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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member
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    Giving credit for Wordpress themes

    I'm starting to use Wordpress, and liking it I especially like all the free themes available.

    But I'm confused about the credit links. If the theme is free, and has been modified since it was originally shared. How long & how far back should credit be given? I'm not saying if I change the color scheme, it's different & I don't want to give credit. I mean more extensive modifications than that.

    But I was looking a few themes today, one said nothing about giving credit, so I guess you don't have to?

    Another theme, & this is the one that got me to ask this question, says in the footer, design by some website co., modified by Joe, assisted by Jack. Now if I use that theme & modify it further, changing some CSS, changing the layout by removing or adding something, at what point is it OK to drop the list of credits??? Would I need to list all 3 before me as well as myself? The list could get pretty long.

    What's the right thing to do? What's legal?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict
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    The legalities are often tough to sort out, but most authors leave comments in the stylesheet saying if/how they expect to be credited for the design and under what license it falls.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard esds's Avatar
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    Normally they make it under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot sitesbycal's Avatar
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    Yeah it really depends on the license they use.....

    But if you're talking about most the Creative Commons licenses that allow you to redistribute derivative works, it could get slightly tough.

    I think that the easiest guideline is if you're making simple changes that don't change much of the look or functionality, then it's NOT a derivative work.

    If however you're making bigger more noticeable changes and the theme is practically or nearly a NEW theme, then it's a derivative work and you can change the credits. (as long as the license allows of course)

    Keep in mind that I'm not a lawyer or anything, I just enjoy copyleft law

  5. #5
    ********* user
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    Contact the owner to be safe.

  6. #6
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    From what I know, even editing the font-size or any CSS property on the theme is considered to be technically a derivative work. But CC license allow you to distribute derivative work.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot sitesbycal's Avatar
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    To be copyrightable, a derivative work must be different enough from the original to be regarded as a "new work" or must contain a substantial amount of new material. Making minor changes or additions of little substance to a preexisting work will not qualify the work as a new version for copyright purposes. The new material must be original and copyrightable in itself. Titles, short phrases, and format, for example, are not copyrightable.
    You can learn more at Wikipedia about derivative works


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