When Your Blog Gets Splogged, It’s More Than GPL.. Right?

July 17th, 2010
WordPress Discussions, WordPress News

Yesterday, I wrote about a problem Matt had about the GPL license with the Thesis Theme. Though I am not biased and seriously do not want to get into an argument about it, let me put forth an argument that I think is really worth thinking about.

Many of you reading this blog and probably who don’t read this too might have a blog, where you write rich and unique content and probably also have copyrights on the content. It could be licensed copyrights or some sort of Creative Commons. Nevertheless, you might also have a terms of use which dictates how others can use your content.

Now, this world is full of sploggers and there is no way you can stop that. But when it comes to your own blog you will tend to take some action against people who copy your content. This action could be politely asking them to stop copying your content, threatening them to stop using your content and last but not the least taking legal action against them by filing a DMCA complaint or using other means through the court of justice.

Now, when it comes to our own problems, our own content, we would contemplate to do everything in our means to stop people from using what is rightfully ours. But when someone violates a license or any license, in this case the GPL license of the software we use, we turn a blind eye or say it is not really what it says?

Let me make one thing clear here. I am not a GPL fan, I personally prefer to use the Apache 2.0 license. However, I also prefer to respect licenses I use and not violate them.

Update: I also wanted to add some API related stuff which people are arguing against. Your blog has a RSS feed, which is essentially a way to access content from your blog without actually using any of your blog’s resources (almost Winking smile), and those RSS feeds eventually end up being used by the so called sploggers. However, at that point of time we don’t really want to think how they accessed our content and want them to adhere to our TOS and other licensing usage. Right? Right? Right?

I am seriously not against anyone, this is a real-life situation I wanted to put everyone into before making decisions about what is actually right or wrong. After this, the choice is yours.




  1. Lincoln Mullen says:

    That’s a good point about RSS feeds being like an API.

  2. Ray Gulick (2 comments.) says:

    Right! If you can’t abide by the terms of the license, you should find another platform whose terms of use suit your purposes.

    People who say Thesis can exist without WordPress miss the point. The fact is, it IS built on WordPress. If Thesis developers don’t like the terms of use that come with WordPress, they have the freedom to pull it from the WordPress market and build it for use on another platform; perhaps their own platform over which they will have complete control.

    To disregard the terms because they restrict your “freedom” is childish, irresponsible, and almost certainly illegal.

    • Teli (4 comments.) says:

      To disregard the terms because they restrict your “freedom” is childish, irresponsible, and almost certainly illegal.

      To be clear, I’m not disagreeing that disregarding the terms of a software license or other contract is childish and irresponsible, however, you should be careful with the use of the world “illegal” since Chris’s transgression would be a violation of a software license, which (in most cases) is not a criminal offense.

      NB: IANAL

      • Ray Gulick (2 comments.) says:

        I believe (though I’m not a lawyer) that “illegal” means “prohibited by law” and that it does not necessarily mean “criminal.” For instance, you can make an illegal left turn, but that does not make you a criminal nor is it referred to as a “criminal act.” It certainly can earn you a fine or other legal sanctions, however. Hopefully, there will be legal action and the legality/illegality of Chris Pearson’s actions will be settled.

  3. Teli (4 comments.) says:

    I’m unbiased as well and am not going to take sides on the issue, but I will say that Copyright violations and Software License violations are like comparing apples to oranges. However, if you’re going to lump Software License violation into Copyright infringement, then you would also need to take into consideration Fair Use (assuming we’re talking U.S. law here). This entire situation is a slippery slope.

    • Michael Lockyear (2 comments.) says:

      Software licenses are linked to copyright law (and therefore violations)….According to GNU site, ““Fair use” is use that is allowed without any special permission. Since you don’t need the developers’ permission for such use, you can do it regardless of what the developers said about it—in the license or elsewhere, whether that license be the GNU GPL or any other free software license.”

  4. Andrew @ Blogging Guide (86 comments.) says:

    Good point here. I really think hat licenses exist so there would be order, if it is then not followed then what follows is confusion.

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