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Prothemeus says

Another note: If there would be some douchebag selling the 100% GPL themes in a 15$ bundle for example, I think the authors should prepare to get their reputations tarnished. Why? If any of those bundle users encounter a bug or have a support question, who do you think they will go to?

I’m out of these 100% GPL licences.

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Typps says

If any of those bundle users encounter a bug or have a support question, who do you think they will go to?

They will turn to you of course and support is only provided to paying clients. It means more business for you.

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Little-Neko says

They will turn to you of course and support is only provided to paying clients. It means more business for you.
I’d say more non profitable business. Say you have 20 sales for 1 buyer asking for support. The 19 first buyers are actually paying for the support of the 1 guy who needs it.

If you only get buyers with problem, then you will most of the time loose money providing free support, because the low sale price wont pay your time spent on support.

I really can’t see how 100% GPL is good for a TF author, unless raising the item price, or doing it the WP.com way (you cant download the themes, you pay for a service, so everyone is paying and there s no free bundle of premium themes around).

Still i’d be glad to be convinced, i like the idea of GPL :)

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Typps says

@Little-Neko: Hence you’d have a private forum where access is provided only to paying clients. People are already doing this for various reasons, so it won’t change a great deal for most from that aspect.

You do not only get buyers with problems. Support and updates do however become your selling point. Add to that the fact that you are an author in this marketplace, where it counts and I think in the end it won’t change much from the current split licensed model.

Quite frankly, the extended license does not sell at all. The regular license is already abused and there is nothing to enforce the binding contract.

The GPL on the other hand does not have this problem. It’s a single license and seems suitable for a lot of scenarios you cannot control, allowing you to focus on the most important aspect of your business. The support/updates angle :)

Edit: For the record, I do not champion the GPL. It’s just that the more I think about it, the more sense it makes to have in the current marketplace.

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CodingJack says


We need to create a rule against this type of promotion. Because going 100% GPL should be done because you care about complying with WordPress, NOT to gain a competitive advantage. And if this competitive unbalance starts to occur, it means we’re ALL going to be forced to go full GPL just to compete. :(
If this happens, bye bye ThemeForest :D

I’d like to propose that authors NOT be able to advertise GPL at all. ThemeForest is a marketplace, not a candy store. If we educate buyers about what GPL means, it will only have negative effects. Like I said before, authors should be going full GPL because they believe in “the cause”, NOT because they’re looking for a competitive advantage. And not being allowed to advertise full GPL will essentially eliminate any possibility of that.

And honestly, what difference does it make? If you did a poll asking buyers if they had any clue about the current split licensing, I guarantee the numbers would be incredibly low. We don’t talk about the current licensing on our item pages, so there’s no point in suddenly talking about unless the author is looking for a competitive edge.

And when I mean “no advertisement”, I mean none in the help files either. The only thing that should be acceptable is this:

“For license information, visit this link” (leads to Envato license page)

Personally I think we’ve got to take this issue seriously. The marketplaces are doing great the way they are, let’s not violently shake the boat.

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VF says

I’d like to propose that authors NOT be able to advertise GPL at all.

ROFL This slightly touches even human rights! :D

Just saying, don’t worry much man; Buyers have many things to weigh rather than just finding the licenses that gives them infinite (unwanted) freedom. The more creative and up-to-date (device support) a theme has, the author will surely opt for split license to protect him/herself first. Even if such authors decides to give unlimited usage per sale, still buyers want different design / features for different projects. Full GPL theme doesn’t necessarily mean to become a black hole that sucks all other irrelevant item’s sale.

For what we still need to afraid about is, having an upper limit for pricing regardless of the density+coverage of features a theme does. This will contribute more black hole effect on sales (as we already familiar) than what happens through the license freedom. Just trying to point the different variables; not as a compliant about pricing.

I still see plugins buyers will get attracted about full GPL rather than theme buyers.

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Little-Neko says

I’d like to propose that authors NOT be able to advertise GPL at all. Personally I think we’ve got to take this issue seriously. The marketplaces are doing great the way they are, let’s not violently shake the boat.
Well google ‘GPL premium WP themes’ and you will see that “GPL license” doesnt seems to be a killer marketing tool. Actually none of the GPL marketplaces i saw are claiming it loud and clear on their front page… Must be a reason. No need to hurt human rights yet :)
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CodingJack says


I’d like to propose that authors NOT be able to advertise GPL at all.
ROFL This slightly touches even human rights! :D

I know it’s a pipe dream but it’s a good one :D


I still see plugins buyers will get attracted about full GPL rather than theme buyers.

+1 no doubt this will make a difference to plugin buyers.


Well google ‘GPL premium WP themes’ and you will see that “GPL license” doesnt seems to be a killer marketing tool. Actually none of the GPL marketplaces i saw are claiming it loud and clear on their front page… Must be a reason. No need to hurt human rights yet :)

Trust me, things can get pretty cut-throat between authors around here.

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Little-Neko says

@Typps Yes, i understand the business model of GPL, you don’t sell software but a service, or products that are using the software (like Red Hat does). I dont think i can name other marketplaces here, but i m thinking about a famous one who has much higher prices for themes + monthly fee for support “club”. Again wp.com doesnt let you download the themes. Both are totally different business models than ‘one time (cheap) sale + download the software + free support’ you have on TF.

I’m not pro or anti GPL either, i’d just like to understand the benefits for a TF authors, if there are any, within this marketplace business model. And i think it’s a good thing choice will be there for authors who want it. Untill now, it sounds like philosophical point to me, i respect it if it makes people happy :)

@CodingJack Yep, i guess so, but still I dont feel going GPL is smart business on a long term, i mean, inside Envato marketplace, and especially for CC plugins, as i bet you would find all thoses GPL plugin listed in “free plugins” blogs everywhere online the day after their release. Who will buy them then?

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Caldazar says

I’m not pro or anti GPL either, i’d just like to understand the benefits for a TF authors, if there are any, within this marketplace business model.
If you look at every author as seperate players, not so much. The benefit lies in the infrastructure, the marketplace itself, from which every participant profits.

With free software the distinction who is competitor, customer or partner becomes blurred. This leads to a much faster creation of value because of a much higher frequency of innovation.

Right now:
Adam creates a wheel, sells it for 12$ per unit.
Beth creates a motor, sells it for 64$ per unit.
[etc.]

Nice and cuddly, only little competition, maybe some people re-inventing the wheel, some pirates, nothing alarming.

But creating and selling cars? No way ! Adam, Beth and a hundred other competitor-partner-customers would have to cooperate on that.

Yes, they’d end up selling very similar cars and had to figure out different ways to get an advantage over their competitors.
Yes, the pirates would be called free-riders and still not give a flying * about any licence.

But cars instead of the some wheels!

That’s the whole point: The “standing on a giant’s shoulders”-principle maxed out.
Nothing can compete with a free market although competition within this market might be tougher.

All that given, the government (Envato) get’s the infrastructure right.

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