Registration Key Software For Wordpress Plugins

29 replies
Greetings Fellow Warriors,

I am looking for out of the box software for to generate and manage keys to unlock a couple Wordpress plugins I am developing. I did a bit of research and the results were not conclusive. It appears that there is no third-party product out there that does this. Need you guys to validate this or direct me towards a solution.

If this solution doesn't exist, I am looking for some sound advice to prevent my WSOs from being prolifically spread around BH forums. I understand that it is inevitable, just trying to mitigate it. I also understand that a membership helps, though it doesn't prevent someone from downloading the plugging and uploading it on a file sharing or torrent site.

I really appreciate your help and input.

Franklin
#key #plugins #registration #software #wordpress
  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    I've done a lot of looking around and would like to know the answer also. I even hired someone on a freelance board to develop it for a plugin and got taken royally. Nothing to show and payment of 50% paid.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6632355].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author asiancasanova
    I'll help you look around. But as far I'm concerned, I have not yet stumbled upon a plugin like that.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6632392].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author RexMapes
    If you do a search on Google there are several companies that show up. There are even some articles on self-programming protection keys. I can't begin to say which are good or bad. I can say though that some are expensive.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6632435].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
    Banned
    [DELETED]
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6632497].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author polarisanalytics
      Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

      Although it's not over complex to do, you have to have the right tools, including the ability to encrypt and pre-compile the PHP code. We've done this to our scripts, plugins and Windows software for years now.
      Thanks Big Mike...I met one of your guys in NYC a couple weeks back!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6632671].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    Hi

    Whether you protect your WP plugin or theme or not, it is perfectly legal for your customers to share it and copy it any way they like.

    By building a WordPress Theme or Plugin, using the WordPress platform to develop your software, you are bound by the terms of their license.

    The WP license is a transferable GPL license.

    Telling people they can't copy or share your software or theme is a violation of the WP GPL License you agree to when you develop on their platform.

    Graphic and design elements are also explicitly covered by the GPL if they are included in your plugin or theme.

    Themes like Thesis and Plugins like BackUp buddy require a paid login to download the latest version. This way 'second hand' buyers cannot upgrade to the latest version unless they buy a license that gives them login access.

    If you want to lock up your software, WordPress suggests developing on a different platform. There are many proprietary paltforms you can use to develop CMS's and website templates.

    WordPress is Open Source.

    For all the people who rant about violating Google/AdSense/Amazon ToS, few make note of the rampant violation of the WordPress ToS by makers of Themes and Plugins.

    I wonder how few WP developers actually read the license they agree to when they release their product.

    WordPress › About » License

    I know. This information is not popular in a forum where profiteers make $$$ on the back of a healthy open-source community.

    Mahlon
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6632688].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

      I know. This information is not popular in a forum where profiteers make $$$ on the back of a healthy open-source community.

      Mahlon
      Yeah ... like that guy Mullenwag ... a millionaire probably a few times over. The graphics and Photoshop files of Themes can be and are usually are copyrighted by developer.

      The profiteers that make $$$ on the back of a healthy open-source community are the ones that grab everyone's themes and plugins and sell them as their own, abusing the "spirit" of GPL licensing and open source.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6632987].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author onSubie
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        Yeah ... like that guy Mullenwag ... a millionaire probably a few times over. The graphics and Photoshop files of Themes can be and are usually are copyrighted by developer.

        The profiteers that make $$$ on the back of a healthy open-source community are the ones that grab everyone's themes and plugins and sell them as their own, abusing the "spirit" of GPL licensing and open source.
        Yes, I have no problem paying for a theme or plugin. I have no problem if you want to lock it with a license key or server authentication. I have purchased and use plugins that are 'protected' by both methods.

        I'm just noting that many people may not even realize that they are bound by the WordPress GPL license and that the license is transferable.

        A couple of years ago, WordPress came close to suing DIY Themes/Thesis over the way they were playing fast and loose with the GPL.

        Inevitable: WordPress To Sue Thesis Founder | The Blog Herald

        It never got as far as any actual legal filings, but I think DIY backed down and changed their licensing model. I can't recall.

        WordPress offers Woo Themes as an example of a business that complies with the GPL. I also believe a copy of the GPL is explicitly included with the Backup Buddy plugin (as another example).

        I think it's funny, when someone comes on the forums and says "I built a clone of Tweet Attacks, how can I market it?", he gets slammed into next week and eventually banned for daring to suggest a tool that could/maybe/probably violates Twitter ToS depending how it is used.

        But when someone comes in and says "I need help violating the WordPress GPL ToS" they get lots of "helpful" advice and many "I want to learn that too", replies.

        And yes, someone "rebranding" your plugin/theme as their own is a risk. But then, since they didn't actually build it, they would have trouble giving good support or fixing bugs.

        There are ways of "protecting" your work that do not violate the WP GPL.

        Providing access to a "members area" for training, support and updates would be the easiest (I think). I believe it is also the model recommended by WP. This is how BackUp Buddy and (now) DIY Themes do it.

        I worry about the plugins I have that authenticate with a server. Will they be useless when the vendor moves on and the authentication servers go down?

        Personally, I do pay for all my WP Plugins and Themes and I do not share them with others. And despite the "legal" right to (almost) do what you want once you own a WP product, I think it is "ethically" important to support developers by not stealing/sharing their work.

        But I also think many developers are not aware of the GPL they implicitly agree to when they develop a WP product and I think it is important to read it and understand it so you know the possible quagmire you can find yourself in.

        Mahlon
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6633142].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
          Banned
          Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

          It never got as far as any actual legal filings, but I think DIY backed down and changed their licensing model. I can't recall.

          WordPress offers Woo Themes as an example of a business that complies with the GPL. I also believe a copy of the GPL is explicitly included with the Backup Buddy plugin (as another example).

          And yes, someone "rebranding" your plugin/theme as their own is a risk. But then, since they didn't actually build it, they would have trouble giving good support or fixing bugs.

          There are ways of "protecting" your work that do not violate the WP GPL.

          Providing access to a "members area" for training, support and updates would be the easiest (I think). I believe it is also the model recommended by WP. This is how BackUp Buddy and (now) DIY Themes do it.

          I worry about the plugins I have that authenticate with a server. Will they be useless when the vendor moves on and the authentication servers go down?

          Personally, I do pay for all my WP Plugins and Themes and I do not share them with others. And despite the "legal" right to (almost) do what you want once you own a WP product, I think it is "ethically" important to support developers by not stealing/sharing their work.

          But I also think many developers are not aware of the GPL they implicitly agree to when they develop a WP product and I think it is important to read it and understand it so you know the possible quagmire you can find yourself in.

          Mahlon
          Then we're not far apart if at all in our opinions. I pay for all my themes and plugins and even developer's licenses if they are offered. I don't mind supporting the hard work that people put into tools that help me in my business, and it's true ... the ones that just distribute other people's themes for their own profit cannot really offer much in the way in support and upgrades. That would be too much like work and if they were into work, they would develop their own stuff.
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6633250].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author rbeckwith
      Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

      Hi

      Whether you protect your WP plugin or theme or not, it is perfectly legal for your customers to share it and copy it any way they like.

      By building a WordPress Theme or Plugin, using the WordPress platform to develop your software, you are bound by the terms of their license.

      The WP license is a transferable GPL license.

      Telling people they can't copy or share your software or theme is a violation of the WP GPL License you agree to when you develop on their platform.

      Graphic and design elements are also explicitly covered by the GPL if they are included in your plugin or theme.

      Themes like Thesis and Plugins like BackUp buddy require a paid login to download the latest version. This way 'second hand' buyers cannot upgrade to the latest version unless they buy a license that gives them login access.

      If you want to lock up your software, WordPress suggests developing on a different platform. There are many proprietary paltforms you can use to develop CMS's and website templates.

      WordPress is Open Source.

      For all the people who rant about violating Google/AdSense/Amazon ToS, few make note of the rampant violation of the WordPress ToS by makers of Themes and Plugins.

      I wonder how few WP developers actually read the license they agree to when they release their product.

      WordPress › About » License

      I know. This information is not popular in a forum where profiteers make $$$ on the back of a healthy open-source community.

      Mahlon

      Every heard of Automattic ? They are Wordpress and they have plenty of commercial products they sell which are WP plugins AND LOCKED.

      Rod
      Signature
      Rod Beckwith - JV, Super Affiliate & Product Expert
      Want to JV With Me? PM or goto http://mrjv.com
      Get HOT FREE Products Here: http://freewsos.com
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7850052].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
        Mahlon, you're confusing themes with plugins. Big difference. This thread is about plugins.

        If you are sharing sold plugins thinking they are all GPL you are asking to be sued.

        A "plugin" is a separate software program, could be virtually anything, made accessible in some manner from the WP admin control panel. That does not invoke the WP GPL license or legal debate seen with themes.

        Here is how it works ....

        - The owner of the WordPress software has licensed the software for others to use under the GPL. That is an exercise in copyright, not an abandonment of copyright.

        - One of the rights under copyright is to make what is called a derivative work. This would essentially be a program using copyrighted WordPress code, perhaps making some modifications to the copyrighted code.

        - If a plugin is using WordPress code for base functionality then it could be deemed a derivative work and also be subject to the GPL. This is where the licensing issue for themes is involved.

        - Plugins, most in my view, however, do not use copyrightable WordPress code and are not derivative works. This is why your posts broadly suggesting all plugins are GPL are incorrect.

        - If the plugin author uploads their plugin to WordPress.org for downloads and automatic updates via the WordPress admin interface, as a condition for using this service the plugin is supposed to be GPL compatible. Note that uploading a plugin to WordPress.org does not make it GPL. It only means it is supposed to be GPL or will get kicked off the website.

        .
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7850672].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author onSubie
          Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

          Mahlon, you're confusing themes with plugins. Big difference. This thread is about plugins.

          Thanks for the clarification. I was going by the Wordpress GPL which explicitly states plugins and themes.

          "Part of this license outlines requirements for derivative works, such as plugins or themes. "

          "There is some legal grey area regarding what is considered a derivative work, but we feel strongly that plugins and themes are derivative work and thus inherit the GPL license. If you disagree, you might want to consider a non-GPL platform..."

          WordPress › About » License

          As I said, I have no problem with people protecting their work and trying to prevent "unauthorized copies".

          I'm just saying if their work actually is "stolen", they may have a difficult and expensive time getting redress in the courts.

          So it is just something people should consider before investing $100K in development costs.
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7851027].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author meepmeep
          As I understand it, any PHP code that is developed for Wordpress hooks into their function calls and is integrated into the Wordpress platform. Therefore, they're derivative work. (Keep in mind that this hasn't been tested in the courts.)

          But some good news is that Wordpress doesn't consider HTML, CSS, or JavaScript to be derivative work, since they are served up by the web server and does not hook into Wordpress.

          That means plugin developers can release their work under a dual license (like the Thessis theme). The PHP files are covered under GPL while the static files (i.e. CSS, HTML, JavaScript, images) are under their own license.

          So under this type of license, if someone wants to legally distribute (or even sell) someone's plugin, they must replace all the static files.
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7852441].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author onSubie
            Originally Posted by meepmeep View Post

            But some good news is that Wordpress doesn't consider HTML, CSS, or JavaScript to be derivative work, since they are served up by the web server and does not hook into Wordpress.

            That means plugin developers can release their work under a dual license (like the Thessis theme). The PHP files are covered under GPL while the static files (i.e. CSS, HTML, JavaScript, images) are under their own license.

            Actually Wordpress disagrees with that.

            That's the problem they have with Theme Forest. Theme Forest uses a split license to separate the PHP components and the JavaScript, CSS and Image components.

            Theme Forest argues (as do others) that HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Design Elements and Images are "outside" the PHP/WP components covered by the GPL and can be protected separately.

            Wordpress feels everything that makes up a theme is covered by the GPL.

            Wordpress and Theme Forest are digging in on their respective views and the only people hurt so far seem to be the theme developers.


            WordPress.org Bans Themeforest Members from WordCamp

            A House Divided: WordPress.org, Envato, and GPL Battle - WP Daily


            Wordpress had a big fight with DIY Themes Thesis. Wordpress' Matt Mullenweg threatened to take Thesis to court but it never went as far as actual litigation.

            WordPress And Thesis Go To Battle. Mullenweg May Sue. - The Next Web

            Thesis uses split licensing now but I don't think that has appeased Wordpress.

            My personal views have mellowed quite a bit. I come from a Computer Science background and am a big proponent of the Open Source and GPL models.

            I used to be more on the Wordpress side, but now I am more in the middle.

            BUT I do think it is important for developers to be aware of the issues and risks.

            Many Wordpress developers have received rude awakenings only AFTER they have spent 100K and a year of their life developing a plugin only to find little recourse when it gets "ripped off".

            This happened with the $597 WP autoblog plugin "Build A Blog Store (BABS)" that was copied and remarketed as WPBlogmatic for $97.

            (WPBlogmatic was quickly, and rightly, banned here on WF)

            B.A.B.S. was a powerful plugin and suddenly someone is selling an almost exact clone (based on the same code) for 1/6 the price.

            The original B.A.B.S. author cried "theft" and created a web page "outing" the thief and theatening legal action, but in the end it went nowhere.

            Probably because going to court in the murky grey soup of the WP GPL was not worth the time and money it would have cost.

            Mahlon
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7854716].message }}
          • Profile picture of the author GuruGazette
            Originally Posted by meepmeep View Post

            As I understand it, any PHP code that is developed for Wordpress hooks into their function calls and is integrated into the Wordpress platform.
            Sorry but something can be compatible with Wordpress but not developed for. One of my best "plugins" does not require WP to run. It does all it's work on it's own and plays nice with WP for user convenience. The only file that actually talks to WP just puts pretty buttons and easy configuration settings into the WP admin area. If someone were to swipe that file they'd have a worthless plugin. Swiping the work files themselves would be a huge potential legal issue.

            With that said, this is a really common lack of understanding, so I keep the headaches away by keeping my scripts and tools proprietary these days. If I were inclined to release anything new, I'd probably keep a key work file on my own server and force the plugin to call it when needed.
            {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7855627].message }}
            • Profile picture of the author meepmeep
              Originally Posted by GuruGazette View Post

              Sorry but something can be compatible with Wordpress but not developed for.
              You are correct. PHP code can be compatible with Wordpress but not developed for it. And I never implied that the two were equivalent.
              {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7860420].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author javari
    So, this makes all the developer licences for flipping a WP site with plugins unnecessary?
    That must be a scary thought for some developers...
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6632903].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author OrangeBull
      It is a question mark?

      The GPL does talk about derivative works, and it is hard to say a theme isn't a derivative work, but it is hard to say that it is a derivative work too. I couldn't give you a definitive answer as a IP attorney who kind of understands the programming environment and the law.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6632972].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author OrangeBull
        The GPL does treat separate works, which could mean plugins that take nothing from the original work as separately licenseable works independent of the GPL'd work. In other words a plugin could potentially be copyright of the author.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6633011].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author onSubie
          Originally Posted by OrangeBull View Post

          The GPL does treat separate works, which could mean plugins that take nothing from the original work as separately licenseable works independent of the GPL'd work. In other words a plugin could potentially be copyright of the author.

          Yes, WordPress addresses this. As far as I know, it has never been tested in court.

          WordPress is of the opinion that if you use their platform, you must comply with their license.

          There is some legal grey area regarding what is considered a derivative work, but we feel strongly that plugins and themes are derivative work and thus inherit the GPL license. If you disagree, you might want to consider a non-GPL platform such as Serendipity (BSD license) or Habari (Apache license) instead. -WordPress

          In any case, the OP's question was how to minimize 'piracy' of his product.

          I think the best way is to provide a paid member login for access and updates. No managing licenses, no maintaining authentication servers and no violation of the GPL.

          By the way setting a "minimum resale price" (as some 'developer' licenses do) is an FTC violation, not a WP ToS violation. This falls under 'price fixing' schemes.

          Mahlon
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6633185].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author sociallyfirst
      Originally Posted by javari View Post

      So, this makes all the developer licences for flipping a WP site with plugins unnecessary?
      That must be a scary thought for some developers...
      I was thinking the same thing Javari
      Signature
      Ask me how you can get REAL Traffic, Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers, and Youtube Views with SociallyFirstCALL US TODAY: 1-800-275-9507
      Contact Us Online: http://sociallyfirst.com/Contact
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6633007].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author seanster
    Great debate, I see both sides, will be interesting to see what happens with the owner of Thesis.

    I think membership is the way to go. But if anyone knows of any quick scripts for this
    license key or server authentication? Its a small PHP script, but like to see it.

    IF anyone is going to do the latter, then use the email as the key, people don't like storing keys. Email is a key people can remember.
    Signature
    Snaplitics, Inc. - The Newest & Easiest Website & Landing Page Builder
    SnapPlayer - Users can SNAP to Key Points in your Video
    TheJumpStarter - Catchy, Brandable Domain Names!

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6651623].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Robert Bridgen
    This could help I have a membership site and when I sell a membership I have to put in the domain name it is registered to. If they use the software on another website it will not work unless they purchase the unlocked version. This software can be purchase around the internet
    Hope it helps
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6689906].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author david carr
      This is the closest I've come to finding a registration key system for wordpress:

      PHP Scripts - AutoUpdater Script for Themes and Plugins | CodeCanyon

      it has:

      Envato License Checker

      This will not only ensure that buyers or clients who wish to keep up-to-date will need to have a valid license, but it even has a built-in lock system to prevent users from abusing shared licenses.

      Im sure if enough warriors buy it then he would create extra functionality we need

      Regards
      Dave
      Signature

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6689982].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author alexts
    Originally Posted by polarisanalytics View Post

    Greetings Fellow Warriors,

    I am looking for out of the box software for to generate and manage keys to unlock a couple Wordpress plugins I am developing. I did a bit of research and the results were not conclusive. It appears that there is no third-party product out there that does this. Need you guys to validate this or direct me towards a solution.

    If this solution doesn't exist, I am looking for some sound advice to prevent my WSOs from being prolifically spread around BH forums. I understand that it is inevitable, just trying to mitigate it. I also understand that a membership helps, though it doesn't prevent someone from downloading the plugging and uploading it on a file sharing or torrent site.

    I really appreciate your help and input.

    Franklin
    I used SPBAS Business Automation Software | PHP Licensing, Client Management to implement licensing scheme for my commerical plugin. It integrates seamlessly with warrior plus and jvzoo
    Signature
    DomainRail is WordPress Plugin for displaying millions of expired domains on your site and earning revenue from affiliate registrations.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7854730].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author atwellpub
    Originally Posted by polarisanalytics View Post

    Greetings Fellow Warriors,

    I am looking for out of the box software for to generate and manage keys to unlock a couple Wordpress plugins I am developing. I did a bit of research and the results were not conclusive. It appears that there is no third-party product out there that does this. Need you guys to validate this or direct me towards a solution.

    If this solution doesn't exist, I am looking for some sound advice to prevent my WSOs from being prolifically spread around BH forums. I understand that it is inevitable, just trying to mitigate it. I also understand that a membership helps, though it doesn't prevent someone from downloading the plugging and uploading it on a file sharing or torrent site.

    I really appreciate your help and input.

    Franklin
    Hi Frankin

    I've very happy with Easy Digital Downloads:
    https://easydigitaldownloads.com/

    We use it in our marketplace model with WordPress › WordPress Landing Pages « WordPress Plugins

    If I didn't already have a custom licensing system with my other plugins I'd probably be satisfied with using EDD for those as well. And also another 2cents, we used Stripe.com instead of Paypal for allowing payment processing onsite instead of offsite (better customization options) and so far it's been a nice experience.

    EDD's extendable and has a very active developer base so new extensions are popping up all the time. It's also a good example of how to develop plugins and monetize them through extension addons rather than the pay to own model. With a marketplace model we can leverage the gravity of the WordPress.org repository.

    Hope this helps!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7856934].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author mpettigr
    PHPMyLicense is a beautiful low cost licensing system and really easy to use...it will encode and license your scripts to a specific domain. It also has a built in shopping cart and creates a license for a customer automatically on checkout.

    We use it for our own software products some of which are very expensive and we need protected at all costs.

    You can find out more here: PHPMyLicense Licensing System

    I do hope this helps,

    Mike
    Signature
    Transformation and Empowerment - Be Inspired, Motivated and Empowered. High content videos, podcasts and courses to help you to transform your life. Signup now for "The Keys to Empowernent" - a FREE 4 part Video Course that reveals the exact steps that will lead you to a life of happiness, success and fulfilment.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7870498].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author rbeckwith
    BTW.....I am having a licensing system worked right now....will be looking for some beta testers soon...please PM me with requests.

    Something nice for this thread would be a comprehensive list of licensing systems

    Thanks
    Rod

    PS - Not to toot my own horn, but I do have one for PC applications below in my .sig. 8) that has been online since 2006
    Signature
    Rod Beckwith - JV, Super Affiliate & Product Expert
    Want to JV With Me? PM or goto http://mrjv.com
    Get HOT FREE Products Here: http://freewsos.com
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7870778].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ProEFI
    You can also check out ActivateWP WordPress Plugin Licensing System. It's an application I released a couple of months ago.

    Regards,
    Andrew
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7891757].message }}

Trending Topics