL doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a product and we are selling it as a download and unless you purchase it from us you can’t get it from us. We aren’t a service company. We don’t do custom work or consulting. We strictly provide support for our product.

We sell a product. WooThemes sells products. StudioPress sells products.

There’s nothing stopping marketplace authors from adopting a similar model. There are already marketplace authors doing so. WooThemes and Obox are perfect examples. Both utilize the GPL for their products and both have made them available on Themeforest. It’s had no impact on their business model at all.

If we wanted to make Gravity Forms available on CodeCanyon we could and it wouldn’t have any kind of impact on our business model or how we go about running our company.

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carlhancock says

Its a smart business model, but I think you need to acknowledge the fact that for many authors here in themeforest, that kind business model is just not possible here, if all you are is a freelance themforest author. The main reason being, its a marketplace. We are selling a product, not a service. And just like most of your customers are really buying the service and not the GPL’ed code, most themeforest buyers are really buying the design, not the GPL’ed code.

Wrong. There is no difference between selling a theme or plugin one of Envato’s marketplace and selling a theme or plugin on your own site. Just because it’s a marketplace doesn’t mean the same business model can’t be used.

Claiming selling GPL code is selling a service and not a product simply isn’t true. Claiming the user is really buying a design also isn’t true. The user is buying code that includes a design. Otherwise you’d be selling a PSD. It’s not just a design.

Gravity Forms is a product. We are selling a product. That the product is GPL doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a product and we are selling it as a download and unless you purchase it from us you can’t get it from us. We aren’t a service company. We don’t do custom work or consulting. We strictly provide support for our product.

We sell a product. WooThemes sells products. Obox sells products. StudioPress sells products. Themezilla sells products. Easy Digital Downloads sells products. All are GPL. All are products. All could be sold on ThemeForest or CodeCanyon and several of these examples are already being sold on ThemeForest or Code Canyon as well as on their own product site.

There’s nothing stopping other marketplace authors from adopting a similar model. There are already marketplace authors doing so. WooThemes and Obox are perfect examples. Both utilize the GPL for their products and both have made them available on Themeforest. It’s had no impact on their business model at all.

If we wanted to make Gravity Forms available on CodeCanyon we could and it wouldn’t have any kind of impact on our business model or how we go about running our company.


+1 This is what I was talking about earlier in my comment.

You are both wrong. The only reason why you are a “freelance author” is because that is how you choose to identify yourself. Others identify themselves as a company selling a product. Even if it’s just one person.

See my reply to pjtops just above this quote for the explanation.

You guys are splitting hairs making a mountain out of a molehill issue. This entire discussion has been made far more complicated than it is or needs to be.

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jk000jk says

To be clear, can I sell gravity forms at a cheaper price on my website, maybe change its name, its design/branding a bit and offer my support since I’m a developer and I know if very well? It will be legal?

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