WordPress China Users, operating on their own terms

  • April 8th, 2007

UPDATE #2: A variant of the Grid Focus is now available for download. Feel free to visit the project page for details.

UPDATE #1: Comments on this article are closed. The WordPress Chinese Forums have implemented a stricter sense of intellectual property rights and are now informing users that ripping & redistributing personal work is not permitted.

I have always believed that WordPress was one of the most powerful CMS’s available to general internet users. What makes WordPress so great is the lenient learning curve. Even greater is the wealth of information and support provided by the WordPress community. Because WordPress is Open Source, and because there are so many devoted users, beginning and veteran users alike have access to some of the greatest public plugin & theme releases around. The key word here being public – freely available for download by the general public.

Although the selling points of WordPress includes such vast download resources via sites like the WordPress Plugins Directory or Unofficial Theme Viewer, there exists the idea of paid-for or personal / private projects. Paid-for or personal / private projects are not free.

WordPress Chinese Forums users decide for themselves

About a month ago I launched a personal project here on 5thirtyone.com – Grid Focus. Roughly 15 days after the fact, the following URL landed in my inbox which was a complete rip of the entire 5thirtyone.com domain. The owner was slowly making his way through the pages changing English text to Chinese.

Preview of Grid Focus ripped

5thirtyone.com downloaded and ripped in order to create a localized Chinese version – Click for larger version

I continued to discover a handful of additional Chinese domains including this site which all look to be doing the same thing – creating localized versions of a personal project without permission.

A user speaks out and explains

Thinking that there was little else for me to do – writing emails to hosts garnered no positive results, I was almost ready to say "forget it" – no one was listening and no one was going to stop. Yesterday I received the following comment from an individual who identified himself as a Chinese WP user with the following message:

I am a Chinese WP user. Let me explain something here. The truth is a Chinese web desinger “copy” this theme as a foreign WP user’s asking, and later published it, with the plugins, free, on the most popular Chinese WP forum. www.wordpress.org.cn

Well slap me silly! Yay! Chinese WP "designers" have decided that it was within their rights to rip an entire personal project and redistribute with plugins! It’s like knock-off Fendi or Gucci bags, only now it’s WordPress work.

Just because a website is running WordPress does not mean that everything on the site is open and freely available for the taking. If you’re reading this and you happen to have came here by way of the WordPress Chinese Forums, know that I am not at all pleased and will from here on out consider putting my ip-tables to good use.

Other identified projects

Browsing through the forum, I also noticed that the beautifully designed Kineda has a thread of its own here. I strongly encourage visitors or members of the forum to dissuade users from ripping and distributing this work as well.

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