Various Web Development and especially WordPress related Blogs have recently joined the discussion on whether or not to pay for GPL licensed WordPress Plugins and Themes. The recent discussions were caused by the emergence of a new breed of intermediaries: Websites that sell access to GPL Licensed Code.
WP Avengers and GPL Club are the two most (in)famous examples. Their business model is simple. They regularly purchase GPL Licensed Code from the original programmers/vendors and resell it at a dramatic discount without the support that the original authors usually supply.
Technically speaking they divide the code which is free anyway from the services that the programmers provide in addition to get a revenue stream for their creations.
The discussion is very tense and there are several pros and cons (good overview in Jeffro from WPTavern’s “Why Are We Paying For GPL Licensed Code?“). Overall the WordPress Community seems to largely criticize the above mentioned intermediaries for making money from other people’s work.
But here is an opposite opinion from Kevin Muldoon’s “WordPress, GPL and Ethics”:
What if someone went one step further and released all premium plugins free. For example, a plugin and theme directory that allowed every single premium WordPress theme and plugin to be downloaded free of charge. No malware, ho hidden agenda. Simply someone who wanted to share all premium plugins with the world.
How do you think the WordPress community would react to this? Would it kill the market for premium WordPress products or would developers have to focus on support?
We believe it is an excellent argument and a truly great idea worth trying!
What is your view?