GPL themes and plugins are software products for WordPress that are released under GPL. These are just like the standard ones that you simply find for WordPress.

GPL basically allows anyone not only to review the ASCII text file of WordPress but also to switch and extend it to satisfy their needs. The sole restriction is that if you share a modified version of GPL software, then it must even have a GPL license.

This is called ‘copyleft’, a play on the word ‘copyright’. It makes sure that free software remains free by using copyright law to need equivalent freedom offered by all modified versions.

For this reason, any work supported by WordPress inherits the GPL license. That includes‘ secondary works’ like WordPress themes and plugins.‘Copyleft’means that they need to even be released under a GPL license.

That means any WordPress theme or plugin that you simply download from the directory is GPL software, and indeed most marketable WordPress themes are released under an equivalent license.

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