This page has been created to document various licensing and copyright related issues in the WordPress software package (See: Documenting Your Work).
|Akismet (2011)||solved||3.0.2 - 3.1||B|
|Easter Egg (2010)||pending||2.6 - ...||C|
|xmlrpc.php (2010)||solved||2.6 - 3.1||C|
|Incutio XML-RPC Library (2010)||solved||1.2 - 3.1||B|
|License (2010)||solved||3.0 - 3.0.2||A|
|BalanceTags (2010)||solved||0.7 - 3.1||C|
|TinyMCE .swf (2010)||solved||2.4 - 3.1||A|
|"Hello, Dolly!" Lyrics (2010)||open||1.2 - ...||A|
|FTP Library (2008)||solved||2.5-beta1||A|
(Remark: Not all issues known are listed in the table.)
What happened? -- An update of the externally bundeled Akismet plugin introduced GPL v2 to WordPress while it was distributed under GPL with no version restriction. It was released with WordPress then.
How could we solve it? -- Both the WordPress project and authors of the Akismet plugin were made aware of the fact. The copyright owners reinstated rights to the Wordpress project and allowed usage under GPL. Further on, both the Wordpress and the Akismet project changed their licensing to GPL v2+ for future releases.
What happened? -- A file contains obfuscated code. Under the GNU GPL that's not the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it, a.k.a. the source. But the sources of that code are missing.
How can we improve it? -- The original creator of the file could be asked for source-code and that code can be added to the packages sources then. Users would be best suited by providing an unpacked and fully non-obfuscated code in addition to the obfuscated one, so they can make unrestricted use of the software when they obtain sources.
What happened? -- A file was mistakenly labeled being GNU GPL v2 while it was GNU GPL licensed.
How could we solve it? -- By contacting the person who provided the patch. He could clarify and verify that the editing was done in error. It was resolved by correcting the information.
What happened? -- A file was labeled being 3-clause BSD but this could not be verified against any public source. Instead public sources did show a GPL incompatible Artistic license. The BSD license requirements to retain the copyright statement, license terms and the disclaimer were not met as well.
How could we solve it? -- The issue could be solved by contacting the copyright owner, Incutio Ltd. It was confirmed that earlier version have been released under the Artistic license but the wordpress project always had the right to use it under 3-Term BSD. They made a new release with clear licensing terms to help resolving the issue. This new version has been taken into the package then.
What happened? -- By mistake, a developer with committ access did change the terms from GPL to GPL v2 while updating the readme file. That change got packaged and published later on.
How could we solve it? -- The WordPress project was made aware of the fact that the packages own license statement had been tainted. The mistake has been corrected then.
How can we improve it? -- The issue made visible for developers, that it was not always entirely clear under which terms exactly their code was contributed and licensed under. To improve this, a clear code submission guideline could be created.
What happened? -- A function, balanceTags, was licensed under GPL v2 while it was distributed under GPL (all versions). The function has been taken over in a file from b2/cafelog, the former WordPress source.
How could we solve it? -- The WordPress team contacted the original author and asked for reinstatement of rights and relicensing of the function under GPL. The original author published the code again and made clear that it got relicensed, for now and past.
What happened? -- An update of the external TinyMCE library did introduce a binary file no source code existed for.
How could we solve it? -- The WordPress project was made aware of the fact. It confirmed the case and removed the file in question to solve it.
What happened? -- Lyrics with copyright restrictions violating the terms of the GNU GPL have been taken over into a file that ships with every WordPress package.
How could we solve it? -- We could not so far. The Wordpress project was made aware of the fact. Additionally Matt Mullenweg, the author who introduced the lyrics, was asked to provide licensing terms for that part but he did not answer so far. Downstream distributors like Debian or Ubuntu have removed the code in question.
How can we improve it? -- The Wordpress project could provide allowance to re-destribute those lyrics under the terms of the GNU GPL from the beginning.
What happened? -- Multiple files have been copied into the wordpress package without giving credit of the original author and its LGPL license.
How could we solve it? -- The original license and the name of the author has been taken over from the original website and added to the files.
How can we improve it? -- The original author did not put much licensing information into his package which promoted such a use. He could be contacted in order to discuss the issue with him. Additional some requirements of GNU GPL+LGPL could be technically better met in the WordPress package.