I have very basic question. I'm building website service where I want to use WooCommerce Subscription and Membership plugins. These plugins are paid on the official websites, but there is written

A subscription entitles you to 1 year of updates and support from the date of purchase.

And if I'm correct, the WooCommerce and it's products are GNU GPL licensed. So my question is - If I download that plugins from another website for free, can I use it for my small business for free legally (I will not distribute the copy, I will just use it as it is)?

I'm planning to pay for this products when my business will start to be profitable, but right now the almost 400 euros for that plugins is too much. I've already found this threads, but there is not the clear answer for my question.

Thank you for any answers.

  • What makes you believe that the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin is GNU GPL licensed? Aug 30, 2019 at 7:59
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    They have this sentences in their terms conditions : "Our products are licensed under the GPL (click here to find out more about the GPL). When you purchase paid Products, you will receive access to a Support Service for those Products for a period of one year. You may renew the Support Service for your paid Products on the anniversary of your paid Products’ purchase. For more information about the Support Service, read below." Aug 30, 2019 at 8:04
  • @PhilipKendall so it looks like it is GPL. Aug 30, 2019 at 8:05

1 Answer 1


If I download that plugins from another website for free, can I use it for my small business for free legally?

The terms and conditions page of WooCommerce states that the products themselves are licensed under the GPLv2 (or later) license. This license gives anyone who obtained a (legal) copy of the software the right to legally re-distribute the software in either the original or in a modified form.

The end result is that you are allowed to use the code, even if you received it from someone else than the official distributor/maintainer. You could even distribute copies (or modifications) yourself. However, remember that:

  • using code from less reputable sources also carries a risk in that they may have modified the code to nefarious ends and didn't tell you

  • you won't have access to upgrades and support from the WooCommerce team

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    What is a non-legal copy in the context of GPL?
    – Darren
    Aug 30, 2019 at 19:28
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    That would be a copy obtained by theft Sep 1, 2019 at 6:26

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