Troy Dean, co-founder of Video User Manuals, has written an open letter to the WordPress community accusing Incsub, LLC, the company behind WPMU DEV, of copyright infringement. Dean claims in the letter that Incsub is selling a plugin on WPMU DEV that is “based on videos and scripts” from the Video User Manuals plugin.
Dean explains in the letter, which you can read in full on the Video User Manuals website, that there was a temporary licensing agreement for WPMU DEV to use their videos for the WPMU DEV community, which is a paid subscription based community. Dean says that they decided to not renew the three month agreement after WPMU DEV offered the videos for free to those that “liked” their Facebook page, and responded slowly and unprofessionally to Dean’s requests for it to stop.
According to the open letter, WPMU DEV continued to utilize the scripts, with reshot screencasts and voiceovers, after the licensing agreement ended. Dean attempted to negotiate a new license agreement for the scripts alone, but that Incsub’s CEO, James Farmer, told Dean the scripts would be replaced with the release of the new version of WordPress this November (3.3).
Video User Manuals sent a cease and desist letters to Incsub under advisement from their lawyers that Incsub’s failure to recieve proper licensing for the scripts was a violation of the “Copyright Act 1968“.
Since this cease and desist letter was sent, WPMU DEV has released its own video plugin, “Integrated Video Tutorials”, without responding to the letter (according to Dean). I took a couple of screenshots of the sales pages of the Integrated Video Tutorials plugin, which indeed shows some URLs from Video User Manuals’ domain, indicating that the Video User Manuals material was utilized in some way for Integrated Video Tutorials.
Dean did not say what their next step will be, legally or otherwise, beyond the letter, but says that “We [Video User Manuals] feel the behaviour of Incsub LLC is not only illegal, but also not in the spirit of the open source community.”
WPCandy readers may also recall another legal back and forth involving Incsub, LLC a while back, that involved the WordPress SEO plugin by Joost de Valk. One thing I would personally note about this circumstance compared to the previous is that both Video User Manuals and Incsub are located in Australia. In my absolutely unworthy opinion, this could prove more interesting legally, given a lack of international complications.
We will attempt to keep you informed of any further significant developments to this story.