On a themes site they stipulate, in the terms and conditions, that their themes inherit the GNU general public license from WordPress. I believe that this means that they can be copied and modified.

However the themes are being sold. Shouldn't they be free? Could someone enlighten me.

1 Answer 1


The GPL absolutely does not preclude selling code, for cost. In fact, the terms of the license explicitly allow for selling of code.

The GPL merely allows the end user, whether he received the GPL-licensed code for free or for cost, to use the code however he likes, to redistribute the code, to modify the code, and to redistribute the modified code - provided that any such-distributed code be licensed under the same license.

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    If a user was to purchase a theme would he therefore be able to redistribute it freely, defeating the seller's intention?
    – Stack 101
    Jun 15, 2011 at 0:02
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    Stack 101: Yes, however you would have to wonder about the motivations of such a person, to spend his own money on software and to then give it away for free.
    – Otto
    Jun 15, 2011 at 1:05
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    @stack the PHP code is GPL'd - however, it's possible that the CSS and any images are not. Therefore, the theme might not be redistributable as a single package
    – anu
    Jun 15, 2011 at 10:13
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    So, I could take an HTML theme that was available for free as open-source GPLed software, modify it to my heart's content, convert it to WP, and promptly sell it somewhere, provided I included the same license? Feb 16, 2012 at 8:22
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    @Amanda yes. If the work is licensed under GPL, you can redistribute that work - modified or unmodified - under the same license. Feb 16, 2012 at 14:33

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