James Farmer and WPMU DEV respond to accusations of copyright infringement

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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.

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Joost de Valk accuses WPMU DEV of copyright infringement, sends cease and desist

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Joost de Valk just last week accused WPMU DEV of copyright infringement of his WordPress SEO plugin, and has today followed up with a cease and desist letter.

The plugin in question is the WPMU DEV SEO plugin, currently available as a part of the $35/month subscription at WPMU DEV. A free “lite” version of the plugin is also available on WordPress.org.

de Valk’s claim is that their plugin copies large amounts of his own work:

This plugin had copied large chunks of code from my own WordPress SEO plugin. Not just a couple of lines, hundreds, probably even thousands of lines were used and all they changed was the namespace in most cases. They added some functionality, but not a whole lot.

What’s worth pointing out here, as de Valk does in his blog post, is that the complaint is not strictly the claim of copied and redistributed code. de Valk’s SEO plugin was released under the GPL, and that means others can do exactly that with the code. de Valk’s claim is that the code plugin is being redistributed without his original copyright notice.

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