All posts filed under: History

clarity

“I’d rather see [an] attorney’s attention spent … on clarity and brevity”

WordPress, Wix and the GPL The Wix controversy, if I can call it that, has stirred up quite a bit of emotion in the WordPress and wider tech and open source communities. I’ve given my thoughts on what I see as the main issues in my previous post “Some thoughts on the Wix mobile app story (updated)”. In reading a wide range of comments on the various news and blog articles on this story, it strikes me that many people don’t understand the GPL, either due to its complexity at the margins (and I assure you that, at the margins, it can bamboozle lawyers too) or, in some cases, because they haven’t read it. Then, in reading further through various comments, one comment on the WP Tavern story stood out to me. Lisa League wrote: “Spending time, money, and attention on court diverts it to attorneys instead of that valuable time money, and attention spent on software. … … this is where I’d rather see attorney’s attention spent – on clarity and brevity where possible in …

GPLlicensing

WordPress themes, the GPL and the conundrum of derivative works

Meet ‘theme’ In the beginning (of WordPress that is) there was no separate theming system as we know it today. Rather, the theming system that we now know and love was added in version 1.5 (“Strayhorn”), in February 2005, and has been enhanced numerous times since then. Today, the humble theme – responsible for the layout, look and feel of a site – is a key and swappable component of virtually every WordPress installation and, as most WordPress users know, for those who don’t wish to develop their own theme there is a dazzling array of readily available themes to choose from. Evolution of commercial themes and their licensing As WordPress became more and more popular and as people began to see and leverage its value, it was inevitable that new business models would emerge. One such business model was the development and sale of premium/commercial themes. Turning to the topic of licensing (and putting what the GPL may require to one side for now), the owners of such businesses could license their themes: in their …

A-brief-history

A brief history of WordPress

Many have written accounts of the birth and growth of WordPress. For example, there’s a punchy timeline in the WordPress codex, an interesting 10 year visual history on WPMU DEV and interesting posts on WPExplorer, WPBeginner and Kinsta WordPress Hosting. An even richer account is likely to be released soon, as certain WordPress aficionados are currently writing “a new book about the history of WordPress drawing on dozens of interviews with the original folks involved and extensive research”. For the purposes of this blog, I don’t need to explore the history of WordPress in the same level of detail (and it’s best that I leave that to the historians and others). It does help, though, to set out a few key points about WordPress’s development as well as the nature and roles of Automattic Inc and the WordPress Foundation. They help one understand the origins of the WordPress software, the legal structure around WordPress and its licensing, the relationship between WordPress and WordPress.com and the relevance of the WordPress Foundation. In addition, the origin of …

My-WordPress-story

My WordPress story

How is it that a lawyer becomes wrapped up in WordPress? What makes a lawyer explore legal issues that can arise through application of the open source licence that governs its use? What makes a lawyer want to analyse a range of legal issues that can arise through personal and commercial publishing using the world’s most favoured CMS? The answer is simple: a maturing passion for WordPress. Yes I’m a lawyer (sounds like a confession doesn’t it) but I’m also a keen WordPress user and have been for a long time. I thought I’d tell my story to enable readers of WP and Legal Stuff to understand how this all came to pass. Blogging and RSS fever I have vivid memories of coming across blogging and RSS in 2004. I was working in Frankfurt, Germany, having transferred there from London, England (and I’d transferred there some time earlier from Wellington, New Zealand). For some reason, the freedom and immediacy of personal publishing and the distributive power of RSS captured my imagination, so much so that …