All posts tagged: automattic

CookieFeatured

Automattic, WordPress.com, Jetpack, European cookie laws and transparency

Setting the scene In Legal checks when building a content-driven WordPress website, I discussed cookies — not the edible variety but the small text files that are stored on your computer or mobile device when you visit or undertake certain activity on certain websites (for further information about cookies, see http://www.allaboutcookies.org.) I observed that, whilst many countries don’t have laws that require disclosure of cookies, in Europe there are specific (and controversial) cookie laws. Website owners in European Member States are required to: provide clear and comprehensive information about the cookies they are using; and obtain consent to store a cookie on a user or subscriber’s device. There are some narrow exceptions but I don’t think I need to mention them again. Questions The questions I want to explore in this post are these: What are the implications of the European cookie laws for European users of WordPress.com and Jetpack? Are users of WordPress.com and Jetpack able to obtain sufficient information as to the cookies that these services set? If not, do the cookie laws …

Thesis-image

Pearson v Automattic: Did Automattic succeed by the skin of its teeth?

Focus of this post As many in the WordPress community will know by now thanks to Jeff Chandler’s helpful post on the case, recently Chris Pearson was unsuccessful in his complaint against Automattic regarding its purchase of the thesis.com domain name. Pearson had sought to have the domain transferred to him. I want to say a few things about this case but I’m not going to get emotional about it nor will I publish any comments that come across as hostile, abusive or potentially defamatory. My interest is to point out a few things that do not seem prominent in the discussions I’ve seen to date and to do so from a hopefully dispassionate legal perspective. Facts The key facts seem to be these: Many years ago, Chris Pearson developed a theme for WordPress called Thesis. When released, Pearson did not license Thesis under the GPL. In due course, there was heated if not acrimonious debate between Matt Mullenweg and Pearson as to the licensing of Thesis. Mullenweg argued that Thesis should be licensed under …

Trademark image

Using the WordPress trademarks for your business, product or service

Introduction If you’re a budding WordPress developer, designer or entrepreneur, you may be whipping up a creative storm and readying it for release. It might be a theme shop, a Gravity Forms-quality plugin, a WordPress-tailored hosting environment, a WordPress support agency or an app-making platform. The product or service is nearing release and you’re amping to “get it out there”. You love WordPress and you want to sing its praises from the rooftops, including in some way in the naming, description or marketing of your product or service. What better way to access your target audience than by using “WordPress” and its associated marks left, right and centre. Right? Well, before you go using the WordPress name and logo in your naming and marketing, you might want to note that Automattic Inc and (more significantly now) the WordPress Foundation have a bunch of trademarks. Make sure you stay on the right side of the line of what’s permitted and what’s not. To help you understand all this, I’ll explain what a trademark is, Automattic’s and …

Automattic2

Automattic, open licensing and open data

The open spirit of WordPress Everyone knows that the founders of and contributors to the WordPress software at WordPress.org wholeheartedly embrace the spirit of open source software. The GPL (the open source licence under which WordPress is licensed) sits at the centre of what they do and Matt Mullenweg, for example, speaks passionately about the GPL and champions the cause it represents (and those that defy the GPL’s requirements (or spirit) when the community thinks it applies (or should be applied) may, well, be frowned upon). Here’s an example of Matt speaking about the GPL: From software to other creative content Whilst copyleft has its origins in the software world, the open source software movement is now a subset of the larger world of open licensing and open data. Various licences and tools exist to enable people to share not only their software but also their creative content and other data on standardised terms that are quick and easy to put in place. Automattic’s generosity Not surprisingly given its founders, Automattic has always contributed back …

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 …