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My thoughts on premium WordPress themes

Obviously I’m biased since I now sell a premium WordPress theme, but I have posted my thoughts on premium themes over on Pro Theme Design.

The post was sparked by a comment from Matt Mullenweg where he said he disliked Premium themes because they don’t further the WordPress community… and I disagreed.

In my opinion selling a WordPress theme is no different to designing a website for a client, or even developing a website for yourself.

To read the full article head over to Pro Theme Design on Premium Themes, giving back to the community.


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Ben View All

Ben is a lifelong Nintendo fan who also likes to build websites, and develop games. He also buys way too much Lego.

6 thoughts on “My thoughts on premium WordPress themes Leave a comment

  1. The difference between doing something for yourself or a client is by making it available for download you’re triggering distribution, which is specifically covered in the GPL. You’re distributing something that couldn’t run without WordPress, yet takes away the freedoms WP itself was built on.

  2. I’m genuinely interested in the differences here since I’m not a lawyer and don’t know anything about this sort of thing.

    The only people who can download the theme are the clients who have purchased a license from us – does that make any difference?

    The way I see it is that yes, we’re making something that needs WordPress, but we’re not charging for WordPress itself. The theme is entirely optional, WordPress will continue to work with or without it.

    I think WordPress is great and will eventually release more free themes for it. I contacted you about your theme Marketplace for but didn’t get a response so I decided to do it myself, something I had considered before but not done anything about.

  3. If you do the work, then you are free to charge for it. Or not! One for the free world, one for yourself. Seems fair enough..

  4. Er… in what way does the consenting use of a premium theme take away the freedoms WordPress was built on? No other person is denied the rights or means to use WordPress by this, it has no effect on them whatsoever.

    WordPress was built on b2cafelog, which sometimes passes Mr Mullenweg by…

  5. Karen, look at the license of Mimbo Pro:

    “You may not transfer possession of Mimbo Pro to other parties. You may not copy enclosed documentation or distribute them to other parties. You may customize Mimbo Pro for your own project.

    Under the terms, you cannot redistribute Mimbo Pro, verbatim, as your own, but you may modify it for your own projects.

    You must keep the “Mimbo Pro” credit in the footer.”

    The terms are clumsy (and not legally enforceable). If b2/cafelog had used such a restrictive license WordPress would have never existed in the first place. The freedom being taken away is yours as a user and mine as a developer. This link explains more:

  6. Well, exactly, how many licences are legally enforceable? In any one country, let alone worldwide…? This is the usual quasi-juridical bluster designed to deter slightly – and it still prevents no-one from using WordPress…

    As a contrary example, perhaps, VIP hosting makes use of the same unpaid development work, but is not a viable option for the majority.

    My thanks to Ben for the bandwidth…

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