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How Do you Handle Forum Sales?

Discussion in 'XenForo Pre-Sales Questions' started by Qwest, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. Qwest

    Qwest Member

    I am in the middle of a really ugly situation with vBulletin and I'm wondering how the Xenforo support will handle it (because I know I'll likely end up selling a forum or two in the future not matter what platform I launch on).

    Please before anyone replies: I am not at all interested in a vb vs. xenforo discussion and I am not a disgruntled vb customer come here to post a thinly veiled jab at vb. I like vb, even vb4 and I also think I take some fault in the situation for mis-understanding (ok I didn't thoroughly read it) the license agreement. I just want to know xenforo's take and how I could expect a similar situation to be handled.

    So, I sold a vb forum 2 years ago. The new owner and I agreed that the license didn't come with the purchase and that I would keep my vb license registered to the domain for up to 6 months giving him time to buy his own. I kept it there for a year... I recently bought an upgrade to vb4 and for the first time in years I used the support ticket system for a few minor things (update to my newest email address, asked questions about Impex, etc). vBulletin told me they won't support my support tickets and suspended my license (locking me out from downloading anything: security updates, mods on vb.org, anything).

    They stated the site (the one I sold) was running on my license number but wasn't licensed and that I needed to take the site down or buy a new license. I explained that I no longer own the site, it's not on any server I control, and I don't own the domain. They didn't care, they stated that my license will remain suspended until the site is down or is licensed. I tried contacting the new owner, sent a take down request to their hosting provider, everything I could think of to do and got nowhere. I explained to vb that I'd done everything I could possibly do to be in compliance. They stated my license is still suspended. So now my license that I recently paid to upgrade to vb4 is suspended and useless to me. There is nothing I can do about it, vB knows there's nothing I can do about it, and their response is literally indifference.

    Would Xenforo handle this situation the same way?
  2. Dean

    Dean Well-Known Member

    This makes no sense to me.. If the site is using the license, and the license is in your name, and the license details in your account on vb.com is correct (url to that site), then that site is licensed.

  3. Brandon Sheley

    Brandon Sheley Well-Known Member

    Sorry but if you gave your vb files over, you are at fault here..
    trust no one ;)
    Darkimmortal likes this.
  4. Kevin

    Kevin Well-Known Member

    I think what is happening is that the OP sold his site (DomainA) and kept his license associated to DomainA for a year with the assumption that the new site owner would eventually make arrangements to get their own license. However, the OP must have changed his license details so that DomainA is no longer on file with his license. With that situation DomainA is still up & running with the OPs license information but DomainA is not associated to any valid licenses. As far as vB is concerned, DomainA is now a pirate site and the person responsible is the OP since it is his license being used.

    It isn't that unusual of a situation, forums are sold all the time without the license, but if the situation is what I described then it sounds like the OP should really try to get somebody higher up in the vB support system and try to make it clear to them that DomainA was sold and that he has no association to DomainA at all.
    gldtn likes this.
  5. Floris

    Floris Guest

    Selling a site without a license simply mean you give the database and it's up to the buyer to get a license for it.

    This counts for vBulletin, IP.Board, and XenForo.

    If you handed over file to grant them an instance to run. You can't run an instance.
    If you then run multiple instance on a license it's in the companies right to suspend it.

    We don't know the content of the support tickets, the leeway provided already (if any).
    But I know from history that during the Jelsoft days majority of the support team went out of their way to give the customer reasonable time and space to provide their point of view and discuss options. Before anything gets suspended.
    gldtn likes this.
  6. Jake Bunce

    Jake Bunce XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    License verification and enforcement with this kind of software is difficult. It is often a matter of record keeping. The vendor has a record of a license being installed on multiple sites and more than one of those sites is active, therefore the license is in violation and is suspended. The vendor only has control over the license so that is the extent of the enforcement. They have no way to verify or enforce a third party sale. They only have control over the license.

    There is always room for customer service but that would be handled on a case-by-case basis.

    It is best to avoid these situations. Be protective of your forum files and license information. If you sell the site then transfer the license with it.
  7. Qwest

    Qwest Member

    What Kevin said is exactly right. I removed the old site (the sold one) from my vb account. So at that point I basically revoked the new owner's right to run an instance of vb on that site as per our agreement.

    @Floris They let me know on August 7th there was a problem and suspended the license on August 20th. A fair amount of time to resolve the issue except there is literally nothing else I can do to resolve the issue :). They know this, and my frustration lies in the fact that they just don't care and aren't willing to work with me at all.

    Here's the last few replies.

    So as you can see, everything is pretty amicable. I'm obviously getting a little frustrated at this point and I've left the ticket alone while I still try unsuccessfully to get the new site owner to kill the site or get a license. It's just that they are giving me canned responses. The blurb in the last two sentences there in their quote is the 2nd time they pasted it into one of their replies. So I get the point. They refuse to budge. No need to try to reason with them any further. If I don't get this guy to take down the site I'm screwed.
  8. Floris

    Floris Guest

    You can always get professional legal advice asking if this is a common situation and if suspending your account had any merit if you have acted to your best intentions and to your upmost ability without malicious intentions.

    If you have shared the files with a third party you have basically broken the EULA where it clearly states (not just vB, most web apps) that as license holder you're responsible, the company isn't liable, and that you can't distribute the files.

    That said, if you have had a single instance running, pointed the license to it .. And then stopped running that instance and used it elsewhere. Informing the person you moved YOUR license elsewhere. He's using it without permission and a DMCA notification by vBS 'could' be the way to go. You have one instance, one license, and pointing to it. That someone else is using it unauthorized is then no longer a problem between you and that user - especially if you have informed the user.

    THAT said, you still have most likely broken the EULA where it stated you can't share it with others. The instances running should be solely your instances. If you sold the site but not the license, ... you shouldn't have given the files.

    I suspect that legal agent will see it that way as well, and I am sure vBS sees it in a way that benefits them, and I suspect that other companies might feel the same.
  9. Qwest

    Qwest Member

    OK thanks. Live and learn :)

    I won't sell another site without all licenses (forum software, themes, mods, etc). I was just curious as to whether or not this was a vb thing or a general rule among forum software companies. I've always been under the impression that the software provider goes after the person running the software illegally. Not the original license holder.

    I can understand their business logic behind doing it this way. However, where the logic breaks for me is, if the software vendor can't go after the offender, what makes them think a customer will be able to? I guess they could just end all the confusion and tie one license to one domain and be done with it.
  10. erich37

    erich37 Well-Known Member

    hard to understand why you want to keep the licence if you sell the forum?
  11. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    Because you want to protect yourself from fraudulent second-hand sale. I had this similar situation earlier this year, I bought MVC3Forum which was on vBulletin, I didn't get the license, but I did get the forum database. And so, I imported the database into xenforo.

    Always have a plan ready, if you have a plan b already in a pillow. USE IT!

    Oh, and to the OP, if I were you, I'd change the domain name on the record of license BEFORE you did anything with regards to changes. That's where vBulletin "noticed" your mistake.

    I don't like what vBulletin did to you, all it would take is a domain name change. Nothing more!
  12. Qwest

    Qwest Member

    Because it makes the sale go a lot smoother (vb is pretty anal about license transfers, to the point where they make it pretty obvious they'd rather not do them) -and- because you can sell the site for a bit less. Not a big deal when you're selling forums in the $xx,xxx range but when you're selling in the low $x,xxx and $xxx range it makes a difference to buyers.
  13. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    When I bought CODForums, and tried to get that particular vb license transferred over to my account, Steve was nice enough to let it go through. No attitude, no qualms, nothing. We worked together to reach a solution, and voila, I got my license transferred.
  14. Jake Bunce

    Jake Bunce XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    What kind of enforcement do you have in mind?
  15. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    To his credit, I agree with what he said in that quote, Jake.

    Honestly, the way the staff at vB handled Qwest's situation was more than just wrong - they didn't pay attention to the small details. They just straight up 'banned' the customer completely. What's worse is that when Qwest offered his own 'story' he gets treated like a non-customer. If I was in his shoes right now I'd fight for my license. And especially if they're in the wrong. I hope for Qwest's situation that he gets refunded the same way I did.
  16. Jake Bunce

    Jake Bunce XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    I agree too. It would be ideal if offenders could be punished. Do you have any ideas about how to go about that?
  17. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    Well, what they've been doing for years is going after the offenders' websites and taking it down with a DMCA notice to hosts, or flat out "de-activate" the offending license. But Qwest is the one who's ordered to take down the site in this instance. I'm raising my eyebrow here.
  18. Jake Bunce

    Jake Bunce XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    DMCA is one option. But it costs time and money and it doesn't always work.

    I actually submitted a proposal once for a DMCA-only piracy policy. Basically I made the point that illegal sites still have to be pursued with DMCA even if you revoke the associated license. Pirate URLs won't respect that their license has been revoked and must be forced to comply. Unknowing pirates will usually comply once they are notified via DMCA since they have no malintent. Either way it is more effective to pursue the individual URLs than to revoke the associated license.

    Revoking the license could still be good if it was clear that pirates were using it to download copies of the software, but it does nothing to stop external distribution of the software. Of course external distribution can be discouraged by revoking the associated license, thereby making the owner of the license responsible for the original leak.

  19. kkm323

    kkm323 Well-Known Member

    what happened if i someone find a copy of license and use it. that's give them the right to ban my licnese o_O:eek:
    this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard:(
  20. Jake Bunce

    Jake Bunce XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Are we talking about accidental distribution? How should the vendor handle that?

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