GPL compatibility issue

(Samrat Roy) #1

Hey everyone,

Just thought of putting out a doubt which has been going on in my mind for long. I understand that restricting a product’s usage to 2 sites isn’t GPL compatible.

Also, if an author is restricting the usage of any areas of the plugin with their license code that too isn’t GPL compatible, right?

Help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance :slight_smile:


(Leland Fiegel) #2

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer! Consult an actual lawyer familiar with this sort of stuff for a better idea.

You might want to check out this (free as of now) book by @richardbest for a better understanding:

Generally speaking, not compatible. It really depends on how you define “restricting” and “usage” though. Is the product “restricting usage” through a third-party API? If not, a user of the plugin doesn’t have an absolute right to access a third-party API, even if it is invoked by a GPL plugin.

For example, a MailChimp plugin can have 100% GPL code, but users of that plugin may still be “restricted” unless they pay MailChimp fees to use their API that actually subscribes people to their lists.

Is there a specific example you had in mind?

So let’s say a plugin has (pseudo) code like this:


if ( is_premium_subscriber() ) {
	// Self-contained functionality here. No API stuff.


And users could go in and remove that “is_premium_subscriber” check and get all the functionality?

If so, then that’s probably not a good practice that may get the attention of admins, but I’m not sure it would qualify as a GPL violation since users still have the ability to edit the code and “unlock” that functionality.

Also, I wrote some “GPL Myths” on my blog that may be interesting to you: