gifts

[long sigh]

OK people, censored comment on this post. (No, I don’t know why people blog if they don’t welcome comments either. You’d have to ask them. Just don’t go expecting an answer.)

Of course, if people have been ripping off CC-licenced images and CSS, this judgement clarifies that the original creators are well within their rights to pursue the offenders; and nine times out of ten those are the elements of the theme people are interested in stealing, not the fairly generic PHP files. I know Automattic doesn’t believe there’s any distinction between functional, not-visible-to-end-users PHP and creative artwork, but it’s sad that you’re still living in denial even when your internet lawyers have conceded the point.

One of my friends is a successful livejournal designer who has had some of her templates converted by a third party (without her permission, by the way) to wordpress themes. I’m not sure it’s actually legal to relicence someone else’s creative work as GPL, whether you’re lifting it wholesale from another platform or merely using CC-licenced images or resources, but if these people were to upload these templates to wordpress.org that’s what the situation would be. You’re obviously cool with that. I, equally obviously, am not.

WP is GPL because of a decision Michel Valdrighi made several years ago. It doesn’t make coders morally superior that they abide by the licencing terms they’re lumbered with, and it doesn’t make designers bad people to want to be credited and compensated for their creative work. Sure, you can force people to embrace GPL by blackmailing them or encouraging others to relicence their content on their behalf, but I still don’t believe that’s how open source should operate. A gift that isn’t given freely isn’t really a gift at all.

Mostly. I’m disappointed with the lack of any denial that stealing and relicensing other people’s stuff is OK with Automattic. We all knew that was the case anyway, but it’s depressing to have it confirmed again.

9 Comments »

  1. […] an excellent essay explaining why the GPL license may be detrimental to commercial developers. gifts: a very insightful comment by WordPress Wank that somehow disappeared from Lloyd’s post on […]

  2. Lloyd Budd said

    Civil, on topic comments are welcome.

  3. Dave Bonta said

    Lloyd, TGA’s comment was both civil and on-topic, and you know it. Why are you you guys such chickenshits about engaging in real debate? (FWIW, I tend to side more with your point of view than with hers.)

  4. AJ said

    Lloyd, what exactly was uncivil about her comment?
    And how is it even off topic on that post when she IS talking about theme licensing?

  5. KB said

    Ditto what Dave and AJ have both said. I believe your own bias may be clouding your better judgment Lloyd.

  6. If Lloyd thinks that was uncivil or off-topic it must be a loooong time since he did support or ventured into a forum🙄

    • ok, what have you people done with my roll-eyes smiley? replaced him with some effeminate-looking raspberry? FAIL.

      [goes off to email support]

  7. […] girl again 6:50 pm on July 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply I am now so enraged by the mysterious disappearance of my beloved roll-eyes smiley, and the replacement without notice of ALL existing smilies with anaemic substitutes and the lack […]

  8. […] vendor of theirs.  Can’t empower individuals when you deal with a company that believes discussion shouldn’t be open. Can’t strive to make information available to anyone who wants it when that information is […]

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