Licensing

You'll find that most WordPress themes you found on the web either do not mention licensing or use the GNU General Public License (GPL) license. If you're not familiar with the GNU GPL, you can learn more about it at http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/ gpl.html.

You may wish to do the same with your theme, if you want it to be freely distributed, available to all, and changeable by all, with no permissions necessary as long as they acknowledge you.

If you've created a completely original design that you intend to sell commercially, or just want to be able to grant permission for any other possible use, you'll want to place specific copyright information and the name of the person or organization that holds the copyright. Something like © 2 0 08 My Name, All Rights Reserved, is generally recognized as legal with or without any formal copyright filing procedures (but you should look up how to best formally copyright your design material!).

This book's theme has been leveraged from another project of mine for Packt Publishing for educational purposes. While the GNU GPL is more than adequate, its text is a bit more "software-ish" and "tech-heavy" than I'd like, so I'm going to redistribute the Open Source Magazine theme under a more general-public-friendly Creative Commons license (http://creativecommons.org).

I'll use the CC Labs DHTML License Chooser to assist me in selecting an appropriate license (http://labs.creativecommons.org/dhtmllicense/):

I'll use the CC Labs DHTML License Chooser to assist me in selecting an appropriate license (http://labs.creativecommons.org/dhtmllicense/):

I'll of course allow sharing of the theme, and let others "Remix", which means, derive new themes from this theme with proper credit. I will, however, prevent it from being sold commercially by another entity (commercial sites are welcome to download it and use it), and require the "Share-Alike" option. This means that no one can legally take the theme package and offer it for sale or use it in such a way that it generates income for them without my permission. If they reuse or redesign the package in any other non-commercial way, they're free to do so; they're simply required to give me and Packt Publishing credit where credit is due.

My licensing agreement looks like the following:

OpenSource Magazine WordPress Theme by Tessa Blakeley Silver is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

The end result is a license that keeps to the spirit of the GNU GPL, but is much less technical-vocabulary heavy. It tells the user upfront that it allows sharing, which is important to us for educational purposes and prevents commercial distribution without permission, and by requiring "Share-Alike," encourages a continued friendly WordPress-esque atmosphere of open source collaboration. It also expressly states the version number of the license, making it very easy for anyone to look up and read in detail.

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