We are releasing a theme which uses a plugin that is for sale on CodeCanyon and have purchased the extended license. According the plugin author and my interpretation of the extended license, we need to incorporate the plugin into our theme in order to follow the licensing terms… but, when we submitted the file for review it was rejected with a note saying we shouldn’t include plugins directly in our theme and should keep them separate.
So, which is it? I would rather keep the plugin separate if that still follows the licensing terms.
That’s a strange situation. You should keep the plugin separate of course, but on the other hand you are right about the licensing terms. I request a staff reply to your post – it would be good to hear a official answer.
Yeah, it’s not very clear. I had requested a staff reply as well.
You can include the plugin if you have made deal with the codecayan author. However you should not modify the theme files and merge them in your theme code because that way the theme users won’t be able to update that plugin. So you can for example create a folder in your theme package and include the external plugins in that folder and in the theme documentation you can explain how to install the plugin.
I would prefer to keep the plugin as an external plugin and I would use the TGM plugin activator for easy installation.
Either way, though, the users would not be able to update the plugin themselves without the update being included in the theme (as an external plugin or otherwise) since they would not have access to the plugin directly to receive updates.
I’m still waiting for a staff reply on this… I know the same plugin has been used in a few other themes and the plugin author seemed pretty confident in saying the plugin needs to be included in the them.
Sometimes embedding a plugin in a theme is the right move. For example, a theme I created uses a plugin that provides functionality I didn’t want to code myself and couldn’t really find done anywhere else either. So I forked a copy, updated it for Wordpress and embedded it in my theme. I control the updates and when I need to bring it up to scratch, I’ll issue a theme update with the updated plugin.