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Opened 11 years ago

Last modified 11 years ago

#16100 closed defect (bug)

Licensing Issue: Akismet Plugin external conflicts GPL version in it's readme.txt for WordPress package — at Initial Version

Reported by: hakre Owned by:
Milestone: WordPress.org Priority: normal
Severity: critical Version: 3.0.2
Component: General Keywords:
Focuses: Cc:

Description

Each time a WordPress package is build (ie nightly) files from the external Akismet Plugin repository are incorporated into the work.

Back in August 2010, the licensing of the Akismet Plugin was named as "License: GPLv2"). Prior to that change, no License information was given.

In contrast to this, the WordPress work is licensed under GPL, no specific version named (see r15534). The text of our license, is the one of GPL license version two.

Section 2 of WordPress' license explicitly does not force the GPL on to other works of their own, but when you

distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based
on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of
this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the
entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.
Thus, it is not the intent of this section to claim rights or contest
your rights to work written entirely by you; rather, the intent is to
exercise the right to control the distribution of derivative or
collective works based on the Program.

So even the GPL version in Akismet's readme.txt might not be wrong on it's own, having that exact licensing information given for code in the plugin subdirectory within the wordpress work as a whole as it is distributed is wrong.

In the past this was not a problem at all because readme.txt in the Akismet Plugin did not state a license and therefore could not conflict in such a way.

But since it changed back in August 2010, there is such a version conflict.

The first non-developer release in conflict was WordPress 3.0.2.

IANAL and suggest the following to resolve the conflict:

The Akismet plugin's copyright holder should be contacted and informed about the problem to find a solution.

If it demands to release the code under GPL v2 only, it must be removed from the package.

If they are okay to not introduce licensing constraints, it can stay in the package.

As long as this conflict is not resolved, no new non-developer packages should be released.

Change History (3)

@hakre
11 years ago

Decision A - 1/1

@hakre
11 years ago

Decision B - 1/2

@hakre
11 years ago

Decision B - 2/2

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