I would like to publish part or full source code of one or more plugins (licensed under GPL, GPLv2, MIT or no license) in my website/blog. Website I am talking about is for everyone, free to use and free to copy code. Plus, is it okay if I do not provide any link to the source code/plugin? I will definitely give full credits to the developer.

  • Do you mean existing plugins under licenses specified by their original authors or are you writing a plugin and choosing a license for it?
    – Jan Hudec
    Dec 18, 2012 at 9:57
  • I mean existing plugins developed by other developers not mine.
    – FatalError
    Dec 18, 2012 at 10:03

2 Answers 2

  • GPL: You must provide full source code if you are providing compiled form. If you are not providing compiled form, you still can provide the source in full or any part of it. You must attach the license notice to it. I.e. even if you take few functions out of a source file, you have to put the copyright notice from the beginning of the original source before them and you have to have link on web/pack it with any archives for download.

  • MIT: You can do whatever you want with it except claim you wrote it yourself. You can even provide it under stricter license (this often happens if you combine it with GPL code).

  • "no license": There is no such thing as "no license". Any work subject to copyright may only be used with author's permission. If there is no license notice attached, you have to contact the author and ask them.

    There is "public domain", but non-US jurisdictions generally either don't have that term or it only means works for which the copyright protection already expired. That's why there are licenses like WTFPL, which is equivalent to "public domain", but does not use that term.

Note that it's actually questionable whether it's allowed to put plugin for proprietary program under GPL since a plugin can be considered derived work of the program and GPL only excludes "system libraries". I suppose the plugin itself can always have exception for the program it is plugin for, but it may not use pre-existing GPL code written without such exception (LGPL code is OK, because LGPL stops at dynamic link boundary and anything that qualifies as plugin is dynamically loaded).

  • that means, giving full credits and attaching license notice. It is absolutely okay to share their code except if there is no license attached. thanks for the detailed clarification.
    – FatalError
    Dec 18, 2012 at 12:56
  • @FatalError: No, it's OK for those two licenses. And any other license in this list. There may be a license that says it's not OK.
    – Jan Hudec
    Dec 18, 2012 at 13:05
  • Of course you can put anything you are the copyright owner of under the GPL, including plugings for proprietary programs. As the copyright owner, the choice of the license is your sole decision. The real question is whether or not anyone can legally use the plugin, or distribute the plugin together with the proprietary program.
    – user281377
    Dec 18, 2012 at 13:26

Jan's answer gives what you can do according to the various licenses. But I think you may have another option depending on exactly how you tend to use the code in your blog and how much of it.

US (and many other contries) copyright law contains a fair use clause. If you are providing commentary or critique of the code the fair use would give you the right to incorporate and cite copyrighted material without needing a license or the copyright holders permission. The main advantage here would be being able to omit the license details from the blog text.

As ever with these things there is a health dose of 'it depends' here and if you want to be sure that your use constitutes fair use then you need to consult a lawyer.

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