James Farmer, the CEO of WPMU DEV/Incsub, responded to Joost de Valk’s accusations and cease and desist in a blog post this weekend. In the post Farmer responds to de Valk’s claims, as well as to the comments on this WPCandy post and various statements on Twitter.
Farmer’s post includes their timeline of the events that transpired, beginning with WPMU DEV developer Ulrich Sossou creating the plugin for them:
We assign a new-ish developer – Ulrich Soussou [sic] – to the project. He provides a series of alphas and betas, we test, check the code on them and then publish a beta to WPMU DEV, this process continues, at one point later on a request is made to include a feature like the one on wordpress seo, he does it, it’s well received.
As it was already a beta, and it worked well, we didn’t double check his code at that time… big mistake!
Sossou has since apologized for his role in these events in a blog post on his site.
According to Farmer, shortly after being notified by de Valk of the issue, the code was “completely rewritten” and approved to be listed on WordPress.org. After this he says they notified de Valk by email and heard back:
Joost responds by email that we are ‘probably still violating [his] copyright’, he never tells us where or how though :/, and that ‘A cease & desist demanding you to take down the plugin is already on its way through a courier, to your US and AU addresses… I suggest you take it down and we talk after that and see how we solve this.’
After the news went up late on Friday, WPMU DEV’s Aaron posted a response which Farmer quickly removed because he wasn’t prepared to officially respond. Farmer also said:
Well, as far as I can see, we screwed up by trusting someone too much, and as soon as we discovered that that trust had been breached, we fixed it.
Then I, as the CEO, screwed up, by not emailing Joost about it once we’d sorted it to personally say sorry and grovel a bit (I’ve since done that, but he hasn’t responded)… although, in fairness to us, our CTO did exactly that right at the time, and given he’s in charge of code that kinda makes more sense.
Farmer goes on to question de Valk’s motives in sending the cease and desist and blogging about it, and to describe what WPMU DEV/Incsub employees do for the WordPress community.
You can read all of Farmer’s statements on the WPMU.org blog.