Making a profit from someone else's product(s)

(Miroslav Glavić) #1

I have seen this product in quite a few facebook groups so I decided to bring it here.

Person 1 makes a plugin, Person 2 downloads it and sells it. Which is allowed. Then the whole morality and ethics comments come…

To everyone that goes on about the morality and ethics…

Didn’t Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little profit from the bg/cafelog’s author product?

Jigoshop, got forked into WooCommerce, they try to buy Jigoshop, no, ok, so they hire some of the Jigoshop coders. WordPress/Automattic buys Woocommerce. Woocommerce itself has some “morality” / “ethics” questions themselves.

So why is it ok for WordPress & Woo to do it but when places like WPAvengers, GPL Club and many of the other plugin/theme shops doing the same thing then it is not ok?

If something is morally and ethically wrong then when others do THE SAME THING, then it is also morally and ethically wrong.

Yes I know a whole under me that leads to CMS hell is appearing under me for typing this.

Anyone aware of
(Leland Fiegel) #2

The difference between GPL reseller sites and WooThemes is that they don’t rebrand or support the plugins they “fork.”

WooThemes didn’t take JigoShop’s code, plaster JigoShop’s logo all over their site, offer the unmodified JigoShop codebase up for download on their site, and then refuse to support it if customers had any issues.

They called it WooCommerce. They supported it and continued to develop it. I’d imagine JigoShop and WooCommerce have greatly diverged in the years since it was originally forked.

I don’t have a problem with forking whatsoever, but I can’t stand these sites that “resell” paid themes and plugins because they tend to be misleading.

I’ve talked to people that thought they were getting a “discount” by buying at one of these GPL reseller sites. They seemed confused when I told them they wouldn’t have access to official support resources from the original developer.

I also understand some people don’t really care about support and willingly buy from these sites, knowing full well what’s going on. I suppose it feels a bit “safer” paying a reseller than downloading it for free somewhere else, but you never know how the original files were modified without a diff check.

Sure, you can download Gravity Forms from another site, but you’re not really getting the authentic Gravity Forms “experience.” No access to the support resources. No automatic background updates. Just the files (again, possibly modified with who knows what) and nothing more.


I think more accurate would be “code” instead of product. Making a profit from open source code with GPL is ok, whole community do it. It does not matter who designed that code, its under GPL and its open source, so anybody can use it …

Many paid plugins are officially on github and it does not hurt them.
GPL and Open Source is not just slogan for marketing.

(Benjamin Intal) #4

As what @leland and @petercralen are saying, bluntly getting the code and simply re-selling it is the huge no no here (nor is adjusting only tiny bits of it like the logo, etc). Forking is another thing since it’s like making the GPL code your “starting point” of your product.

(David) #5

actually it’s perfectly ethical to sell other people GPL product, even for giving it away for free.

using GPL product is like adding the label “you can do (mostly) anything to this product”.

that is why GLP and open source license exist in the first place!

that’s why it’s TOTALLY UNETHICAL to say
"you can’t use this plugin to your client site without my permission/pay me"

“you can only use this plugin/theme to xx number of site, to use it in unlimited sites, you need to pay me”

“you can’t modify this product without my permission”

they just greedy people who use fake GPL license to market their product.

note: it’s totally fine:

  1. I can “support” your use in my plugin for xx sites, to get support for unlimited number of sites you need developer package.
  2. automatic updates(or even just updates) only available for paid user.


@bfintal you are agains GPL with your statement

(Leland Fiegel) #7

Yeah, I mean we’ve discussed the “ethics” of forking ad nauseum here on WP Chat. For example, in the To FORK or not to FORK, that is the question thread, also started by @MiroslavGlavic.

I’m not a fan of these GPL reselling sites, but just to be clear, it’s not because they merely redistribute code. Anybody is within their rights to do that. I find it misleading when they say things like “get your discount version of Gravity Forms right here!”

There’s more to a commercial plugin buying experience than just the code.

If they took Gravity Forms exact codebase, and renamed everything to “Cool Forms” instead, that would be another story, even if they didn’t provide support. But I have yet to see an example of a GPL reseller site that does that.

I guess it’s too difficult gain traction without piggybacking off of an established product’s brand equity.

(Miroslav Glavić) #8

I have never used Gravity Forms, I use Contact Forms 7, it works for me, so I haven’t gone to look for another contact form plugin.

By the way, wasn’t the first woocommerce version really jigoshop but with the woocommerce?

If a client wants me to buy a plugin/theme, AND THEY PAY FOR IT, then I will get the plugin/theme. I mostly use plugin/themes but I have bought themes/plugins for myself. I bought at weather plugin for under $10. 7 themes. I will never EVER pay for a weather or social media plugin that is priced over $100 let’s say.

I noriced that a lot of the plugins//themes that are being “borrowed” and sold cheaper is because the original author over prices the plugin/theme, without any explanation. I bought a theme for one off my personal sites, the theme was around $100, the dev price for the same theme was $2000.

Maybe if authors explained why their themes/plugins are THAT MUCH, and get off their high horse. Maybe the “borrowing” might be less?

P.S. I always go to the original source for plugins/themes, never use from a google search.

(Miroslav Glavić) #9

Aren’t all authors of WooCommerce relate plugins piggy-backing off WooCommerce?

(Benjamin Intal) #10

@petercralen What I mean to say is that it’s unethical to get a GPL code, then bluntly sell it as is or rebranding it (no edits, no improvements, nothing, just rebranded). Technically it’s allowed, but I personally see it as a bad thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against GPL.

(Miroslav Glavić) #11

@bfintal So this is how you mention someone on here…anyways, how much editing is enough editing for it to be “ethical”? I am sure the very first version of WordPress was similar to b2/cafelog, same for woocommerce & jiggoshop. As both WP and WooCommerce evolved, they got to be different from where they came from.

What if I replace all instances of WordPress & wp- on the files to bfintal so it is ? At some point, the community will have to decide on how much change is enough change. Ether you fork it or just copy.

(Miroslav Glavić) #12

@leland The first topic post was about forking, this is about taking someone else’s product and making a profit on it, two different things, although similar.

(Benjamin Intal) #13

@MiroslavGlavic Not sure how to answer that, lol!

Take for example Owl Carousel, if I…

  • Use the library in a WP plugin that carousels content and sell the plugin - I think this is okay and I have done this and I have credited them properly.
  • Get the library, add some features and sell it - sure, go ahead. Better too if the original library was credited.
  • Get the library, convert it to pure JS and sell it - I think this is okay, giving credits would be better.
  • Get the library, just rebrand it to “Hoot Carousel” and sell it - I don’t think this is okay.

These are all my opinions :smile: I think it just boils down to: what would you be okay with if this was done with your own project.

(Benjamin Intal) #14

I just thought of an example. This is not under the realm of GPL, but I think some ethics are concerned.

I have this product in CodeCanyon that creates parallax backgrounds. It does it well and fast, and I have worked hard on that and am proud of the performance. Now someone bought it with an extended license - this means that they can now include it in their own product. They changed the classes, refactored some stuff and included it in theirs, probably even did some more changes to it. No problems there.

I just wish they gave even some small credit to my product, I think that would be the ethical thing to do. Others have done that and gave credit and I’m happy about that and I gladly link back to them if they want or whatnot. But oh well… tough luck and there’s nothing I can do about it.

(Miroslav Glavić) #15

If I split one of your plugins, that first version is going to be similar to your plugin, but as I develop it, let’s say on version 7 should I credit you? when does the fork become my plugin.

I think as a community we should all have an adult conversation about this “taboo” topic.

(Benjamin Intal) #16

What I’m saying with the example I stated above wasn’t that it was wrong. There’s nothing wrong with what they did, I just said that I wish they credited. Doing that would be helpful for me, especially since their product is there at the top.

If some GPL project helped me a ton, I’d show my appreciation by contributing back and by crediting them. If I’m already on version 7, I wouldn’t stop being grateful (I reached version 7, so it must be doing something right), if it was still a huge part of the plugin I would still give credit. If most of the code has been changed already then I’d probably put in a line in the about/history section… maybe something in the lines of “X started as a fork of Z and blah blah blah”. Doing this definitely isn’t required though.

That’s just me, and we all have different opinions.