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Between late 2012 and early 2013, there is a debate on WordPress community regarding the banishment of Envato Themeforest author from speaking, volunteer or organize in WordCamps. This sparked some debate and discussion among WordPress community of ‘Why should Theme Authors Get Punished’? Eventually Envatothe company behind themeforest started to take some major change and update on how they licensed their marketplace items after both ThemeForest and CodeCanyon authors were asked about their opinions.

Decision and Follow up on 100% GPL

Finally, Envato decided to change their marketplace items license to 100% GPL. Soon after 2 more Theme Marketplace Power House like Woothemes and Mojothemes also decided to joined the moved from various license to 100% GPL license.

What About Envato’s “Exclusivity”?

Simply put, exclusivity is an agreement between an author and Envato, wherein the author promises that he/she will not sell the same items elsewhere. On the other hand, GPL is more of a mandate talking about the nature of rights the author and the buyer shall be getting and as far as I get it, when it comes to 100% GPL, the buyer also has the rights to redistribute or resell.

How will the changes effect future in Theme Marketplace?

One of the biggest concern will be how buyers/users will properly used the GPL license. There’s already a lot of complaining and explaination about users/buyers abuse the GPL license. Within the GPL license, are users/buyers allowed to resell the items they purchased? Edit the items and redistributed them with original authors credits attach? and one of the most concerning issue are “Can the items they purchased be used in WordPress Multisite with multiple domains. All of the issues above were covered in previous split license but will not in new 100% GPL License.

In the end, GPL License are tricky and unrestricted. Resell or redistribute should be properly explained and maybe some guideline to protect the original author’s timely effort on creating the items.

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