9 Comments


  1. There is latitude to make references to upstream products. You can say that a product uses an upstream source code, for example, “Foo, the app is powered by the Linux® kernel.”

    You just have to give clarity when referencing the upstream product/project is not an endorsement or direct affiliation.

    So, someone could announce “ForkedWord is a fork of the WordPress CMS.” for example…

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  2. two questions…

    1) Joost’s marks are registerd in #NED & #USA . I am in #CAN where nothing is registered (I am assuming so far since it isn’t mentioned in the article). What if someone in Canada uses his trademarked items? Replace Canada with any other country outside #NED / #USA.

    2) Can’t I download WordPress, replace every place WordPress to let’s say JeffTowel and then the wp- folders (wp-admin) to jt- and the standard prefix to be jt_ instead of wp_

    TECHNICALLY SPEAKING, not that I would do it.

    Disclosure: I use Yoast SEO plugin and I think it is awesome.

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    1. I brought this up many years ago and everyone snapped at me and told me that I was wrong and that the GPL applied :/ I mostly gave up mentioning this issue since then. Thanks for bringing it up again and explaining it to the masses.

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  3. Andreas Nurbo

    It would be strange that not removing trademarked phrases in function and class names would be a trademark violation when forking a project. Which I assume are covered by the GPL as well. Same goes for comments etc. I would guess most trademark registrations doesn’t cover usage in code.

    Also I know WP developers issues DMCA notices to web hosts that host some site that distribute their stuff even if its was perfectly fine for the site to do so. Since most web hosts dont know much about DMCA and WordPress anyway (explanation given in the WordPress presentation). So essentially the practice that people condemn game, music and movie for practicing seems to be perfectly acceptable within the WP community.

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    1. I think trademarked phrases in function and class names would be covered. WordPress itself doesn’t include it’s trademark in many (any?) function or class names though, just “wp” which I don’t think would be covered by trademark laws. I could be wrong though; that’s somewhat of a guess on my part.

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      1. Andreas Nurbo

        Perhaps but I can’t find any discussion concerning it. All I find concerns naming products and services and promoting using trademarked name. Wouldn’t the usage of for example a function of wordpress_connect(), function name in a WP plugin be a trademark violation then? It seems weird.

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      2. @Miroslav/Ryan/Andreas,

        IANAL, but I would think that copyright would apply to function names, and trademark would apply to the name of the final product/service, as well as to the entity placing that product/service on the market.

        In other words: the Genesis Theme name would be covered by Trademark, but the name of function genesis_some_function_name() { // functional code } would be covered by trademark, as a creative expression of naming convention.

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        1. “Genesis” is perhaps not the best example, since it is an existing word and therefore hard to claim trademark on, but I understand what you meant.

          Perhaps function names and whatnot would be treated like text in a document? But by using the trademark within the function name, it could be deemed that you are representing that code as being an official product of that organisation even thought it may not be, but then you have the right to copy it according to the GPL, so …. arghh, blargghhh. I give up. This is too complex :P

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