I want to make a commercial product for resale..

One of the components of the product will be a wordpress theme.

The theme will be a heavily reworked variant of a GPL licenses theme.

So, I understand that as the theme is GPL, that means it must carry the GPL license, even after it is modified.

Here's where it gets complicated:

Some of the modifications to the Theme involve the addition of commercial CSS components that I have paid for and own extended licenses to. Under this license I can redistribute the work in my own work.

So, my question is, given that the GPL license has to be retained on a product based on a GPL licensed product, what happens with the license once commercially-licenses elements are added?

Is this then a mixed license product?

IE - does that mean the GPL licensed elements stay GPL, and can therefore be modified and redistributed by people who buy it?

As far as the commercial elements go, these have to remain under their own 'extended' license.

Any advice would be most helpful. Ive been reading up but can't seem to find anything that applies directly to the specifics of this situation.

Is there even a way to license a hybrid product like this?

2 Answers 2


You can duel license your commercial product. Only the PHP code that interacts with WordPress is required to be GPL.

If you really want an extensive GPL lesson you can peruse the Thesis GPL Saga files:

I'm not a lawyer and this should not be considered legal advice.

  • Great. I will have a look through and see what I can find out. Appreciate the leads.
    – Jim
    May 20, 2011 at 23:48

I don't think you're going to get a definitive answer to this one. However, there's a fairly common point of view that even for GPL themes, the CSS doesn't have to be GPL licensed.

So, I personally think you can add non-GPL CSS to a theme without making the CSS GPL.

  • Ok. I had assumed as much, as I cant change the license on a product that already exists under an existing license (the css). What Im getting at , is, how do I license the Theme when it includes two separately licensed products? Is there some sort of hybrid licensing method?
    – Jim
    May 20, 2011 at 23:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.