The file named footer.php contains the copyright info:

Designed by ...

Is it OK to remove theme credits from footer?

Is it legal?

  • 2
    You can always (try to) ask the theme developer ;-) What theme are you talking about here?
    – birgire
    Jun 3 '14 at 11:31
  • 1
    I do agree @birgire This is by far the safest method, and I concider it to be best practice to call the theme author. If he says yes, go ahead. If he says no, your stuffed Jun 3 '14 at 11:50
  • It's considered bad form to remove the credits from free themes. The theme author is usually giving away the free theme to promote other paid for services. If you strip out the credit link you're denying the author his or her livelihood. Jun 3 '14 at 12:16
  • 2
    If it's a GPL licensed theme, then you can remove the link - if you don't change the licence: source.
    – birgire
    Jun 3 '14 at 12:51
  • 1
    Here's another interesting read on GPL themes.
    – birgire
    Jun 3 '14 at 12:58

On a free and publicly available theme, yes, you can!

If you built the theme yourself, yes, you can!

If the theme is under a GPL license or completely public domain, yes, you can!


If you're a client of a developer who has built the theme for you however it may not be so simple. It may be in your contract that it be put there, and you should have negotiated this when procuring a developer or agency. Consult your designer/developer or contact a lawyer.

Buying a theme from a theme shop is also questionable, check their terms of service and the agreement, and if in doubt contact a lawyer

If a premium theme has a free lite version then it may also be questionable, ask the original author and check the license, and if in doubt contact a lawyer

Keep in mind this is not a forum for legal advice, and we are not legal professionals. We know some cases it is indeed legal, but for other cases we cannot provide solid legal advice. What is legal also changes from state to state.

  • 1
    +1 for stressing the fact that this isn't a matter that can be generalized..at all
    – Nicolai
    Jun 3 '14 at 11:46
  • Just to note here Tom, you cannot remove the credits on all free themes. Some premium themes have free versions that states that the footer credit should stay in tact. But otherwise, +1 for your answer. I really do still think the OP should call the theme author. By far the best practice Jun 3 '14 at 11:48
  • 1
    On a free and publicly available theme, yes, you can! - so, for themes licensed under GPL license, is it OK? Jun 3 '14 at 12:28
  • 1
    Especially in the GPL licensed themes
    – Tom J Nowell
    Jun 3 '14 at 12:52
  • 2
    That would be asking for legal advice, GPL is a copyleft license designed to ensure things remain free and open. By removing the 'designed by' part, you're creating a derivative. I'm sure other people have explained how it works elsewhere far better than I ever could
    – Tom J Nowell
    Jun 3 '14 at 14:07

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