Copyright, Ebook, GPL, History, Licensing, Plugins, Themes, Trademarks
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“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 defining the license terms. Not in court enforcing them.

On education, so that the many communities who use and contribute to OSS projects using GPL or various “MIT” licenses are clear on how to do so correctly.

Maybe too idealistic to hope for, but then these kinds of situations would be less likely to happen intentionally or inadvertently. Without opponents you can’t play the sport, but you also can’t play well if everyone’s trying to play the same game by a different set of rules. Or without knowing the rules.”

This struck a chord with me given that I’ve rambled on about the GPL in all manner of contexts. So, in this post, and to answer Lisa’s comment, I’m going to:

  • try to meet Lisa’s suggestion as to clarity and brevity;
  • give away a bunch of copies of my ebook on WordPress and the GPL; and
  • post some audio tracks of chapters of the ebook.

Clarity and brevity

In a previous post, “A human readable summary of the GPL?“, I set out two summaries of the GPL. One of them follows the sequence of the GPL itself and the other takes more of a Creative Commons ‘human readable summary’ approach (actually, I hope they’re both human-readable, but you’ll get my drift). Here are the two summaries.

The sequential summary


Here’s a PDF of this page if you’d like it.

The Creative Commons-style ‘human readable’ summary


Here’s a PDF of this summary if you’d like it.

A Practical Guide to WordPress and the GPL

I’ve compiled a range of my thoughts on WordPress and the GPL in my ebook “A Practical Guide to WordPress and the GPL“. Because WordPress and GPL issues are once again so topical, I’ve decided to give away 100 copies of it to the first 100 people who complete the form below.

If you’d like a copy, just enter your email address below. The ebook will be sent to the first 100 people who do so.

Sorry but the 100 free copies have gone.

Oh, and Lisa, if you’d like it, you can have the full Business Package. Just send me a note via my contact form and I’ll send it to you.

Some audio

When I created the ebook, I also had an audio version prepared. Perhaps somewhat optimistically, I thought people might actually listen to audio files on this stuff. Anyway, for those who are actually interested in doing that (but without paying for the audio book package), I’ve included the audio files from a few chapters. (By the way, I’m not the narrator. I paid for someone else to do that.)

Chapter 1: Introduction: conception, birth and forking

Chapter 2. Understanding the GPL licensing of WordPress

Chapter 3. Common GPL-related questions

Chapter 9: The GPL and trademarks

Hope this helps.

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