Another day, another impending lawsuit brews on the horizon. While no briefs have been filed yet, it looks like WordPress is probably going to have to sue a successful theme developer in court in the (not to distant) future.
Andrew Warner of Mix Energy fame was able to interview the founder of WordPress (Matt Mullenweg) as well as Chris Pearson (the creator of Thesis) over whether or not Thesis needs to embrace the way of GPL (or General Public License for you non-geeks).
After watching (or rather listening) to the video for almost an hour, it looks as if the only ones who are going to win in this upcoming battle will be the lawyers who once again will go home full of food and cash.
Update: video added below.
According to Chris (and some random Foreclosure lawyer in Florida, USA), Thesis does not have to comply with GPL since 99% of the code has been hand crafted by himself.
Matt on the other hand argues that since Thesis is based upon WordPress’s code, he does have to comply and uses simple legal arguments and cites several legal organizations as well as a GPL lawyer from Firefox.
Chris concludes that embracing GPL would hurt his business, which has over 27,000 satisfied customers to which Matt counters by citing WooThemes success by embracing GPL.
Unfortunately for Chris, not only is the law against him (.pdf) but public opinion might be as well after his claim to the “WordPress trinity” during the interview.
… I’ve done great things for WordPress since 2006, I’ve been arguably one of the top three most important figures in the history of WordPress. You, Mark Jaquith and myself are the three people that I’m talking about.
Chris seems determined to avoid embracing GPL at any cost, which could ultimately lead to his companies extinction when (not if) this heads to court as hosting companies will probably ask WP fans to remove Thesis (for legal reasons) or find another host.
Although Chris is a talented theme developer, he needs to swallow his pride lest the WP universe loses one of its greatest theme developers over a silly lawsuit involving three simple words.