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Comments on: Understanding GPL and Copyright in WordPress Community Podcast

utorials about WordPress, blogging, social media, and having your say on the web.

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By: Weekly Digest: On The Road to WordCamp, Sponsored Themes, Selling Your Blog, NoFollow, and More « Lorelle on WordPress

Tue, 11 Jun 2013 21:12:53 +0000

[…] Understanding GPL and Copyright in WordPress Community Podcast […]

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Tue, 11 Jun 2013 21:06:29 +0000

[…] Understanding GPL and Copyright in WordPress Community Podcast […]

By: WordCamp Israel WordPress Tips Talk « Lorelle on WordPress

Tue, 11 Jun 2013 03:59:16 +0000

[…] Understanding GPL and Copyright in WordPress Community Podcast […]

By: Jonathan Bailey

Thu, 05 Jul 2007 14:59:26 +0000

Ouch, ouch, ouch. I'll avoid my usual joke about starting to like it and move right into things... The problem with licensing a design is that, since you can't copyright it, you don't "own" it and, without that ownership, there's nothing to license really. You can trademark a design, if it meets the qualifications for one and you apply for it, but that's a whole other can of worms. The good news is that I've never seen anyone rip off a design without using at least one copyrightable element from it. Some source code, some images or some copy. The things you use to build your layout and express the idea can and are copyrighted. Those you can license and, lucky for us, many people do :) Hope that helps!

By: Lorelle VanFossen

Thu, 05 Jul 2007 00:38:29 +0000

Whip * snap * crack! Consider yourself lashed, Jonathan! :D Excellent explanation. While you can't copyright designs, you can license them, right? The license then gives permission to the types of usage. In the podcast, they talk about the Creative Commons versus copyright and that really confused me. I thought I knew the difference, but I'd love to see this topic explored a lot more. And I think you are the guy to do it, my friend!

By: Jonathan Bailey

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 23:29:50 +0000

Wow, that's strange. I JUST saw this. I listened to the podcast when it came out and everything but just now saw the last paragraph. Like a dope I jumped right into the audio (great for those long drives) and didn't read the whole post. I'll take my well-deserved lashings later... Anyway, onto the issue at hand. To talk a bit about designers and copyright issues. I'll go at it like this. Remember that copyright protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. You can only copyright things that can be fixated into a tangible medium of expression and show creativity. That being said, you can't copyright a design. You can, however, copyright the source code that created it as well as the images used to build it and the copy that fills it. If someone comes along and produces an identical design with their own images and their own code, it's not a copyright infringement. It might be a trademark infringement if applicable, but not copyright. As far as the other issue of the GPL and plugins goes, that's a toughie. My minimal experience with plugins (I've edited a few copyright-related ones) doesn't give me enough to really make a call here. You can run commercial/proprietary code on an open source operating system (several such programs and drivers exist for Linux) but when you base your new work on GPL code, it becomes GPLed. Where that line is drawn, no one, even lawyers, really seems to know. Finally, in response to remotecontrol, yes, the 302 exploit is still real. I just now got done helping a site that was victimized by it. And one more fine point (since Lorelle did a such a great job answering manchicken that I have nothing more to say), there is a version of the GPL license for text works known as the "Free Document License". It's designed for documentation with GPL software but can be used, theoretically, with anything.

By: Lorelle VanFossen

Mon, 02 Jul 2007 17:09:42 +0000

This is an old argument, sadly. It has measures of validity but it loses when it takes money away from me to pay for my mother's care, feeding, and medical bills. See, if you build a machine and sell it, you get money to live. If you provide a service and sell it, you get money to live. If you write or take photographs in order to make money to live, people seem to think that they are free for the taking, in some "it's good for the world" thinking, but photographers and writers starve. Copyright was designed to help those who create more ephemeral objects to sell to get income from their work, just like a plumber, car builder, doctor, lawyer, ditch digger. Today, this protection and income is complicated by sploggers, and those who don't understand the laws, who take our hard work and put it on their sites and put ads on which generates income for them from our hard work that we barely got any income from in the first place. Again, if you do not care to make income from the use of your content, you are required to inform people. Otherwise, right now, the very right law that protects my ability to feed my mother and family and keep a roof over my head, as small as it is, is in place whether or not I put a copyright notice on my content. If my work is used by others for gain, I want some of the share. Now, I have given away my writing for free in the past, when people asked and the justification was there. Again, my choice. I'd love to go to my mother's doctor and say, "Hey, can you give me $75,000 of medical treatment for free just because you can and should and it would make the world a better place and all would benefit if you did? It's the right thing to do." Wow! What a world that would be, wouldn't it?

By: manchicken

Mon, 02 Jul 2007 13:55:25 +0000

I understand that it's the law. It an unjust and incorrect law that should be changed. Just because it is legal, doesn't make people any less wrong for participating in it. There's a law on the books requiring women drivers in Ohio to have their husbands with them, too... but any cop enforcing that law would be drawn and quartered by a plethora of civil rights groups. As far as laws that are bad for society and inhibit society's ability to grow and learn, momma told me that those are laws that are best ignored because doing what is right is more important than doing what is legal.

By: Lorelle VanFossen

Mon, 02 Jul 2007 06:32:18 +0000

manchicken: This isn't an issue of whether you care or not. It's the law. And if you don't care, tell the world you don't care if they use your content by telling them so with a clear badge or copyright policy page that explains your permission. Content is copyrighted automatically when published, so nothing is to be used without permission automatically. We have to spread that word. It's not sharing. It's not a wish. It's not a whim. It's the law. Mamma probably didn't teach you to speed in the car but it doesn't stop most people. :D Without information on a site that defines the author's copyright policy, nothing is to be used or taken by anyone as the content is still copyrighted. We have to inform our readers if we want it to be freely used. Otherwise, they should assume it's not free to use. GPL doesn't not necessarily apply to written content. That comes under copyright, a similar but different law.

By: Charles Stricklin

Mon, 02 Jul 2007 05:10:34 +0000

That's a good idea, Lorelle. Maybe after WordCamp...