Plugins and problematic licensing

Hey there,

While doing research for a plugin I’m developing, I came across a well-known and established plugin which is also available in the Obsidian Plugin Directory.

I explored the code repository on GitHub and noticed that it didn’t provide a LICENSE file, and only mentioned UNLICENSED in package.json. I opened an Issue on the repository, asking the owner to clarify what license it was released under. They told me they had not decided on that yet, but they were considering a license that would disallow commercial use.

I was mainly interested in the licensing as I wanted to fork the project and use it as a base for my own, but I realized that it’s very problematic that Obsidian doesn’t enforce permissive licenses for plugins in the official directory.

People who have Obsidian Commercial, who use it for commercial/work related tasks could be unknowingly violating a license if they, rightly, assume plugins are allowed to be used for commercial purposes.

I think the plugin review process should ensure that a plugin is released under a license like MIT or similar. It might also be necessary to go through the existing directory and make sure all plugins are released under an acceptable license.

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I think you are operating under the assumption that are plugins are/must be free and/or open-source. That is not the case.
There are (a few) plugins which are closed source and /or need a payment.

Plugins published in Obsidian must have a license (whatever they pick). So maybe this is an old plugin before we had this rule in place or before we had automatic checks. Nevertheless, you can DM @joethei info about the specific plugin and he’ll verify.