As per GPL v3.0 themes and plugins licensing different?


(Samrat Roy) #1

Just started a marketing platform for wordpress products, however I’m confused on the licensing options for themes and plugins? I am selling free, 2 site license for plugins and themes? Am I missing out on something? GNU GPL mentions that source code is free and we can limit the support and updates on single site. But, does GPL 3 come with a different version of it? I recently received feedback that selling 2 site license for themes make me GPL incompatible.

I’m confused here and would appreciate if someone could clear out the doubts for me.


(Andy) #2

Restricting a product’s usage to 2 sites is not GPL compatible.

To be GPL compatible you cannot restrict the actual product as it is when purchased. The paying customer must be free to do whatever they like with the product, use on as many sites as they like, give it away, sell it on if they wish to.

You can however, restrict updates and support to 1 site, 2 sites, time limited or whatever restrictions you want, because the customer would be paying for your time, not the actual product.


(Samrat Roy) #3

Thank you for your explanation. So, what licenses can I sell on my platform? My website is an aggregator, so the products which I have are from other product makers. Woocommerce marketplace sells products with single, 5 sites and 25 sites licenses, so are they not GPL compatible? https://woocommerce.com/products/google-product-feed/

Sorry, if this is a very silly question. Would greatly acknowledge a bit more in detail.


(Andy) #4

The Google Product Feed product that you mention - the terms of the license state that you would be paying for a subscription giving you access to 1 year of updates and support for either 1 site, 5 site or 25 sites.
The prices are for updates and support, not the actual product.
If you so wished, you could purchase the 1 site subscription but then use the product on 50 sites. The license would only give you updates and support for 1 site, but there is nothing stopping you from installing the product on as many sites as you wish.


(Leland Fiegel) #5

It’s your platform, you can sell products with whatever license you want.

However, if you’re concerned with “GPL compatibility” …there can’t be any restrictions on usage.

A GPL-compatible license can’t compel services associated with the product, like support and updates, to be unrestricted as well. Often, when you see a “one site license” on what purports to be a GPL product, it’s specifically referring to support and updates. @Andy_uxl has a good understanding of this.


(Daniel Iser) #6

Funny thing is most plugin & theme shops don’t even realize they are not selling their products, but rather only services.

This matter has been on my mind quite a bit as of late due to the new potential for cross state ecommerce taxing in the US and what implications that might have, coupled with local sales taxes on software this is a mine field.

UNLESS you consider that you don’t actually sell software, but only support services which in most cases are not taxable.

I’ve seen a lot of shops lately start adding taxes to their stuff, but in all honesty I can’t see how that is completely legal. Mind you the state won’t care that you shouldn’t be paying them, so your just out the money in that case.