The best phrased response to the current GPL spat between WordCamps and Envato

As stated by Chip Bennett:

I will preface my comments by saying that I disagree completely with the approach the WordPress Foundation is taking here. The problem is a disagreement between the WPF and Envato, and developers are merely caught in the crossfire.

This approach makes developers choose between putting food on the table and being a persona non grata to the WPF, or else risking their legitimate revenue stream, and be in the WPF’s good graces. Unfortunately, for Jake and thousands of developers like him, the WPF’s good graces don’t put food on the table.

And while the tactic may ultimately work, there are only so many times you can turn the 50-mm barrels on the rank-and-file in the community itself, and not have adverse affects.

That said, I take issue with Envato’s stance, as well:

To my mind, it doesn’t make sense that a regular license sold on ThemeForest should give such a buyer the right to on-sell a creator’s work at that volume – if only for the simple reason that volume reselling can significantly reduce demand for the original work.

You are arbitrarily restricting the ability of your marketplace suppliers to offer their work under the license of their choice. The way I read this, your real concern is that Envato would lose commissions if Themes in their marketplace were offered as 100% GPL, and led to downstream distribution. If that is the real concern, it may or may not be valid, but it is disingenuous to couch such concern as concern for your marketplace sellers.

If that is *not* the real concern, then I don’t see how any real concern exists. Just let your marketplace sellers *choose* to offer their works under 100% GPL. Put up huge banners decrying the risks of doing so. Strongly suggest that they don’t do so. Rail against the GPL all you want. Make them click through 3 “are you sure?” dialogue boxes.

But offer the choice.

I guarantee you that the WordPress Theme developers who opt-in to offering their works under a 100% GPL license do so under full understanding of the license terms, and either disagree with your risk assessment, or have evaluated the risk-reward differently. You don’t need to “protect” them from the license.

Just offer them the choice.

This.  A thousand times this.

Author: George Stephanis

Cooking, Code, Carpentry, Letterpress.