WordPress China Users, operating on their own terms

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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Discuss - 54 Comments

  1. Thomas says:

    I vaguely remember a chinese saying, something like only the best are getting copied. So feel happy to belong to the best 😉

  2. Paul says:

    I think getting ripped is less like a compliment, more like a double-edged sword. Your design only gets ripped if it’s good, so that is a compliment of sorts, but it gets ripped, which is a bad thing. Personally, the thing that draws me the most to this web site is the design, and, here’s the weird part…

    I actually like it when Derek talks about his site design, or getting ripped, or redesigning, etc.

    I think these posts are more ‘intimate’ than talking about some big piece of software that I’ll probably never use, or some service that will be gone in less than a year.

    Judging by these comments, I would say that we all read this blog for a myriad of reasons.

    So Derek, keep doing what you’re doing. You’re doing it right.

  3. Kiley says:

    I agree with TS and Jack.
    Derek, your work speaks for itself, and everyone that needs to know that this is your design, knows it’s your design. No more really needs to be said.

    What content did any of these people really “steal” besides the images that you used? Which probably aren’t even your originally.

    Your design only gets ripped if it’s good

    Leave it at that, move on.

  4. Derek says:

    Content = design, about snippets, a photograph of me, anything that does not belong to anyone else but me (yes, the releases went beyond what is displayed on the landing). Hotlinking – using any files off of my servers that I created to serve up would be considered my content (unless otherwise noted in the stylesheet). If it was a leave it at that and move on type of scenario, you probably shouldn’t have commented. But since your definition of "content" is inaccurate, I had to add more.

    I made a mistake in that the real story here should be the fact that the WP China Forums – which have no affiliation with WordPress.org – are reusing images and branding of "WordPress" to create a legitimate looking WordPress resources website. Matt himself has admitted to having attempted to make contact in order to stop the use of official images considering the type of activity that is happening on those boards.

    The reality is that the site admins, as well as members of those boards, obviously show no care for or about what others outside of their world think. Focus should shift to Bluehost which serves the pages for the forum (based in the US).

  5. puNk!d says:

    [quote comment=”48223″]
    Just remember, at the end of the day, you don’t live in a communist country…
    [/quote]

    Hey,Taylor, dont get this involved with communists, you go too far over this issue.

    Derek, I’ve registered an account in WP China Forums,posted an reply on that thread, telling ’em to stop ripping.

  6. Kory Twaites says:

    Dang Derek, Sorry to hear about the MULTIPLE rips! I went over to the forums and threw the page through Google’s Translator (it’s not perfect but I get the general idea) and the sad thing about it is it’s actually advertised as a 5thirtyone.com theme… Yet people don’t stop to think about if it was open for others why wouldn’t you offer it on the site. Oh well, I hope Bluehost steps up and realizes what’s going on and takes some sort of action!

  7. Paul says:

    @ Kory – I’m sure that many people realise it isn’t an official 5thirtyone them but don’t care.
    They are probably happy to have a nice layout where they can then pop in and out there own graphics and content and try to ‘make it there own’. Oh the humanity!

  8. […] Derek 写了一篇文章“WordPress China Users, operating on their own terms”,建议大家都去看看顺便发表一下自己的看法。再推荐一个 WordPress […]

  9. Jason says:

    The following is the original post:

    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.
    http://www.wordpress.org.cn

    Many WP beginners(yes, beginners and teenagers), download it and install it as his/her first WP theme for its great design. 5thiryone’s design was very famous on the forum for the old themes, but now, it is much more famous than before for this theme.

  10. JOYCAPRI says:

    Sorry to hear that. But, please, call them “SOME of the wordpress China users”, for he does not represents all the Chinese users .

  11. David says:

    I myself is a Chinese WP user. I am sorry to hear about that.

    Some Chinese users, I have to admit, don’t have a strong sense of copyright. They just appreciate your wonderful theme and take it away without your permission.

    The forum you mentioned, I think, is not “official” enough. I’ve never visited that forum before. For some official sites, they may attach much more importance to the copyright rather than this one which lacks of strict regulations.

    Most users in that forum are not having a good understanding of English, I think. So they dont know that theme was from your projects and they focus on the theme itself.

    I noticed just now that someone has reminded the one who published the “creation” to contact you and explain it clear. Hopefully, there will be an official apology and he should stop doing that at once.

    If you want some help to contact that guy, I’d like to provide kind of “translation”, hopefully I could make myself clear.

    David

  12. […] 5thirtyone.com上面刷出文章:WordPress China Users, operating on their own terms。作者有点闷,自己的黑白模板被某CHINA USER拿去汉化,放出下载,而“a complete rip of the entire 5thirtyone.com domain”。 […]

  13. MonkeyKING says:

    Being a Chinese I could only say sorry about this, I tried to stop them, but failed.
    Well what I wanna say is that don’t see all Chinese as that one.

  14. OMG says:

    Sorry to hear that:(
    but, it’s a huge amount of wordpress users in China and not all of them do wrong things like that, not saying what a good guy i am, somebody did something wrong, but it not means “everybody” did.
    I have posted in that thread to ask them stop from doing such things, you should know many of Chinese wp users are blaming them, too.

  15. Andor says:

    I’m also the menber of Chinese WP forum,and also have seen this theme,but I know it is not free,so I do not use it on my blog.I respect the copyright.

  16. Undertypo says:

    Hie, I felt sorry about this.
    I am a Chinese myself, but from Malaysia.
    As you know, piracy and cut and paste seem like normal in China.
    Almost everything is being copied there.
    Wonder what the piracy organization in there working or not?

  17. SimpLife says:

    当版权之争再次延伸…

    中国向来版权的意识比较淡薄,在吃了不少亏之后,已经汲得了不少的教训,也在不断加强和完善相关的法律法规。但大的环境改变起来却是比较费劲,美国人对此似乎有些苦恼了,这不,准…

  18. Jason says:

    [quote comment=”48256″]Hie, I felt sorry about this.
    I am a Chinese myself, but from Malaysia.
    As you know, piracy and cut and paste seem like normal in China.
    Almost everything is being copied there.
    Wonder what the piracy organization in there working or not?[/quote]
    Hi buddy, I wonder if you have your own brain.

  19. Jason says:

    [quote comment=”48248″]Sorry to hear that. But, please, call them “SOME of the wordpress China users”, for he does not represents all the Chinese users .[/quote]
    You got it.

  20. LEMONed says:

    Being a Chinese myself, I FEEL SHAME!