WordPress.org bans Themeforest members from participating in official WordCamp gatherings

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VF says

I don’t know why still serious conversations going on revolving the license. It is actually no ones problem here since our business – commercial aspects are always fine and safe. Just a matter of their interest towards encouraging purely open source contributors – this obviously requires eliminating certain contributors – doesn’t mean it is their goal or disrespect.

Since our (commercial bandwagon) way of value system differs from foss, we authors react a lot for someone just cutting a nail. :P

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SyamilMJ says

WordCamp ban is probaby just the tip of the iceberg. It could escalate to something bigger than this.

For all we know, they could run a whole campaign to ban all themes/plugins from Envato marketplace. On last 3.5.1 update there is already a “don’t buy non-GPL themes” notice for the users (not sure if it’s been there since forever, but I just noticed). I’m quite sure that they are more than capable to run a bigger campaign that would ultimately influence WordPress users to stay away from Themeforest/CC and eventually impacting everyone of us here.

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readactor says

On last 3.5.1 update there is already a “don’t buy non-GPL themes” notice for the users (not sure if it’s been there since forever, but I just noticed).

that’s interesting. where is placed that notice?

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greenshady says

First, I want to say that I believe what the WordPress Foundation is doing to Jake is crap. It’s petty. But, at the same time, it’s their playground and we’re subject to their rules if we want to play there.

Second, I’d really like for ThemeForest and CodeCanyon to allow those of us who do want to sell themes/plugins under a 100% GPL license to have that option. It can be completely opt-in. Frankly, it’s not going to hurt Envato’s bottom line as a business.

Now, on to some replies:


How does allowing sleezy people to resell someone else’s work and at the same time steal their income fit the spirit of the GPL? And if it does, why do we care about the spirit of the GPL?

Are not sleezy people re-selling people’s work regardless of the license? There tends to be a new thread around here every day or so about this sort of thing. I can pretty much find any TF theme I want for free or a lower price tag with a Web search.


Well the spirit of GPL is a nice thing if you’re developing some hobby project and have income from something else, but the spirit won’t pay your bills.

Hard work and providing something of value pays the bills.



They are 100% GPL, however, you don’t download themes from WordPress.com. It is a hosted service, so you couldn’t re-distribute that way if you wanted to.

this bring a new set of problems.

so the logic is. wordpress is released under gpl license. all stuff based on this license must be released under the same license.

yet, those themes are not released for free for everybody. those themes are breaking the wordpress license that themeforest supposedly should follow.

isn’t this the whole point of this debate?

they ask themeforest to respect a license that they actively break.

You’re misunderstanding what “free” means. Free doesn’t mean “no monetary cost” in open-source language. It’s talking about the freedom to use, modify, and distribute code.

Automattic doesn’t have to release any of their code for their service to the community. However, they still do it anyway. They regularly release free themes and plugins back to the community. They also hire full-time employees who contribute to the core WordPress code.

Also, you’re mixing up “they”. Automattic and the WordPress Foundation are two different things.


Back to topic, it appears that a few years ago Matt contacted the Software Freedom Law Center to clarify the status of themes as derivative works of WordPress and received the fitting answer : Third-party developers of such themes may apply restrictive copyrights to these elements if they wish. Obviously he’s not gotten over it and for him to come back now and say that the split licensing goes against the spirit of GPL is a very poor argument…

I just wanted to point out that this has always been Matt’s stance on this regardless of the SFLC’s opinion. He’s not coming back now with a new argument. This is the same argument.


the people who created wordpress and ask for 100% GPL are the same people who created a business in selling the use of themes without giving the users the code for those themes so they can modify and distribute them for free.

The amount of hypocrisy here is amazing.

When all the premium themes sold on wordpress com will be freely available for everyone to use, share, modify and distribute under GPL license we can have all this debate about how evil envato is and how all the authors here are greedy and bad people.

The authors who sell premium themes on wordpress com should be banned from that wordcamp event. They will do this?

Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com does not run WordPress.org, own the WordPress software, or run the WordPress Foundation. They are a business built on top of the open-source software we all love: WordPress. They are not “the people who created WordPress” (though some of them work for the company).

Also, WordPress.com does not sell WordPress themes. WordPress.com is a blog hosting service. They allow you to run a theme on their site. Some of these themes cost money to run on your site. But, they’re not selling themes.


the point is that themeforest authors are banned from wordcamp because they make money utilizing wordpress (this is debatable but let’s say is true)

Well, it’s not true. This has nothing to do with making money.

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SyamilMJ says


On last 3.5.1 update there is already a “don’t buy non-GPL themes” notice for the users (not sure if it’s been there since forever, but I just noticed).
that’s interesting. where is placed that notice?

/wp-admin/freedoms.php

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Caldazar says
As you can see, you never get to download any of these premium themes, that you’ve purchased.
You don’t need to distribute it, only if you distribute it you’re in the scope of the GPL at all.

Running a restaurant using a recipe-book, doesn’t mean you’re obliged to distribute the GPL’d recipe book itself. You can also say “if the customer wants to eat another steak, he has to buy another steak. You’re not obliged to provide an all-you-can-eat-model.

The GPL hasn’t anything to do with usage, it is only about copyright: The three parts of my “innovation chain”, copying, distribution and modification, those are the things that affect the rights of the copyright holder and only there he (and by that the GPL) has any business to tell you what to do.

It has no intention whatsoever to tell the end user (e.g a service provider) anything about how to use it. And it surely has no intention to tell you that you have to copy, modify and distribute it. But if you do, then it kicks in.

EDIT: Too late, I see this is already answered by greenshady.

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doru says

Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com does not run WordPress.org, own the WordPress software, or run the WordPress Foundation.

I’m not even trying. click here http://en.wordpress.com/about/ read first paragraph

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Typps says

You don’t need to distribute it, only if you distribute it you’re in the scope of the GPL at all.

Running a restaurant using a recipe-book, doesn’t mean you’re obliged to distribute the GPL’d recipe book itself. You can also say “if the customer wants to eat another steak, he has to buy another steak. You’re not obliged to provide an all-you-can-eat-model.

The GPL hasn’t anything to do with usage, it is only about copyright: The three parts of my “innovation chain”, copying, distribution and modification, those are the things that affect the rights of the copyright holder and only there he (and by that the GPL) has any business to tell you what to do.

It has no intention whatsoever to tell the end user (e.g a service provider) anything about how to use it. And it surely has no intention to tell you that you have to copy, modify and distribute it. But if you do, then it kicks in.

So now you want to talk legalese ? The split license is perfectly valid and does not stop innovation at all. The parts that need to be GPL are GPL.

In all honesty, if people want to distribute their code under the GPL, they can already do so on wordpress.org ; So release your stuff there. I don’t understand what the fixation is with wanting to do that here ?

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greenshady says


Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com does not run WordPress.org, own the WordPress software, or run the WordPress Foundation.
I’m not even trying. click here http://en.wordpress.com/about/ read first paragraph

Nowhere in the first paragraph or anywhere on that page do they say anything that contradicts my statement. In fact, they confirm it.

Their text:

WordPress.com is brought to you by some of the same folks who work on the open source blogging software available at WordPress.org.

Mine:

Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com does not run WordPress.org, own the WordPress software, or run the WordPress Foundation. They are a business built on top of the open-source software we all love: WordPress. They are not “the people who created WordPress” (though some of them work for the company).

Just like I could write on my own site: “This site is brought to you by one of the guys who works on the open source blogging software available at WordPress.org”.

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Typps says

Are not sleezy people re-selling people’s work regardless of the license? There tends to be a new thread around here every day or so about this sort of thing. I can pretty much find any TF theme I want for free or a lower price tag with a Web search.

I’ve seen more people make that argument and it’s a fallacy. Let’s not bring this up again as it helps nobody and nothing good comes out of it.


You’re misunderstanding what “free” means. Free doesn’t mean “no monetary cost” in open-source language. It’s talking about the freedom to use, modify, and distribute code.

We get that. But why isn’t wordpress.com supplying the code to the themes purchased with a GPL license attached. You say it is fine as long as the service is hosted and no distribution occurs. The split license is just fine too. The end result in both business models is the same.

Yet, authors from Envato cannot talk at wordcamp! Screams of hypocrisy :P

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