Wix Steals WordPress Code
WordPress: Largest Content Management Platform
When it comes to creating and managing a website, WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). A total of 27% of the websites, worldwide, use WordPress. To put that in perspective, the next two most popular CMS Joomla and Drupal make up 3.3% and 2.2% of the websites found on the internet. The wonderful thing about WordPress is that it’s an open source platform. So, can the phrase ‘Wix Steals WordPress Code‘ really be accurate?
“If I were being charitable, I’d say, “The app’s editor is based on the WordPress mobile app’s editor.” If I were being honest, I’d say that Wix copied WordPress without attribution, credit, or following the license. The custom icons, the class names, even the bugs. You can see the forked repositories on GitHub complete with original commits from Alex and Maxime, two developers on Automattic’s mobile team. Wix has always borrowed liberally from WordPress—including their company name, which used to be Wixpress Ltd.—but this blatant rip-off and code theft is beyond anything I’ve seen before from a competitor.”
Wix CEO, and founder, Avishai Abrahami is claiming otherwise, though.
“Yes, we did use the WordPress open source library for a minor part of the application (that is the concept of open source right?), and everything we improved there or modified, we submitted back as open source, see here in this link – you should check it out, pretty cool way of using it on mobile native. I really think you guys can use it with your app (and it is open source, so you are welcome to use it for free). And, by the way, the part that we used was in fact developed by another and modified by you.”
In reality, it all boils down to WordPress being ‘open source’. The CMS may be open source, and can be found on GitHub, but WordPress is published under GNU Public License. Mullenweg is claiming that the way Wix ‘borrows’ the mobile app code directly violates the GPL. Abrahami disagrees, though, citing examples of his site sharing open source information on GitHub as well.
Wix Steals WordPress Code
The problem with Wix using the open sourced code is that they released it under their private branding. Yes, they may submit open source content to GitHub with the best of them. However, using the code in their private branding is what could get them into hot water over the ‘Wix Steals WordPress Code’ fiasco.
“I think from what I know, it’s a pretty classic GPL violation,” said Matt Jacobs, vice president and general counsel at Black Duck software. Black Duck currently helps developers get insight into whether code under GPL license or other open source licenses has been incorporated into their code.
This is one of the reasons that many companies avoid using GPL-licensed software. Contaminating the intellectual property by taking ‘short cuts’ is a legitimate fear in the business. Abrahami and Wix might learn the lesson the hard way, unfortunately.