Is the WordPress GPL Being Abused? - WP Mayor

Is the WordPress GPL Being Abused?
Last updated: October 1st, 2018 | By: Jean Galea | 259 Responses
Latest update: September 2018

The GPL licence, which is the foundation of WordPress and all plugins in the WordPress repository, is a great license, no doubt. It has permitted WordPress to become what it is today, and have such a wonderful community form around it.

I’m lately seeing a small surge in the number of people who are taking advantage of the GPL in what many consider an unethical way. I’m talking about the WordPress plugin stores that are cropping up and selling plugins developed by other people.

We’re not talking about ripware sites here, but rather of new and real businesses built solely on the selling of products which they themselves did not develop.

This raises a few questions:

Is it ethical to profit in such a way on another developer’s hard work?
How will we make sure end users know that they need to make this decision between buying from the original developer or a third party?
What kind of support can such reselling companies offer?
Are these companies sustainable, how long will they be around?
Isn’t it bad for customers that some of these companies operate anonymously?
You will find strong opinions both in favour and against in the WordPress community. From my observations the proliferation of these stores has not had a negative on the bottom lines of the plugin and theme shops concerned. In fact, most of the developers I spoke to are not concerned about them and don’t really spend time chasing them. They prefer to focus on improving their product and on their paying customers who are happy to continue paying every year for the support received....

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