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You’ll Never Take My Freedom!

I may not agree with what you do, but if it’s legal, I will defend your right to do it.

I am an adherent to GPL.

This means I understand what it means, what it protects, and what it does not. So when in the beginning of August I saw a guy selling 200 free WordPress plugins for $9, I really don’t mind. I mean, I, personally, think that selling the plugins is the wrong way to go about it.

I will defend your right to resell MY plugin

Look, I may think it’s a total dick move, and I may personally find it distasteful, but what I don’t find it is illegal. Morality is something else. I am legally permitted to take a plugin from another site, a paid plugin, and if it’s GPL, I can give it away, sell it, or do what I, as a user, want to do with it. Would I? Actually, yes. I have. It’s called forking a plugin. But I always attribute the authors, thank them, and point out what I did to make this plugin different.

In fact, it’s not the reselling at all that fired up my blood. It was this one line where he says you can’t resell the plugin compilation for less, and you can’t give it away.

It’s highly possible what he meant was ‘This set is a set, don’t steal my shit!’ And to that, yes, don’t take his hard work and steal it, that’s uncool. But where he looses his right to say that is when he tries to revoke freedoms clearly laid out in GPL, notably, I have the right to take a GPL licensed plugin and do what I want. You just can’t have it both ways.

Don’t worry! This can be fixed!

Otto pointed out that, as he’s also using images and other possibly non-GPL items in his product, that in a way, this is okay. Well, that’s nice, but he still can’t take away my GPL freedoms. He can do a pseudo-split license, and say “These products are GPL, and as such, all GPL freedoms remain intact. THESE products, however, are not GPL, and fall under the following provisos.” That’s a lot of work, I know, but suddenly he’s GPL-compliant! Yay!

Of course, that assumes he had the right to use those non-GPL items in the first place. And we already knows he’s buzz-worded some BS.

1. I have Full Master Resale Rights and Each One of the Plugins Listed Above Has Resale Privileges attached to them.

2. Because of the Master Rights, I have the each developers expressed permission to offer Private Label Rights to All Who Purchase WP Million Dollar Plugins.

3. Being That these are Unique & Rare Resell Rights Plugins You Have a Two-fold Benefit,
a) The Personal Use of the WP Million Dollar Plugin
b) The Ability to Offer This Unique/Profitable Package to Your Customers.

The rampant abuse of capitalization aside, items number 1 and 2 there doesn’t make a lick of sense to me. First, I know that at least one plugin dev didn’t give any ‘extra’ permissions outside of what GPL already provides. So if we know this guy didn’t ask permission, what ‘master right’ does he have? Not a one, that I can come up with.

GPL freedoms don’t require asking permission to reuse them, they don’t permit ‘private label rights’ (which actually is just marketing speak, and means nothing at all legally) or any rights that further restrict your freedoms.

Another easy way to fix this is to not include the plugins, but instead sell it as a $10 book: The 200 best plugins for your site, how to find them, which ones to use, and why they’re great! Imagine a book that could help you get started by breaking down the best plugins for what you’re trying to do? A lot of newbies would kill for that. So sell THAT. Sell your own work. If you’ve done the research, sell it. But unless you make the plugin, or are going to support it, you’re nothing more than a hotdog vendor.

Free is better, right?

In the end, peer pressure reverted this $9.95 deal into a ‘free’ download by the end of the day, which I did not try (since the amount of layers to download looked like a rip off to me, and lead to a $950 … thing). No one ‘won’ anything, though. I’m sure the guy feels blasted by the people who descended upon the forums (as well as the ones who private messaged him). It’s fairly clear the forum regulars were not pleased by the onslaught nor their attitude.

A lot of agony could have been avoided if research had been done in the beginning. If more time had been spent looking up what was being sold, and why, instead of slapping marketing speak (much of which has been removed). When selling becomes more important than doing the right thing for the product and the users, you’ve lost something. Make good things, make that important, and not making money and selling them. If that’s all you care about, I’ll make sure to avoid your product.

By the way… It’s WordPress, with a capital P.

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