Over the years, I’ve read and participated in numerous discussions around the topic of removing Hello Dolly, one of the default plug-ins that ships with WordPress and is used for learning purposes. Despite all of the talk surrounding the plug-in, I’ve never seen anyone mention the issue of copyright. According to ticket 15769 on Trac, Hello Dolly is infringing on the copyrights of Jerry Herman, the creator of the musical. No one knows for sure if Matt or the WordPress Foundation has the permission of Jerry to use the lyrics in the plug-in or if he even needs it since the use may fall under fair use. There is also the discussion that if the plug-in is indeed violating the copyright of Jerry Herman that this infringement terminates the license of WordPress, that being GPL.
None of the people involved in the discussion is a lawyer so keep that in mind when reading through the ticket. However, a good alternative to the situation was published by NKuttler which replaced the lyrics of Hello Dolly with the Free Software Song. As noted by core contributor Mark Jaquith, Matt is aware of the situation and has good lawyers at his disposal for legal counsel on the issue if he wants to pursue that.
After reading the fair use doctrine and reading through the discussion within the ticket, let me know your thoughts in the comments.