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I have been searching and saw a lot of WordPress Themes Shops listed here http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/commercial/ that they have releasesd their themes in GPL but add this rule also, is this ok?

You may not claim intellectual or exclusive ownership to any of our products, modified or unmodified. All products are property of .......

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  • The "modified" part from that paragraph doesn't really belong there. You can claim intelectual or exclusive ownership of your modifications to that product. Dec 16, 2011 at 16:17

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I don't understand your concern with this clause. Just because you have a license to use a copyrighted work does not mean that you have a claim of ownership or exclusive usage of that work.

The copyright holder of a work is the owner of that work. The entire basis of the GPL relies on copyright principles and applicable copyright law, and copyright principles and law are based on the concept of ownership of intellectual property.

Note that such clauses do not preclude you from claiming ownership of any modifications you make to someone else's copyrighted work; rather, it stipulates that you cannot claim ownership of the modified work as a whole.

I don't see any problems here.

EDIT

let's take an actual example, plugin X is released under GPL, Y gets it, modifies the author, auhor uri, name and so on, it adds the copyright notice of X author in license.txt, makes some modifications to the plugin, realease it under GPL.

In this case, X is the owner and copyright holder for the original work, and Y is the copyright holder for the derivative work. Note that Y only has ownership of his own modifications, even though he holds the copyright for the derivative work. In this case, X still owns the original work, and retains copyright and ownership of both the original work and any part of the original work incorporated in the derivative work.

Thus, Y can only claim ownership of his own modifications, rather than on the derived work as a whole, because the derived work as a whole incorporates work owned by X.

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  • Thanks for the answer, the hole point of this question is to clarify some things that I do not uderstood. I agree 100% with you in general terms, but let's take an actual example, plugin X is released under GPL, Y gets it, modifies the author, auhor uri, name and so on, it adds the copyright notice of X author in license.txt, makes some modifications to the plugin, realease it under GPL.
    – wpmika
    Dec 16, 2011 at 16:16
  • That still shouldn't be a problem, if X properly declares copyright in the first place. Then, it is incumbent upon Y to retain original copyright declaration, while adding a copyright declaration for his derived work. I'll clarify my answer to address this point. Dec 16, 2011 at 16:24
  • So, modifcations mentioned by me above can not be considered as claim of"intellectual or exclusive ownership" if are made following the rules.
    – wpmika
    Dec 16, 2011 at 16:24
  • So, modifcations mentioned by me above can not be considered as claim of"intellectual or exclusive ownership". Incorrect. Note that the clause references the original work, not modifications to the original work. See my updated answer for clarification. Dec 16, 2011 at 16:29
  • Thanks for clarifying this. You're a real asset for the WordPress Community.
    – wpmika
    Dec 16, 2011 at 16:34

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