The wordpress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ Theme Directory contains only themes which are considered 100% GPL or GPL compatible. This includes the code and all of the bundled assets of a theme.
In Theme Reviews I see 3 different types of licence issue pop up in many themes.
- Missing licence declarations.
- Images or assets used under a non-compatible licence for the GPL GPL is an acronym for GNU Public License. It is the standard license WordPress uses for Open Source licensing https://wordpress.org/about/license/. The GPL is a ‘copyleft’ license https://www.gnu.org/licenses/copyleft.en.html. This means that derivative work can only be distributed under the same license terms. This is in distinction to permissive free software licenses, of which the BSD license and the MIT License are widely used examples..
- Assets or other code not documented or attribution removed.
Missing Licence or Copyrights Declarations
Themes should have a licence declaration in the header The header of your site is typically the first thing people will experience. The masthead or header art located across the top of your page is part of the look and feel of your website. It can influence a visitor’s opinion about your content and you/ your organization’s brand. It may also look different on different screen sizes. of the style.css file as well as a licence and copyrights declaration inside of their readme.
The preferred copyrights statement uses the following format (where
Fred is the theme name and
Joe Smith as the author):
Fred WordPress Theme, Copyright 2019 Joe Smith. Fred is distributed under the terms of the GNU GPL
In addition to that you should include a licence declaration in the file header comment of each source file of the theme.
Images and Other Assets
Image issues have been touched on recently in the post about Pixabay images and in other posts in the past. Issues with licencing based on the Theme Review Team policy about them have been common recently so to clarify:
All of the images used in a theme for the .org directory should be shared under a GPL compatible licence – one such licence suitable for images is CC0. Other licences may be appropriate too.
Licences which limit the distribution of an image, or it’s use in other ways not covered by the GPL, are not accepted. This is because adding such limitations is not in the spirit of the GPL or in line with the 4 core Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. freedoms of open source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. software which WordPress follows as part of it’s core philosophy.
Other assets, such as CSS CSS is an acronym for cascading style sheets. This is what controls the design or look and feel of a site. or fonts, should also be shared under a GPL compatible licence. We have a list of some GPL compatible font licences.
Missing Information about Third-Party Assets
Any code used from a 3rd party resource should have a declaration of it’s use (in a
==Resources== section of your readme is ideal).
The licence you use the resource under must be GPL compatible and you must not remove the original authors copyrights notice. You also must clearly state if you modified the source.