One of the great things about the GPL is the freedom that it grants to build upon other people’s work, you are free to take any GPL licensed theme, plugin or piece of software and fork it to extend it, customize it to your liking or use it as the base to create a new item entirely. The only rules are that you must credit the original creator and your forked item must also be distributed under the same GPL license. It’s a powerful concept and beautiful in its simplicity. Unfortunately, sometimes there are disagreements and accusations which happen – people spend a lot of time developing a piece of open source software which when released under the GPL anyone is free to take and use so you can get instances where paid software is given away free or changed and sold under a rebranded name etc. The thing to note is that while code under the GPL can be freely used, trademark law still applies to brand names so you couldn’t sell someone’s plugin using the same name, but you are free to change the name and any references in the source code and release it as something else. A very good website which started recently called WP & Legal Stuff, explains the concept of the GPL very thoroughly in
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