The Best Explanation of WordPress Themes and the GPL

There’s been a lot of noise recently about WordPress, Themes, licensing, and the GPL. In fact, it can be hard to understand all of it at times (even for me!). We’ve got an overview post on the GPL which I’d highly recommend you read here.

It all started when Chris Pearson, the founder of Thesis Theme, was confronted by Matt Mullenweg, the Founder of WordPress and was asked why his theme didn’t conform to the GPL.

Although I had my own personal thoughts I’m quite thankful that the end result was Chris backing down and licensing his WordPress Theme appropriately which was a huge win for Open Source around the world.

But, one of the best and most trusted sources is Mark Jaquith, one of the core developers of WordPress, who wrote a mega-post on the issue here:

Theme code necessarily derives from WordPress and thus must be licensed under the GPL if it is distributed.

I’d highly recommend reading that over – it’s vitally important, especially for those in the WordPress Theme design and development business!


John Saddington

I am the CEO of 8BIT and a Full Time Entrepreneur/a>. I like what I do.


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