Attribution Required for GPL?


(Damith) #1

While I am reading https://ma.tt/2016/10/wix-and-the-gpl/ from Matt Mullenweg blog post i found that following statement.

This explicitly contravenes the GPL, which requires attribution and a corresponding GPL license on whatever you release publicly built on top of GPL code. The GPL is what has allowed WordPress to flourish, and that let us create this code. Your app’s editor is built with stolen code, so your whole app is now in violation of the license

Is this true? If we use any GPL one, should we give a attribution? For an example, If get a WordPress plugin from WordPress directory and if I modified that plugin, should I still give credit for that plugin too like this was built using this plugin…?


Next Question :

This is a commented by jasonbahl for that post. I have the same question too. If this is the case, I feel like there is no any freedom in GPL :frowning:

Or Did I have misunderstood his post?

So, does that mean any SaaS built on top of WP that uses any JS from WP also needs to release their entire source code? Any JS in a WP site/SaaS is distributed to client machines in the same way React Native mobile apps (like Wix) are. . . so does that mean any SaaS that is built on WP and sends a single line of WP GPL licensed JS to the client (distributes code) means their entire SaaS platform is now “viral” because they’re distributing GPL JS which is part of their larger platform?


Next Question:

Following comment from Matt. Seems like it is and first one is messy… Because here he said he didn’t ask for attribution. However, my question about following thing is, if this is true, all premium WordPress Themes Plugins should publish their code on Github or anywhere? But it doesn’t happen for even very popular premium themes/plugins …

I know — I didn’t ask for attribution. (Copyright notices need to be maintained in source, though.) I asked them to “Release your app under the GPL, and put the source code for your app up on GitHub so that we can all build on it, improve it, and learn from it.”


(Leland Fiegel) #2

Yes, it’s true. Although what exactly do you think “attribution” means? A link on the front-end of the software?

Generally, just maintaining copyright notices in the code is sufficient.

If the code is not released (like in a smart phone app), you’ll usually notice some sort of “Credits” screen in the app which lists all the open source software that was built on top off.

However, you can’t be forced to publish the source code on GitHub or something. So yes, this is a misunderstanding.

No. Again, you can’t be forced to publish the source code and people can’t otherwise compel you to release it for free or for payment. I mean, people can ask you to, but you can say no.

Again, I’d really recommend actually reading through the GPL. It might be a dense read but it will help you understand all the rights associated with the license.

Also, see my article about “GPL Myths” on my blog: https://leland.me/gpl-myths/


(Damith) #3

Thanks @leland

The article written by you is really good. I learned lot of about GPL. Thanks.