"WordPress Plugins Cheap" - Plugins & Themes Re-selling and GPL

We’ve been all coding under the threat that some troll will pop-up and re-sell our GPL plugins / themes for ridiculous prices. Well… it’s here :smile: How about buying Yoast Premium SEO for $4.00… I’m a little pissed off and on the other hand amused since I knew it will show up some day.

Even though it doesn’t violate the GPL, in the current case, the site is using the branding, names and logos of the plugins, so I’m pretty sure it’s illegal. How do we get it down?

From a user perspective, if I were a new publisher in the WP community and I had the option to choose, I would have probably preferred to pay $4.00 instead of $89.00 for an SEO plugin (whether it’s called Yoast or Yost). Do you feel threaten?

hi vovafeldman,

i understand your anger at something like this but i would like to comment and say that taking down this website alone will make no difference.

i can find 100s of links right now in google for yoast seo premium nulled which is the full version not needing a lisence and with no hacking code or anything for free.

you need to attack the root not some autoposter or copy and paster

credit where its due Wordpress Plugins Cheap has made a fair attempt but i don’t believe they are the problem.

and you dont know what the person/people running it use the money towards or if they even have made anything

it could be donated for all we know

i dont understand why your picking them out anyway? lol there are hundreds if not thousands of websites doing the same in google

this one is relatively new would the older ones not be a better target?

Thanks for joining. Based on your username I presume you are the site owner, right? I didn’t “pick” that site, it just popped in my Twitter account and drew my attention. I wasn’t aware that there are many others.

Anyways, besides the fact it’s unethical, the fact that you are not the only one selling plugins illegally doesn’t mean it’s ok. It hurt our branding and good name as developers. What happens when there’s an issue in Yoast plugin that you sell? Who do you think the user will try to contact? Of course Yoast.

I’d be happy if you and others won’t do it.

Read this: http://wptavern.com/the-gpl-license-doesnt-provide-the-freedom-to-infringe-registered-trademarks

I’m not a fan of the business model, but yes @vovafeldman makes a good point. I’m not a lawyer but I think infringing the trademarks does put you on shaky ground.

i understand your concerns, it states in my site they are not from you officially and i dont offer much support.

yes you are correct i am the owner.
i will add more text to my site encouraging people to buy the real plugins with links.

We Have a Dmca policy

i also would like to say i dont fully agree with what you said. i understand its branding etc but when people buy from this site they know its not from you so they should not go to you for support.

i will try to work out something to please you.
but for future refrence it would probably be better not to post links to the site etc…your actually promoting it more

This has been happening for a LONG time, although mostly with themes and WooCommerce addons. See gplclub.org and sozot.com. WPAvengers.com did something similar before they shut down.

This post by @Jeffro pretty much sums it up: The GPL License Doesn’t Provide The Freedom To Infringe Registered Trademarks

Edit: And I just realized you linked to that exact same post above. D’oh.

Obligatory I am not a lawyer disclaimer.

Yes, but that relates to copyright, not trademarks. I don’t think we’re discussing much of a copyright issue here, since the code is GPL.

Putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes, is this really abundantly clear?

I know several commercial WordPress product sellers have had problems dealing with upset customers of sites like yours when they realize they aren’t entitled to support from the source.

It’s not a stretch to imagine they think they’re dealing with some sort of authorized “reseller” program when you place official logos all over the place and don’t make it explicitly clear what’s going on.

These kind of sites looks crapy, loading forever and anyone with more experience on internet will recognize that its some kind of junk.
You as original business owner will do probably much better marketing, design and things around, so they will not hurt you much.

On other side, I think its regular business, with some kind of value for first timer “low end” customers. From my experience anything around these kind of business does not stay long and perform well at all. Customers are mostly those, who are not ready to buy anything for your price and recognize value behind that … so you will not lose much, they are not your customers, they are checking torrents and product for few cents. For long term it can even bring you more customers.
Some premium plugins are published on github too and it does not hurt their business.

Name, branding, logos … you probably did not registered trademark, so anyone can use it, it does not belong to you, like your code.

There is literally nothing I hate more than scrolljacking.

Almost definitely infringing trademark, but I can’t imagine there’s a ton of money to be made in buying $500 plugins and reselling them for $4 and providing no support. If Yoast actually thought this was going to cut into his business, he’d probably have issued a cease and desist at this point already. Yoast does a lot more than just “sells plugins,” so you’re buying a lot more than a plugin from him when you do.

I don’t really think WPPluginsCheap is going to do much better than just recouping its hosting costs, so I wouldn’t be that concerned about it as it related to the WordPress plugin ecosystem at large.

These opportunists pop up every now and then and never seem to amount to anything. It’s legal (the GPL part, anyway) but unethical. It’s lazy. And it’s bad for the customers because the goods are in questionable shape, outdated, unsupported and suspicious.

I doubt it hurts the real businesses in any significant way because it’s like buying counterfeit perfume at a bazaar on the wrong side of town. Most people just don’t want that kind of experience. They’ll get the real thing from a reputable source.

Nonetheless, ignore them. Talking about it just promotes them and the don’t deserve any help. Same story over and over…

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It is unethical, however if me as a theme/plugin shop owner releasing under GPL I would say that, I feel that I am even more unethical if I can say this than those guys, and a total hypocrite .

It’s like I offer something to somebody and after accuse him when he is doing what I gave him rights to do, is like I am offering you money and then I am saying that you are a thief :smile: .

So my point is that I would never complain about this, I have released my products under GPL on purpose and I assume this decision.

This same thing happened to me before a few times when I was designing Skins for Thesis, I got my Skins stolen and offered for free on RapidShare and some other site, I quickly contacted RapidShare and the other site and they removed the files, but it was too late I guess, files were downloaded around 1000 times, that makes me think of the $67.000 I’ve lost!

Even worst, one of the Skins got a makeup and was sold for the same price, what made me feel sad that time is the person who did this was one of my members and affiliates, so you imagine I was sending him affiliate commission payouts and he was at the same time selling my stuff too!

I agree with what @stevengliebe said in his comment above:

It’s legal (the GPL part, anyway) but unethical.

The big problem with GPL is that it’s possible (easy, even) to do unethical things with software. The main purpose of sharing and all that is a great model and fair philosophy, the fact that it’s possible to move into unethical territory tells me that the system is lacking.

I don’t understand why the license can write down all these freedoms and such, but why it can’t simply state that unethical behavior is not allowed. Sure that’s a grey area (since “unethical” can be interpreted differently), but there are plenty of examples where it’s way beyond that (selling a $5 plugin for $100, forking a $100 plugin and offer it for free with the exact same functionality, etc.) and as far as I know, that’s not covered in the license.

Blogged about it: http://www.senff.com/rant/the-problem-with-gpl/

I wonder how many of those 1,000 would have paid full price from you. I suspect the vast majority of people that try to get paid goods for free are not serious users and would not pay in the first place. Besides, GPL can’t do anything to stop people from distributing files. Pretty much everything on ThemeForest and CodeCanyon is out there in the wild and they’re not 100% GPL.

Exactly.

That’s the thing about “piracy.” It’s not a 1-to-1 correlation to lost revenue, because you can’t assume that the “pirates” would have ever paid anyway. Maybe if your barriers to piracy were so strong, they would’ve just found a competing product to download for free.

I tend to go on wordpress.org to get my plugins/themes, it’s like going to your local supermarket for apples instead of going to your mother-in-law’s house for her apples running the possibility that she put rat poison inside the apples because she hates you.

I have purchased for clients themes/plugins, most of those offer a year of upgrades.

Cheap places, do you have to pay the $4 every time there is an upgrade?

I see all sides of this. Why should I pay $200 for a plugin when I don’t see value to it.

So many theme/plugin authors don’t present the consumer what the value it is.

Why should I buy the PRO version of the plugin over the FREE/LIGHT/LITE version.

Just because you are a “famous” author, that by itself doesn’t show me value for the PRO version.

That’s so true Steven!

You are right, maybe none or a very small percentage would be willing to pay!

If you still didn’t see it, I wrote a very extensive article about How to Legally Protect Your GPL WordPress Plugin Business Against Trolls. As business owners focused on selling WordPress GPL products, it’s our duty to take an action and legally protect our business against trolls.

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