Licensing -assets

So far we have checked the license and copyright for the theme itself, and the information on the theme authors website.

The next step is to locate assets in the theme folder, and confirm their licenses.

The most common problem we find is that theme authors forget to include the license information.

The second most common problem is that the license is not compatible with GPLGPL 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..

  1. View the file structure of the theme by opening the theme folder. Look for folders named assets, css, js, fonts, icons, images and similar.
  2. Open the file which includes the list of licenses, this can be for example readme.txt, assets.txt, license.txt or similar.
  3. Check that all assets are included in the list, and that license, copyright information and source link is included for each asset.
  4. Confirm that the license is correct.

Example:

Genericons icon font, Copyright 2013 Automattic
Genericons are licensed under the terms of the GNU GPL, Version 2 (or later) Source: http://www.genericons.com

The source link is needed so that we can confirm the license.

If any information is missing, you can stop the review until the author has solved the licensing problems.

If you are not sure if a license is compatible, always refer to the official list of compatible licenses.

The team receives a lot of questions about GPL compatibility, please always refer to the actual license and the list first.


Exceptions:

Simple images

If the theme includes smaller images that are a of a very simple nature, (and does not belong to for example an icon set), such as images of settings, blank placeholder images, arrows and similar, these can be considered to be covered by the themes own license.

When we talk about images that require their own attribution, we mean icons, logos, photos, vectors, drawings and similar.

Public domain or CC0

Assets that are in the public domain or are licensed as CC0 does not have a copyright statement, because they are free from copyright. The license information is still required. Example:

Photo used in screenshot:
Source: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/785280 License: CC0 Public Domain 

Learn more about public domain

Assets created by the theme author

If the theme includes images created by the theme author, then the theme author still needs to include copyright and license information, but they are not required to provide a source link.

SIL Font license

The SIL font license is not compatible with GPL, but an exception has been made since the license is considered to live up to the four freedoms.


Read more about copyright and attribution.