Matt: GPL applies to WordPress themes

by Mike on 11/18/2009

in Copycat Law, First We Kill All the Lawyers, Perpetual Beta : Release, The Intarweb

I knew that WordPress itself was covered by the GPL. What I didn’t know was that themes, even commercial themes, built to run on WordPress, also fall under the GPL, according to some GPL experts.

In this vid, Matt Mullenweg talks about the benefits of the GPL at some length, even going so far as to call those commercial theme vendors who don’t release their code under the GPL as “evil.” (Looking for some commercial-grade but GPL-released themes? Find some here.)

Now, I’ve been using a commerical, non-GPL theme for this and some of the other blogs I maintain – the very slick Thesis theme – but I hardly consider it “evil” that Pearson, et al. maintain a non-GPL license regime. They might arguably be in violation of the WordPress GPL, but there’s nothing inherently “evil” about their product or what they’ve chosen to do with it. (Notably, Pearson offers a number of free themes for download at his site, including a couple which helped cement his reputation as a talented WP theme designer.)

  • pops

    You should have said according to some GPL “experts.” Quotes because I don't believe there is any such thing. I haven't seen any court rulings setting the boundaries.

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