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Is Obox Beating the GPL, WordPress.com System?

Of course there’s a lot of pressure right now on making sure that the GPL issues around Envato and WordPress are enforced, or at least that the things being said are aligned with actual action and one such confusing example is Obox and their apparent distribution of their Gigawatt Theme.

As mentioned by @ChrisWallace, what exactly is the ruling here?

The proof of the issue, as they say, is in the pudding:


Above we see the theme being sold on Themeforest as well as on WordPress.com:


You can also see the two demos here and here:



This seems to be clearly an “issue” with licensing but what most people who aren’t a part of the existing network or in the Premium offerings at WordPress.com are asking is this: What are exactly the rules as set by WordPress.com and the Premium Theme team in a way that the layman can understand?

As mentioned in the comments here, we can see that Brian Gardner from StudioPress has pulled out all the their themes in ThemeForest recently because of “internal” reasons, even if they had disclaimed the 100% GPL compliance:

We felt that disclaiming our themes were 100% GPL was enough. Regardless of that, however, we did make the decision well before yesterday, to remove our themes for our own internal reasons. Just want to clarify.

Are other companies pulling out as well? Are there any other theme providers like Obox that are selling their themes in both WordPress.com and ThemeForest?  What do you think about this situation?

Most people are left scratching their heads while they poll other networks, ask people they trust, and read the variety of opinions out there.

More WordPress News From Torque:
  • http://wp.tutsplus.com Japh Thomson

    What an unpleasant situation we find ourselves in as a community.

    • http://curtismchale.ca Curtis McHale


    • http://www.deluxeblogtips.com Tran Ngoc Tuan Anh

      Agree, and we still don’t know how many companies/teams are pulled in this situation.

  • http://krogsgard.com Brian
  • http://upthemes.com Chris Wallace

    To be clear, I’m certainly not condemning or blaming the Obox guys here, as I consider them friends. But it certainly seems that Automattic is a bit confused internally about this topic themselves. My tweet was meant to bring light to this very obvious conflict of interest.

    If Automattic thinks WordPress.com is outside the realm of discussion on this topic, then fine. But even wordpress.org has theme shops from ThemeForest listed on the commercial themes page: http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/commercial/

    My only point here is that Matt states that they always have and will enforce the guidelines regarding WordPress and the GPL, but it appears they’re not able to enforce this rule for everyone. This makes me wonder why they’re attacking Jake Caputo specifically – and not going after the bigger theme shops that are in clear violation of the “guidelines.”

    • http://wpkrauts.com Kaiser

      What I personally find pretty awkward is the fact that no one seems to know who exactly this foundation is. I wrote about it yesterday here[1], as this is the one question I’d really like to have answered.

      [1] http://wpkrauts.com/2013/leaders-and-the-greater-good/

  • http://www.obox-design.com/ David Perel

    Hi Everyone

    Only saw this post now, so apologies for not replying sooner. I’d like to clear things up a bit.

    Before we were accepted onto the WordPress.com theme author roster, we had long discussions with both WP.com and Envato to make sure that we were allowed to be on both networks – both in terms of GPL licensing and exclusivity agreements.

    Since the WordCamp debacle last week we have setup meetings with both Envato and WP.com to sort out the situation. It really sucks that we are stuck in the middle of this fight despite trying to do the best thing on both sides.

    Also, the only similarity between Gigawatt on TF and Gigz on WP is name and the background. Every line of code (CSS, HTML and PHP) has been completely redone in order to suit their respective platforms. The same is being done for our other themes going onto WP.com – complete rewrites to suit each platform ensure a higher quality relative to that platforms requirements… I’m pretty sure we are in a unique group of theme co’s who put that much effort into our products for the benefit of the user.

    So it’s not *simply* a case of selling the same theme on both platforms. Fundamentally they are very different.

    At the end of the day, it’s not our intention to upset either party. Both TF and WP have been incredibly good to us and our business and staff rely on both. As Japh said in comment #1, it is an unfortunate position we find ourselves in and I really hope that it gets resolved soon.

    Hope that clears things up a bit.

    ~ Dave

  • wycks

    No one is really in the wrong here, but this points out exactly the problem with the WordPress Foundation.

    Lack of constancy, confusion, no transparency, and the fact of the matter .. it’s a one man show.

    Maybe something positive will come out of all this GPL #drama, namely Matt taking the “foundation” part of the WordPress Foundation more seriously.