Copyright removal of free template GNU/GPL



Is it illegal to remove the copyright of free templates licensed under GNU/GPL, if the site is just for non-commercial purpose?

As an example the copyright below the footer of the site?

Footer copyright

To get more specific, here the template of my choice licensed under GNU/GPL

Joomla51 Free Template Oxygen

Stefan Sprenger

Posted 2014-04-22T21:05:09.773

Reputation: 210

GPL allows you to change the code as you like, as long as you do not remove internal credits to the creator. – Joomsavvy – 2014-04-23T01:20:40.657

Remove the copyright from where? Are you using the template on your website and it displays a copyright at the bottom of the front-end output? – David Fritsch – 2014-04-22T21:09:23.547

The bottom copyright on front-end – Stefan Sprenger – 2014-04-22T21:12:44.307

1It's really impossible to answer this question without checking the license and asking a lawyer. There are so many different scenarios for this and only a lawyer who does due diligence and proves you will be able to do it. – Chad Windnagle – 2014-04-22T21:13:49.947

Also the same with code copyright, as in 3rd party free phps or stylesheets? – Stefan Sprenger – 2014-04-22T21:16:36.560


I just checked in Joomla51 templates, and none of them seem to be "free", could you tell us the name of the template?

Edit: Just found a Free template, Oxigen is it that one? license in that is GNU/GPL so you should be able to remove the copyright, although not a nice move, counting they are giving it free ;)

– Johnnydement – 2014-04-22T21:21:03.203

I think in GNU/GPL it's not sure to remove the copyright. Maybe a "made by " or a "in association with" but not a copyright. Maybe then I should edit the post to ask for GNU/GPL license instead ? – Stefan Sprenger – 2014-04-22T21:24:03.190

1That line is showing in the template, so you can modify it, the copyright remains them, but as GPL you're free to modify it's looks – Johnnydement – 2014-04-22T21:30:33.287



Unless the author of the template made it a specific condition of downloading the template, you can remove any markup from the template, and that would include this-template-build-by-X links.

Andrew Eddie

Posted 2014-04-22T21:05:09.773

Reputation: 496

Joomla was GPL, now is....even more GPL to my understanding.

You can make any changes to the code you want, as long as you leave the original credit in the comments.

Here is the original reference to the GPL license:

– Joomsavvy – 2014-04-23T01:21:47.257

5That would be the most respectful thing to do, but even if they said you can't edit it, if they licensed it as GPL, you can do what you want with it, including modifying it under the terms of the GPL. – Don Gilbert – 2014-04-22T22:31:30.523

3The only problem I can think of even with a GPL template is it their backlink is the only copyright notice for the code. But even if that was the case, you could still just comment out that HTML and still be ok (because you aren't removing it, just hiding it from view). – Andrew Eddie – 2014-04-22T22:34:05.637

From my understanding, the copyright needs to be available upon distribution and a SaaS like delivery does not count as distribution. So as long as the notice remains some where in the code (PHP comment) it should be fine. – Rouven Weßling – 2014-04-22T22:51:10.700

The question used a downloadable template as the example. SaaS opens up another can of worms because they may impose additional conditions in order to use the service. – Andrew Eddie – 2014-04-22T22:54:45.907


As Don said be sure to first read the conditions of use. If your questions are not answered and there is still some doubt simply send a request to the creator asking permission for the removal of the copyright link. They may set some conditions for you to abide by. Asking will clear all doubts and future proof you and your client.


Posted 2014-04-22T21:05:09.773

Reputation: 31

The original question did say for "non-commercial" purposes. So I assume it would not be for a client site. – Deb Cinkus – 2014-04-23T23:03:44.870