Can I use premium plugins and themes to make them available in my Multisite?

Hello! I have a buddypress/multisite and I have many premium themes and plugins available for members to use. I do not charge for site creation or theme and plugin use. But it seems that GPL does not apply to all files especially images and CSS.

If I cannot offer these themes and plugins to members, what about free themes and plugins?

Thx, Donald.

  • wpcdn
    • Syntax Hero

    It depends on the license for each item. Some items are "split GPL," where (as you mentioned), not all components are GPL. Others are completely GPL (WooThemes, StudioPress, Themify, etc.).

    When using any themes, be careful if you don't want your users to be able to run their own JavaScript. Some themes have "header code" and "footer code" sections as well as other text fields where users may be able to add JavaScript and such. You'll have to sanitize those parts of the themes. There may be other work involved, for example removing theme support links that the multisite members don't have access to.

  • Donald McIntyre
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    Thx wpcdn! I have made available to members of my multisite the majority of the themes I have bought from BizzThemes, ElegantThemes, and at Themesforrest. Also I have included nearly all WPMU DEVThemes (there is one package that has 133 themes) My concern is if it is illegal to make them available to users because they (or I) should pay the licenses. e.g. "Business Blog" belongs to WPMU DEV, but I have made it available for my members. If 100 members use it under my Multisite am I infringing copyrites or intelectual property, even if I don´t sell them or charge for their usage?


  • wpcdn
    • Syntax Hero

    My pleasure.

    I wouldn't recommend using anything from ThemeForest. They specify that their themes can only be used on WordPress multisite if you pay for an extended license, which is 50x the cost of a regular license. So a single theme could run as much as $2000. There are some terms in their license which imply that GPL might override their license stipulations, but I'd rather not take a chance. As great as some of the stuff on ThemeForest is, there are plenty of other good themes out there. And if you're looking for ThemeForest style and quality, you can find some past TF sellers who've gone out on their own and now offer GPL themes directly (, and the upcoming, to name a few).

    If 100 members use it under my Multisite am I infringing copyrites or intelectual property, even if I don´t sell them or charge for their usage?

    It's not really a matter of whether you're charging or not, it's more about what the license allows. A theme that is fully GPL essentially has no restrictions in that regard, and can be made available via WordPress multisite as you see fit.

  • DavidM
    • DEV MAN’s Mascot

    Brilliant explanation Mark, couldn't have said it better! And by the way, I really love what the folks at mysitemyway have done. They've provided the web community with a massive archive of freely usable resources that are simply incredible.

    And on the note of theme licensing, that's one of the things I really love about WPMU DEV, that not only the plugins, but the themes can be used as such in a multisite environment without accruing extra licensing fees. It's an outrageous deal, in my opinion! :slight_smile:

Thank NAME, for their help.

Let NAME know exactly why they deserved these points.

Gift a custom amount of points.