I would like to ask if the content of a wordpress blog--not the theme, but the actual entries--are GPL?

I would like to be doubly sure before I create a wordpress account. Please note: I have no beef with GPL, and respect that some people like it. I simply prefer things that aren't put under this license.

Cheers! Fiton

  • 2
    No, they're not.
    – Rafe Kettler
    Apr 17, 2011 at 6:32
  • 1
    GPL applies to the code not the content but the rules as to who owns the content depends on what the hosted site's terms and conditions are. So you need to check the WP T's and C's. There is also the question of what would happen if WP was sold to a third party. They might claim ownership or use the content as they wished.
    – PurplePilot
    Apr 17, 2011 at 6:44
  • @PurplePilot: Bloggers using Wordpress.com (I assume you don't mean the wordpress software, which would make your comment even weirder) haven't turned over their content to Wordpress (the copyright on the content still belongs to the bloggers), so even if WP is sold to a third party they can't suddenly claim ownership. At most they could hypothetically insist that you explicitly accept new terms and conditions turning over ownership to them of later posts, but you can always refuse and take your content elsewhere (Wordpress has an export feature). Apr 17, 2011 at 9:42
  • Well i assumed the questioner was referring to publishing on wordpress.com as he asked about an wordpress account and not about downloading and hosting a wordpress blog himself so nothing weird there. As i have not read the WP terms and conditions i was unaware as the the ownership status of postings on hosted blogs but as it affects the questioner and not me i thought he ought to follow it up rather than me, a non-lawyer, doing so. But finally if WP closed and the content was sold and the new owners changed the rules how would you enforce your copyright? Take them to court? Apr 17, 2011 at 14:37
  • @PurplePilot: Wordpress.com doesn't own the content, so they cannot sell the content. I don't know why this is so hard to understand. (Of course, if the new owners used your content in ways without your permission, the situation would be no different from anyone on the internet right now copying from your blog and doing it, so that issue is tangential here. And also, presumably, you have backups of all your content.) ('you' = generic 'you') Apr 17, 2011 at 18:03

2 Answers 2


Think about it. If I write a text file using the Linux kernel (GPL) and GNU software like Gnome or Bash (also GPL) using GNU Emacs (also GPL), is that text file GPL? No.

I think that should answer your question.

To clarify, on a general basis, the copyleft aspect of the GPL only applies to when you use the code, either by extending, linking, or copying sections. Works produced using a piece of software licensed under the GPL but not its code belong to the creator and can be licensed however they want.


To answer your question you must learn a very important difference: The difference between a software and what you create with a software.

The GPL is a copyright license. Copyright can not limit what you produce with a copyrighted software, it can only limit the use of the software (like copying it).

That's important to know, as humans need to be able to interact with a work (the software), even the interface you're using does not fall under copyright. It's only the software that is.

What I want to basically say is that the GPL can not apply to a programs input and output if it is not related to the work itself. The in- and output in your case is your blog-post. It's a work on it's own under copyright (let's assume what you writing falls under copyright) and as you're the author of that work, you can decide freely on your own about the licensing of your texts.

That's your right no software license based on copyright can keep away from you, that's independent to the GPL.

The GPL even clearly states that in it's licensing terms, for example in those GPL licensing terms shipping with Wordpress:

The act of running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the Program (independent of having been made by running the Program).

As your blog post is not a work based on wordpress (in the meaning of work and copyright, that's meant legally here), you're free to do whatever you want.

Please see as well the GPL FAQ:

The GPL only ensures that the software needs to stay free for all of it's users - current and future ones. It's using the copyright to achieve that. And it grants you the freedom to use the software for any purpose, including producing texts not under GPL ;)

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