I found a website which sells a WordPress theme licensed under GPL that has this in their terms on the checkout page:

Our products are licensed under the GNU General Public License (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html) version 2.0 or later.

You may not provide access to the installation of our products as a hosting service provider or a reseller, and you may not provide to others as part of a “Software As-a-Service” (SaaS). You may not bundle it and resell it as a commercial, off the shelf, license or product.

Is this legal? I thought that the GPL gives you the right to resell and host it as a SaaS if you desire so. Can I be legally bound to their terms and conditions and their GPL at the same time?

1 Answer 1


It's legal - assuming they're the sole rightsholder, they may make their code available on any terms they choose - but it's completely ineffective. You may elect to take it under GPLv3 (as it says "GPLv2 or later") then, under the provision of s7 that says

If the Program as you received it, or any part of it, contains a notice stating that it is governed by this License along with a term that is a further restriction, you may remove that term.

you may remove the other restrictions they placed on it, and use it under the normal terms of GPLv3.

  • And they may then ban you from their store, but it doesn't matter because you already have the code. Commented Jan 15, 2021 at 20:56
  • Having just found this; I would have interpreted the extra term applies only to their pre-distributed binary and not to the source.
    – Joshua
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 19:49

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