All posts filed under: Themes


A reader asks: Theme reviews, CC0, model releases and GPL-compatibility

Question Ulrich asks: “I do theme reviews for the theme repository on All the code and assets in the theme need to be GPL compatible. I have a few questions about how GPL compatible images work with model releases. The popular GPL compatible image licence is CC0. Can an image be released under CC0 even if there is no model release? Is a CC0 image without a model release GPL compatible? Who is responsible for getting the model release? The photographer, theme author, website owner? Who is liable if a theme with a CC0 image without a model release is used on a pornographic site?” Thanks for the great bunch of questions Ulrich. I appreciate receiving them. Outline and summary Outline Before I jump into the specific questions you’ve raised, I think it may be helpful for some people if we step back from those questions and: sketch out what and the Theme Review Handbook have to say about GPL-compatibility; describe CC0; analyse what is meant by “GPL-compatibility”; and explain why, in my …


Beware of shared hosting and the storage of backups

Backups of your WordPress site or at least your database are essential right? Yes, absolutely, but sometimes you need to be careful where you put them, as I seek to show in this true story. A good number of years ago I assumed responsibility for a non-profit, private sector organisation’s WordPress site and, because money was an issue, a well-known shared hosting provider was used to host the site.  We were mindful of the importance of backup so installed iThemes’ excellent BackupBuddy plugin. Periodically we made full site backups with the plugin. The backups were saved to a backups folder within our WordPress installation on the shared hosting server as well as to a local computer. Some time later I received an unexpected email from the hosting provider which said, among other things: “Your web hosting account for [website url] has been deactivated, as of [a specified date]. (reason: Backups/Storage Constraints) This deactivation was due to a Terms of Service violation associated with your account. At sign-up, all users state that they have read through, …


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 …