Customers will often pay me to setup a website for them which occasionally involves using themes from Themeforest which are GPL Licensed.

1) Reselling

Can I "Resell" the Theme to this customer in the scenario mentioned above? We buy the theme, modify it, set it up on our server (occasionally theres).

I ask because it says:

"You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee." (Which we are not technically transferring) and it says "You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License."

Also, what if the fee were not for "reselling" per se' but for the "setup"?

2) Tracking Changes

The license says "You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change." Has anyone actually done this? If so, can you give me an example of what this looks like?

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  • You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files - If you look in source code near the top of GPL projects there are examples of how this is done in practice. Putting such a notice near the top makes it prominent. – Brandin Oct 25 '16 at 7:43
  • Are you saying that Themeforest themes are GPL-licensed (unlikely to be true) or that some of them (the one that you wish to use) are? And can't you find these GPL-licensed themes for free on some alternative platforms? (Not saying that buying GPL software is wrong.) – Zimm i48 Oct 25 '16 at 13:21

It's simple. You can charge any amount, totally unlimited, to provide your software. Since you are using GPL licensed software, you are obliged to provide the source code. For the source code, you can just charge your reasonable cost of providing the source code. Burn the source code on a CD, put it in an envelope, write an address on the envelope, you can charge a few dollars for that. And since you are using GPL licensed software, you are obliged to make your software available under the GPL license, with not a penny charged for the license.

So what you can charge: Software = $1,000,000. Source code = $10.00. GPL license = $0.00.


See https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html for clarity. It is the basis for all gpl licences. An extract:

“Free software” means software that respects users' freedom and community. Roughly, it means that the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Thus, “free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer”. We sometimes call it “libre software,” borrowing the French or Spanish word for “free” as in freedom, to show we do not mean the software is gratis.

But to keep these freedoms, you must keep your side of the contract.

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