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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:50 pm Reply with quote

NOTE: This is the final explanation from Only registered users can see links on this board! Get registered or login! discussion. We don't care if you like it or not since you agreed to accept the General Public License when you installed Nuke.
When you're against this try to seek a non-GPL product and develop software for that product.

First unless you are a lawyer - licenses of any type can be pretty hard to dissect for the average individual. One of the purposes of this article was to provide a simple and basic outline that would show people within the Nuke community where they stand legally within the boundries of freely released php-nuke scripts. Below is a basic summary, but not an entirety, of the laws on FREELY released Php-Nuke scripts, themes, addons, ect. These facts are bases from a legal stand point of research and not from or of opinions. Thanks to everyone for their comments on this issue. (Raven if this summary is not completely correct, could you please revise the areas that need it, because I see no edit links in the forum, signed in as a member)


Topic: Can developers legally sell addons created for use with Php-Nuke?
(Again we are not talking about copyright here)

If a 3rd party addon is created and FREELY released in some way or form to the public:
(addon means: The Php-Nuke CMS is required for the addon to work, operate, or be used)

  1. From that point on it is ruled only by the GPL and no other licenses are permitted.
  2. It is then free software to everyone and can be altered & distributed.

On the developers side of view:

(The words "You & I" are used only as examples here)

  1. You may request money for anything as long as the amount is reasonable (time spend, hosting/bandwidth costs)
  2. You may ask money for additional support, documentation or anything else that doesn't need php-nuke to run.
  3. All files inside the archive/download must be GPL since it needs GPL software to run
  4. Anyone else may freely distribute and modify your 3rd party software
  5. If you encoded the source with Zend, BCompiler, eAccelerator or anything else and someone requests the plain (unencoded) source you must give it to him
  6. If you develop a standalone application, like KISGB for example, and then port it to php-nuke, which has been done, Then you may have 2 different licenses. One for the standalone and one for the php-nuke script, which would be GPL.
NOTE: It's all in the wrapper. Even if you distributed it first with Php-Nuke, let's say, then it's GPL. Then you decide to go stand-alone. The stand-alone version may have a Private License.

Money making example:

A good example of making money from GPL software is RedHat which distributes Linux for free but receives money for anything else they do.


If you develop software that only works with a gpl application, like php-nuke, and you supply graphics with it instead of just place holders, the source code and the graphics are now gpl, at least in that release.
A good example here is themes, which consist of many images.

To keep the graphics proprietary under your own license, you must follow these rules

  1. The theme must be released with "place holders". This are fake graphics that replace your copyrighted graphics.
  2. The copyrighted graphics must be released seperatly, and may never be released combined with source code.
  3. Instructions how to merge the theme and graphics is license-free
  4. In case of an updated release to split the proprietary graphics from the GPL, the graphics are still owned by the general public.
NOTE: Someone may ask you to develop code for him to use in his nuke and pay you for that. This is completely legal but the code remains GPL so both, the client and the developer, may decide to release it for free to the public or not. In this case make a good agreement between both parties.

graphic examples

  • I design a theme for someone and he pays me $100 for it. The theme.php is GPL but the images are not since the images can work properly without nuke. In this case i am free to release the theme.php and *.html files but not the images.
  • If i don't release the full theme for public download then the images are copyrighted by me and you are not allowed to use them either.
  • If i release the theme.php, theme.html, etc. for the public but WITHOUT the images, then you are still not allowed to use them.
  • If i released the images in a seperate pack that costs $10, then you're still not allowed to distribute them.
  • If i released the theme.php and the images in a single archive then everyone may distribute it since the GPL states that anything in a archive is GPL'd. But that doesn't mean you may alter the copyrights as stated by the GPL.

Site Examples:

NOTE: The following example websites ARE allowed to ask a small fee to compensate the bandwidth and development costs, and each remark is 100% correct. Don't contact the author or start a spam against these websites either, you have been warned to gain our respect.

  • hitwalker.nl offers archives "as is" fully compliant to GPL, no issues here

  • autothemes.com the amount is reasonable but the license is non-gpl which is a violation, you may freely redistribute the archives without going to court.

If an archive violates the GPL then feel free to redistribute it as well but, do take the responsibility yourself by knowing the license and have a good case against the author.
However do always respect the author for the work that he has done and he does deserve a donation for it, no matter the license is at fault (he can always fix that if you talk to him NICELY)

(thanks to Raven, DjMaze, pcnuke and everyone who did research and brought these legal facts to the front for all in the Nuke community.)


What about the PHPBB themes that come with nuke themes?

What if I did what Bob has done and gave instructions on code to add to make it work with nuke. ex. The core file edits... I can give you a theme.php (for free) with no major changes for the theme and then sell a zip with the HTML and the images for the theme. couldn't I?
No the html files are based on a GPL theme, unless you can proove they are written from scratch. It is still almost impossible because no-one can check this so mainly it will become a "border-line case" which does draw attention and many questions against you as the author.

How you can resell copyrighted material?
You can't sell or resell. You may only request money to reduce your overal costs for hosting.

Would you say that forks of Nuke where the code has been mostly rehashed and reworked are therefore basing their code on phpnuke and thus should not be able to charge for it?
Yes, unless the request money is reasonable to pay the hosting/bandwidth.
But as stated above someone else may freely distribute your derivative work.
Also if you ever release the "reworked" work then you must explicitly comment inside each file what you have modified.

Many websites may attach additional terms to a Downloads section on a website and then may have you agree to these additional terms prior to being able to download an item. If these additional terms stated are outside of the GPL rules, in effect that website owner has no rights in using these additional controls that he may be trying to put on the Php-Nuke scripts. This to would be outside the statutes of the GPL wouldnt it?
Yes and no. If the additional terms are targeted to GPL downloads then the additional terms are not allowed. You may however add additional notes to your GPL. The gpl faq explains which notes are allowed.
An example of such note is: Only registered users can see links on this board! Get registered or login!

But this is in case of source code releases.
The actual outputted HTML (browser view) is NOT gpl. The output is fully copyrighted by you or anyone else. These outputs mostly have an CC ( Only registered users can see links on this board! Get registered or login!) license. Thus additional terms that are related to the website itself are permitted.
For example they must agree to not "hotlink" the downloads.
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