This may not be the right place for this discussion as I suspect it relates more to OpenSource in general (if so, let me know and I will move it), but since it happened with a WordPress Plugin and the situation relates to things that happen in the WordPress Plugin community and its practices: I thought I might start here and ask.

Consider the following problem which I have encountered.

  • In 2016 I willingly donated $1000 to a Plugin developer to contribute to their development of an upgrade, and I received an enhanced version.
  • I then used their system to build several themes.
  • I then needed and built a custom integration for that same Plugin.
  • Note: I did not build the Plugin itself, but only 1 integration at that time
  • I showed that Integration to the Plugin Author, who liked it
  • The Plugin Author then emailed me and we had a Skype meeting
  • The Plugin Author sells integrations for the Plugin on their website
  • The Plugin Author offered to sell my Integration and cut me in
  • I then sent them the source code so they could "examine it" (was this a mistake?)
  • The Plugin Author took it, sells it on their site, took my name off of it, and stopped replying.

Here are some problems and questions I now have.

  • 1) Is this the nature of OpenSource?
  • 2) Does this happen often?
  • 3) Was it a mistake on my part to send them the source code?
  • 4) I have documentation that this happened, but no interest to pursue it legally, I see it as a waste of time with no good outcome.

I have since developed 5 additional integrations for this plugin over 2 years and no one has them yet. As such, I plan to RELEASE these integrations as part of the theme that is sold on a template website and have the following concerns:

  • 5) What can I do to discourage the plugin developer from taking my custom integrations, yet again, and stripping my name off them?
  • 6) Can I just sell these integrations on a place like Envato as scripts and not at all include or notify the Plugin Developer, and, will that protect the integrations in some way (such as documented "first publishing")?
  • 7) How should I license these integrations? As in, what statement should appear in the code or readme.txt file?
  • 8) Should I try to reach out to the developer and record the skype call and get everything on paper and look past the original theft? (after all, its their plugin, I only have some custom integrations)
  • 9) Is this kind of thing "rare" or "common" with WordPress?
  • 10) Are there any other suggestions the community might have for me regarding this issue?

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

EDIT: I am hoping that people with Plugin, extension and integration experience who have had similar experience will share their knowledge on the topic. I am not asking for legal advice. I am asking for someone with their finger on the "WordPress Pulse" to tell me "how things are done around here".

  • These are pretty much all legal questions. You need to speak to a lawyer. – Jacob Peattie Dec 1 at 6:59
  • 1
    ok, sure, I understand the legal aspect here (which I am not interested to pursue), but im wondering what the temperature is here in WordPress as a community. For example, if this was something I built for a private company then yea, this is illegal, but IF this is so common in an OS community like wordpress that I should learn a lesson here, then so be it. That's what I am looking for, I want people with experience in this area, specifically WP plugin dev to chime in. Maybe instead of a quick brush off you could take a good look at the context here? I am not asking for legal advice – Christian Žagarskas Dec 1 at 8:53

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