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

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Caldazar says

GPL is a completely different style of selling / distributing software. I just set a link to the basic answer as I couldn’t say it better.

The essence:

“[...] it is not the product itself that carries value. The value lies in the intellectual and/or creative work that went into the product. [...] What you have to sell [...] is the creativity and skill behind the code.”

You see? Copies of your software aren’t rare so they don’t have any monetary value. Your skills and your understanding of your software are the rare goods here. That pretty much sums up the whole philosophy.

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PixelBuffet says

“[...] it is not the product itself that carries value. The value lies in the intellectual and/or creative work that went into the product. [...] What you have to sell [...] is the creativity and skill behind the code.” You see? Copies of your software aren’t rare so they don’t have any monetary value. Your skills and your understanding of your software are the rare goods here. That pretty much sums up the whole philosophy.

...but this is just a shop selling digital goods.

People like WooThemes have had to adapt to going 100% GPL, You can get all their themes elsewhere for $15. They are now basically selling updates and support for a theme (for a year).

How can Envato do that? They can review themes (i.e. the product itself) to make sure it’s good enough for their (and our) customers but how do they review and price the support and knowledge of the author…?

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Typps says

GPL is a completely different style of selling / distributing software. I just set a link to the basic answer as I couldn’t say it better.

The essence:

“[...] it is not the product itself that carries value. The value lies in the intellectual and/or creative work that went into the product. [...] What you have to sell [...] is the creativity and skill behind the code.”

You see? Copies of your software aren’t rare so they don’t have any monetary value. Your skills and your understanding of your software are the rare goods here. That pretty much sums up the whole philosophy.

Just out of curiosity, how do you expect the marketplace to price the item of a blatant copy if that were allowed ? Should it cost less than the original ? Clearly you’ve done little to no work, how is this supposedly priced because the item being published is the same with slight variations ? If it costs less and is the same item, people will buy that because common sense will prevail due to the rock-bottom pricing.

I get the philosophy but GPL licensing option aside, which is quite nice as authors have this liberty, I’m hoping the business model does not change to the extent where any blatant copy of the original work is accepted because it’s GPL. One of the corner stones of this marketplace is exclusivity and I’m just not seeing this happen here (hopefully).

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greenshady says

We actually deal with “copycats” easily on WordPress.org.

It’s not illegal or immoral to copy a GPL-licensed theme and distribute it. However, we want original themes and not a bunch copies of TwentyTen or something like that. It simply doesn’t make sense to allow such a thing. Otherwise, the repository would be flooded with junk.

Here’s a few ways we deal with theme submissions copied in whole or in part.

Straight up copy

Not allowed. Themes should be your original work, at least as far as the overall design is concerned.

Copied theme with design modifications

Not allowed. We tell you to build a child theme instead. Now, if the theme has enough significant changes to warrant a completely new theme, we deal with that on a case-by-case basis.

On TF, this could be a golden oppurtunity to bring in more cash for authors, but I won’t get into that too much right now.

Copied code

Allowed if you follow the license requirements. For example, if you copy code from a GPL-licensed theme, you must keep copyright notices intact.

By the way, I just had another author’s theme removed from WordPress.org the other day for removing my copyright notices from the code he used of mine.

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Caldazar says

...but this is just a shop selling digital goods. [...]
The price isn’t the difficult thing, it may as well stay the same.

The difference is: If you think that people pay you because they have to and that they are so impressed by your licence that it creates an effective artificial monopoly, then stay away from FOSS.

With FOSS you’re either confident that people pay you (rather than your copycat-competitor) because they want to or that you have ways to make it so.

The ways to make it so differ between the types of software you sell. Maybe you have the better community around your product, better support, faster updates (than the copycat bothers to copy), a well maintained issue-tracker. Maybe crowd-funding of a frequently required new feature?

Point is: Continuous effort. If you go GPL, forget about spewing out a “product” once and then live on it for years. On that assumtion you’re right, that doesn’t work.

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Typps says

@greenshady, Sounds good and makes sense, I’m expecting something similar here as well ^^

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PixelBuffet says

We actually deal with “copycats” easily on WordPress.org…
Thanks for your insight Justin. I guess it’s not as complicated as I’d thought. Envato would have to draw a similar set of guidelines and be consistent with them.

This does still leave one aspect open though, which you guys don’t have to deal with on .org…

What do you think Envato should do if I took a design of a WP theme (100% GPL) and ported it to Drupal / Joomla. Would this be ok, so long as I kept the author credit in the CSS?

I can see a fair few authors not worrying about the copycats, or those who want something for nothing (as they’d pirate it anyway). I can, however, see them being very unhappy about their theme being sold by someone else on a different platform. Yet that would kind of be the point of extending the GPL to cover the CSS/images wouldn’t it? If it’s ok to do it with the code, should it be ok to do it with the design too?

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FinalDestiny says


We actually deal with “copycats” easily on WordPress.org…
Thanks for your insight Justin. I guess it’s not as complicated as I’d thought. Envato would have to draw a similar set of guidelines and be consistent with them.

This does still leave one aspect open though, which you guys don’t have to deal with on .org…

What do you think Envato should do if I took a design of a WP theme (100% GPL) and ported it to Drupal / Joomla. Would this be ok, so long as I kept the author credit in the CSS?

I can see a fair few authors not worrying about the copycats, or those who want something for nothing (as they’d pirate it anyway). I can, however, see them being very unhappy about their theme being sold by someone else on a different platform. Yet that would kind of be the point of extending the GPL to cover the CSS/images wouldn’t it? If it’s ok to do it with the code, should it be ok to do it with the design too?

Not a chance. This is ripoff and you don’t have any rights to redistribute something that’s not your work.

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organicbee says



We actually deal with “copycats” easily on WordPress.org…
Thanks for your insight Justin. I guess it’s not as complicated as I’d thought. Envato would have to draw a similar set of guidelines and be consistent with them.

This does still leave one aspect open though, which you guys don’t have to deal with on .org…

What do you think Envato should do if I took a design of a WP theme (100% GPL) and ported it to Drupal / Joomla. Would this be ok, so long as I kept the author credit in the CSS?

I can see a fair few authors not worrying about the copycats, or those who want something for nothing (as they’d pirate it anyway). I can, however, see them being very unhappy about their theme being sold by someone else on a different platform. Yet that would kind of be the point of extending the GPL to cover the CSS/images wouldn’t it? If it’s ok to do it with the code, should it be ok to do it with the design too?
Not a chance. This is ripoff and you don’t have any rights to redistribute something that’s not your work.

if it was GPL he would actually have the rights, though my guess is Envato would make a policy where its not acceptable

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bitfade says

^ But what if reviewer mistakenly approved? The original author can’t send DMCA
Exactly my thought.

however, as long as 100% GPL = opt in like the extended license, it would be author decision.

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