21 Comments

  1. Christopher

    Personally, I can’t see anything wrong in what they are doing.

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    • Emil

      GPL-Compatible license can’t have any type of restrictions, not wrong just not compatibly licensed and that is what we’re looking for when including themes in the official theme directory.

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  2. Miroslav Glavic

    So Unsplash is worried that someone will copy what they do? Isn’t Unsplash a copy of Flickr?

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    • Rick Gregory

      No. What they’re saying is that you cannot take THE SAME photos that are the Unsplash site and launch a photo service using THOSE PHOTOS. Rather obviously you can start a photo service that’s similar if you get people to upload other photos.

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  3. Hashim Warren

    “businesses have taken advantage of these freedoms merely to profit from the work of others.”

    This is ok to do under the GPL.

    More people should take advantage and find ways to profit off of software under the GPL.

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    • Zi Yang

      A lot of things are legal, but unethical or frowned upon by society.

      The best example of this is sites that redistribute GPL themes for free.

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      • Rick Rottman

        The best example of this is sites that redistribute GPL themes for free.

        WordPress.org distributes GPL themes for free. Are they being unethical? There is nothing unethical about distributing GPL licensed software for free. This is specifically allowed under the licence. Anyone who finds this unethical or frowns on it doesn’t understand the licence.

        There are software licenses that prohibit the redistribution of software. The GPL is not one of them.

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      • Hashim Warren

        It’s ethical too.

        Commercial plugin and theme developers benefit off of free WordPress core software, built by hundreds of devs donating thousands of hours if time.

        Automatic itself takes work donated by WordPress developers and sells it at WordPress.com.

        Other hosts like Studio press.com are free to do the same.

        This is healthy and good.

        The “cost” of selling WordPress software is you have to release it under the GPL too. This is a great thing – it makes sure no developer can become a dead end for GPL freedoms.

        It’s unethical for developers to make millions off of WordPress popularity, then try to bully and discourage others from doing the same with their GPL’d work

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      • Zi Yang

        The example you gave is fine. Because it’s being built upon.

        I’m talking about sites like GPLDL that redistribute “premium” paid themes for free. That’s not cool at all, that’s just stealing.

        Now, I’m not sure what Unsplash’s intentions are. But from the way they explained it, I think they’re just trying to prevent people from downloading all the photos and clone a similar service. If a blogger wants to compile a list of “best of landscape photos”, I have a feeling they won’t have a problem with that.

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      • Anon_for_good_reasons

        Distributing ‘premium’ GPL licensed themes is not stealing at all.

        It is also not unethical. The license the author distributed it under, of their choosing, explicitly allows this, gives permission for it.

        Just because someone didn’t truly understand the license when they applied it to their product, doesn’t mean other users, whose actions are permitted by the license, are acting ‘unethically’.

        You should take a little more time, and consider the nature of open source, if you believe this to be unethical.

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    • DANIEL PANTOJA

      The difference is that sites like Pixabay take images from Unsplash (and others), post to their site as if they were theirs AND use the platform to funnel users to buy their premium (Shutterstock) images.

      Pretty sure GPL was never intended to be used in such a way.

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  4. Rick Rottman

    I’m talking about sites like GPLDL that redistribute “premium” paid themes for free. That’s not cool at all, that’s just stealing.

    That’s not correct. GPLDL only shares themes and plugins that were published with the the GPL licence. If a theme or plugin was released with something other than the GPL licence, than you wont find it on GPLDL.

    Sharing or distributing themes or plugins released under the GPL licence is not stealing. If you release a theme or plugin under the GPL licence, whether it’s a premium or non-premium theme or plugin, you have accepted the fact that anyone who acquires the theme or plugin is free to distribute it as they see fit. This is spelled out clearly in the GPL licence:

    GNU General Public License

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    • Zi Yang

      Right. It’s legal, just unethical. How would you feel if someone was profiting over something you released without adding additional features of benefits?

      It’s the equivalent of scamming people that were unaware it was free in the first place.

      It’s like me selling WP core code as-is (without adding additional features or benefits) to unsuspecting customers for $50. It’s totally legal, but I have a feeling the WP community wouldn’t like me very much.

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      • Andreas Nurbo

        It’s not unethical, period.

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      • Rick Rottman

        Is it stealing or is it legal? It can’t be both, yet you’ve said it was both. It’s not unethical either in that it specifically grants this right in the licence. Please read the licence. You cannot claim someone is acting unethical when they are simply adhering to the licence, both the letter and the spirit. You are doing a real disservice to WordPress when you say something like this.

        This isn’t really a matter of option or personal philosophy. This is all defined and spelled out in the licence. Far too many people using WordPress just don’t understand the licence. It seems they want to treat WordPress like Photoshop or some other software with a much more restrictive licence.

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      • Justin Tadlock

        Take some of these cookies I made. Feel free to eat them, share them with your friends, put some chocolate on them, and even share the chocolate cookies with your friends. You have my explicit permission to do any of these things. Just make sure to let folks know that I created the original cookie.

        Thanks! Here you go Sally; try out some of these cookies that Joe made.

        What? You shared my cookies with Sally? I didn’t really want you to share them with her. I’m going to warn everyone about how you stole my cookies and gave them to Sally. That’s just straight up theft. I really wouldn’t be complaining if you’d put some frosting on them or covered them in chocolate before sharing. That would’ve been OK.

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      • Jeffrey

        LOL. You definitely made it much easier for me to understand this whole thing.

        Thank you for the cookies :-)

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  5. Miroslav Glavic

    Zi Yang,

    ALL those premiun/pro/paid/etc… WordPress Themes & Plugins absorb the GPL license. Hence technically speaking I can go to ThemeForest (or whatever your choice of theme/plugin source is) pay for them and redistribute.

    Every theme/plugin knows about GPL before they start their themes/plugins.

    Those authors might think this is not cool but…oh well.

    Not saying I would do this. I think it’s stupid to go to TF, pay for things, then distribute things for free…money losing proposal.

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    • Zi Yang

      That’s exactly what I was saying. Totally legal, but the community wouldn’t like me very much.

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  6. Chris Cree

    Sounds like the change is in response to things like what Pixabay seems to be doing in replicating the entire Unsplash library: https://pixabay.com/en/users/Unsplash-242387/

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