Various questions about the license agreement

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MrFusion

New member
The license agreement says "Automated checks may be used to verify your License, including but not limited to installations reporting their usage to Us.". What kinds of usage & other information does the installation report to you? We don't want our members' personal data being surveilled, does XenForo do this? If you don't like what one of our members posted, can you shut down our installation?

Does the license allow us to modify the code so that it doesn't report anything to you? (You would still know the installation's URL.)

I completely understand you want to prevent people from giving away your product of course, but I'm concerned about the censorship & control issues in today's world.

Thanks!!
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
The only information we send is a unique license key, your forum URL, the version of the software you are running, the specific first party add-ons you have installed and their versions, and your PHP and MySQL version. We also include a count of the number of third party add-ons you have installed.

We have no interest whatsoever in your user data or your content. This is the minimum amount of info we need to perform a few license validity checks, provide update notifications and one click upgrades and very basic analytics (which you have to opt into and are anonymous).
 

Mouth

Well-known member
We have no interest whatsoever in your user data or your content.
For the purposes of the OP query, there's no interest for automated checks etc., but as a blanket statement saying no interest whatsoever in content, thats not entirely true.

The License Agreement says that we cannot use XF to "engage in or promote: illegal activity; any activity that would violate the rights of third parties; defamation, discrimination, harassment, hatred or harm of third parties." and that "XenForo Limited reserves the right to revoke Your License to use the Software should any of the terms of this Agreement be violated."
 

MrFusion

New member
The only information we send is a unique license key, your forum URL, the version of the software you are running, the specific first party add-ons you have installed and their versions, and your PHP and MySQL version. We also include a count of the number of third party add-ons you have installed.

We have no interest whatsoever in your user data or your content. This is the minimum amount of info we need to perform a few license validity checks, provide update notifications and one click upgrades and very basic analytics (which you have to opt into and are anonymous).

Okay, thanks! That sounds okay.

However...
For the purposes of the OP query, there's no interest for automated checks etc., but as a blanket statement saying no interest whatsoever in content, thats not entirely true.

The License Agreement says that we cannot use XF to "engage in or promote: illegal activity; any activity that would violate the rights of third parties; defamation, discrimination, harassment, hatred or harm of third parties." and that "XenForo Limited reserves the right to revoke Your License to use the Software should any of the terms of this Agreement be violated."
This is a good point they made. Nowadays terms like "hatred" can mean just about anything the prosecutor wants it to. So, in today's world of political nefariousness, maybe Xenforo owners should revise their license agreement a little bit, to just say something about how the licensees must abide by all local/etc laws and that Xenforo is not responsible for any content whatsoever etc. But the way it's worded right now, it seems like any quasi-governmental agency or NGO could use Xenforo as their proxy to revoke anyone's license that they wanted to. Just saying. I'm sure Xenforo would never want that to happen, but maybe you guys should just revise the license so that it can't happen, ... but you can still make yourselves not liable for anything as well. Anyhoo. I'm sorry the world is not such a simple place these days LOL.
 

Kilt

Member
As a former software lawyer, there are two different clauses of the XF license agreement being discussed here.

One says: "Automated checks may be used to verify your License, including but not limited to installations reporting their usage to Us." Chris D has described what technical information the bolded words refer to.

Mouth correctly points out that there is a second clause potentially relevant to the topic, which says: "You undertake to ensure that the Software is not used by You or others to engage in or promote: illegal activity; any activity that would violate the rights of third parties; defamation, discrimination, harassment, hatred or harm of third parties." This clause would indeed allow Xenforo to "revoke Your License" under section 4 of the license agreement if they consider the quoted language to be violated. Taken to the extreme, this would allow Xenforo to censor so-called "harmful" speech in a way similar to the way Facebook and Twitter are accused of doing by closing accounts. And this license language is the sole enforceable legal position of Xenforo, Ltd. on this subject, not any statement by a Xenforo employee on an internet forum.

I suspect this second clause is worded as it is on the advice of English lawyers because Xenforo, Ltd. is an English/Welsh corporation and the license agreement is controlled by English law, which is far more restrictive of free speech, under both criminal and civil law, than U.S. law is, for example. Whether anyone at Xenforo will ever monitor licensee websites for "hatred or harm" speech is a separate matter, which seems rather dubious to me as a practical matter, and not something I would ever worry about as an administrator.
 

Tracy Perry

Well-known member
Whether anyone at Xenforo will ever monitor licensee websites for "hatred or harm" speech is a separate matter, which seems rather dubious to me as a practical matter, and not something I would ever worry about as an administrator.
Odds are this would be much like IPS was with the My Militia site back during the hey-day of the 2020 elections for the U.S.
There were some very radical posts made (threats of violence) on that site that resulted in them being being reported to IPS and IPS then revoking their license for violating a very similar clause under their license agreement.... but My Militia continued to run their site on the IPS script, they simply could not update/renew it and IPS apparently decided it was not financially in their interest to pursue them in civil court.
 

FTL

Active member
@Kilt I guess XF could revoke the license in the most extreme of cases. However, that would do nothing to stop the site running, it would just stop them from updating the software. Also, in such an instance, the police would likely be taking an interest anyway and might be able to force the hosting company to take down the site, if they haven't done so already.

I guess the takeaway is that such an extremist website is likely to get taken down several other ways before XF had to get involved.
 

Sheldon

Well-known member
I'm not certain the issue most have is with the amount closed.... One, five, three thousand.

I think the issue is more to the fact that regardless of what one may or may not claim about harassment/discrimination/hatred etc or whatever, it is still opinion based in many cases [obviously not all before the pitchforks come out], and whose side will be chosen and why (as it pertains to revoking licenses).

I think most are worried that they are not in the clique, and a complaint is logged against them by one in said clique, they can kiss their license goodbye.
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
Look at the license which we revoked. Search for some … interesting … words, peruse through some of the threads on certain topics, take a look at the kind of press coverage said site - and its owner - has received over the years and the things their membership base have inflicted on real people and their friends and families and what the outcome of that bullying, abuse and harassment has been.

Would you want that associated with your company/brand?
 

Sheldon

Well-known member
Again, I didn't say anything about the forum that had it's license revoked. I actually couldn't care less who's account gets the wipe or license burned at the stake or whatever. I just posted what I feel many would like to say, but for their own reasons, won't.

This gives off a very Big Tech/Facebook/Twitter- ish feel to it.

Again, I'm not condoning any sites activities. That isn't the issue. It's the judge/jury/executioner part that is the kicker. And I do completely understand protecting your brand. 100%. I just see more issues than not down the road. Just my prediction. You guys get 15,000 emails from a group pissed at a community for something they disagree with, then what? They claim hate, racism, etc.... what's the next step.....?

It's a very slippery slope imo. That's all. I just feel like I really can't lose much by speaking freely as opposed to some other account holders.
 

Slavik

XenForo moderator
Staff member
Again, I didn't say anything about the forum that had it's license revoked. I actually couldn't care less who's account gets the wipe or license burned at the stake or whatever. I just posted what I feel many would like to say, but for their own reasons, won't.

This gives off a very Big Tech/Facebook/Twitter- ish feel to it.

Again, I'm not condoning any sites activities. That isn't the issue. It's the judge/jury/executioner part that is the kicker. And I do completely understand protecting your brand. 100%. I just see more issues than not down the road. Just my prediction. You guys get 15,000 emails from a group pissed at a community for something they disagree with, then what? They claim hate, racism, etc.... what's the next step.....?

It's a very slippery slope imo. That's all. I just feel like I really can't lose much by speaking freely as opposed to some other account holders.

Then your concerns are completely unwarranted internet sensationalism unless you are hosting a site which sole purpose is to harass / defame / harm / distress others and one we as a company would rather not be associated with.
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
You guys get 15,000 emails from a group pissed at a community for something they disagree with, then what?
Nothing ... unless it's a site which is similar to the ones which have had their licenses revoked; e.g. engages in prolonged and extreme hate and harassment, encourages people to commit suicide, organises visits to individuals houses to bully and harass them etc.

I can count on the fingers of one hand XF sites which have been involved with that sort of thing, so 99.99% of customers have absolutely nothing to worry about.
 

Sheldon

Well-known member
Nothing ... unless it's a site which is similar to the ones which have had their licenses revoked; e.g. engages in prolonged and extreme hate and harassment, encourages people to commit suicide, organises visits to individuals houses to bully and harass them etc.

I can count on the fingers of one hand XF sites which have been involved with that sort of thing, so 99.99% of customers have absolutely nothing to worry about.

And I agree. I don't recall many that have been, other than the nulled idiots out there, and perhaps one or two (from a distant, faded memory...lol).

I don't think there are many that have things to worry about, but I do feel as though you could see issues arise in sites who have two different beliefs. I mean, hell, you've seen the toxicity in US Politics.

Many call things the right side do, hate. Many call what the left does as harassments. That's what I am getting at. My questions. Concerns. Where does it begin and where does it end. It's difficult, and even more so for a company, to make decisions such as that.

By the way, appreciate the comment Brogan. Thanks for speaking with a bit or normalcy.
 

Sheldon

Well-known member
Then your concerns are completely unwarranted internet sensationalism unless you are hosting a site which sole purpose is to harass / defame / harm / distress others and one we as a company would rather not be associated with.

Sir,

My concerns are warranted, regardless. I own multiple licenses, so I do have concern. I don't appreciate the dismissive tone from which this reply comes from.

As posted above, with my attempt at having normal dialogue with another XF owner, there are quite a few questions that can arise, and rather quickly.

Best regards and wishes from this reply.

Non-agressively,

Sheldon
 
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