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  • Run in with piracy department.

    I'm sorry if this is the wrong section, please move it if it doesn't belong here.

    First let me say that I think vBulletin is the best forum solution available and recommend it to all my clients. I even own a owned license for my large community. You all should note i'm not one to go around ranting about everything and I rarely voice my dislike on the internet because its pretty pointless. However, I am currently an angered webhost that got his entire server disconnected this morning thanks to vBulletins piracy department. I was entirely unaware that the client was supposedly running a pirated copy of the software on my server naturally. My server was offline for 5 hours before I was aware that there was an issue with it.

    Now i'm not going to rant about my server being unplugged being vBulletins fault entirely, apparently my company is very jumpy, much like VB's piracy's department. Their haste is being dealt with in the form of me finding a new company to host my clients with.

    The site in question used to be owned by another customer of mine who originally bought the license. He never told me prior to this that the piracy department had been in contact with him but today I was informed the same guy that reported me to the datacenter had sent him emails previously. He told the guy if he had any issues to contact the new website owner or to contact me, the host of the site. He told me he boldly gave the guy my email address, and all he had to do was email it and I would have resolved the issue in a matter of minutes by suspending the site till I spoke with the client. NEVER did I get such email.

    He instead went directly to my server company and got me taken offline. I think that step was over kill because I wasn't contacted in the first place. Let me note that my email address is even on the domains whois.

    After I got my server turned back on, I asked the client to call vBulletin and have them send me an email confirming the license was valid. He told me they didn't appear interested in talking to him, told him that it was my fault my server got unplugged (??), and told him to tell me to contact them. Gosh thanks, I just asked for a simple email to confirm it was safe to restore his service before this man with a mission got me whacked again.

    So I went and sent in a ticket to confirm the license was valid. I was told within 3 minutes the site had a valid license. Now let me note that within this time, the client NEVER purchased or renewed his license. It was a leased license renewed THIS APRIL. It's the same one he apparently got me disconnected for it being expired. Are you people serious?!

    I have been a dedicated VB customer for years but myself and the client in question feel very shafted by this. I would hope before your piracy company goes throwing himself ON THE PENALTY OF PERJURY as the lovely email to my datacenter said, he would have valid records. I also think you guys shouldn't go to datacenters before contacting the 2nd layer host who leases the server. I just have to ask, how much are you guys paying this jumpy man? He seems to take his job just a bit too seriously...

    I'll keep my license for my community and the client has agreed to keep his, but I won't be recommending vBulletin anymore. The guys name is Katarzyna Hodowana, he should be fired if Jelsoft doesn't support this sort of misrepresentation.

  • #2
    I remember the call. Actually, I most certainly wanted to solve the issue with the customer at the time.

    Here is the reason there was an issue with their license. When their license expired in April, they did not renew it. They purchased a new license. All licenses require a URL to be associated with them as stated in our license agreement. No URL was associated with this new license. Had the license been assigned to a URL after purchase, this issue wouldn't have occurred. Now, I am not saying it is the customer's fault here either. There is room to make things more clear on our part and I did bring that up to my coworkers immediately after the phone call so we can affect changes in the future.

    When the anti-piracy team looked at the report, they did a search for the domain name of the site in question and the database returned that there were no valid licenses for that domain. When I looked at the customer's account, I could see that he had two licenses. One expired for his domain and one unassigned license purchased in April the day after his previous license expired. Since the new license was unassigned, his site did not have a valid license until about 4:55 PDT today, after his call and I asked him to enter the URL and then forward the license number to his hosting company (obviously you) so it could be forwarded back to the anti-piracy team as the quickest way to get the issue resolved and to get his site back on. Once he assigned the URL, which happened immediately after his phone call and before your email, his site became valid. However is original license is still expired and cannot be used.

    I did not say it was your fault. What I said is "I don't know why they shut down the entire server when they could have simply shut down the single site." Obviously, there was an issue with your provider shutting down your server which you resale to others. Information that wasn't known. Though your provider could have forwarded the notice and simply had you shut down the single site as well.
    Translations provided by Google.

    Wayne Luke
    The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud customization and demonstration site.
    vBulletin 5 Documentation - Updated every Friday. Report issues here.
    vBulletin 5 API - Full / Mobile
    I am not currently available for vB Messenger Chats.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Wayne Luke View Post
      I remember the call. Actually, I most certainly wanted to solve the issue with the customer at the time.

      Here is the reason there was an issue with their license. When their license expired in April, they did not renew it. They purchased a new license. All licenses require a URL to be associated with them as stated in our license agreement. No URL was associated with this new license. Had the license been assigned to a URL after purchase, this issue wouldn't have occurred. Now, I am not saying it is the customer's fault here either. There is room to make things more clear on our part and I did bring that up to my coworkers immediately after the phone call so we can affect changes in the future.

      When the anti-piracy team looked at the report, they did a search for the domain name of the site in question and the database returned that there were no valid licenses for that domain. When I looked at the customer's account, I could see that he had two licenses. One expired for his domain and one unassigned license purchased in April the day after his previous license expired. Since the new license was unassigned, his site did not have a valid license until about 4:55 PDT today, after his call and I asked him to enter the URL and then forward the license number to his hosting company (obviously you) so it could be forwarded back to the anti-piracy team as the quickest way to get the issue resolved and to get his site back on. Once he assigned the URL, which happened immediately after his phone call and before your email, his site became valid. However is original license is still expired and cannot be used.

      I did not say it was your fault. What I said is "I don't know why they shut down the entire server when they could have simply shut down the single site." Obviously, there was an issue with your provider shutting down your server which you resale to others. Information that wasn't known. Though your provider could have forwarded the notice and simply had you shut down the single site as well.
      Wayne,

      Thanks for your reply. I'm glad to see someone addressing this issue and helping me understand why it occurred and that you guys are aware of it so it won't happen again and perhaps making small changes so it doesn't happen to someone else. That was all I wanted when I made the post here to be honest.

      The customer informed me that he purchased a new license under the same account and did not renew the other one. I assume that's why the previous site owner was contacted and not the new one, because the license was still in his name. He did not mention to me the issue with the URL not being entered on the license form so I apologize for some of the things I threw at you guys here. I do hope you can understand why I got upset over it though. I strive for 100% uptime for all my clients and this really ticked me off. Perhaps he misunderstood you saying it was my fault, i'm not sure. I just know what he told me.

      I do wish your piracy department had just looked up the whois on the domain or the nameservers the domain was hosted on and just contacted me rather than going to the big guns and getting me pulled. Also the ex site owner did say he gave the piracy guy my email but I was never contacted. That part still bothers me a lot. I hope you guys reconsider that in the future to avoid another host the headache I had today. I have hundreds of sites on the server that was pulled plus my community I mentioned I have the license for with 20,000 members and they all weren't happy. I blame that one on you guys and my server company too, as I stated.

      Personally i'm happy with my license and couldn't begin to imagine why such issue was happening to him. I understand it all now, so thanks. I think everyone can use some improvement in this situation.

      Comment


      • #4
        In all honesty, news like this kinda pleases me as it shows how serious vBulletin is about cracking down on piracy.

        Comment


        • #5
          It has been said numerous times that these issues should be a support ticket and if the vB support team respond they are perpetuating a bad service. They should not be speaking for Pirate Reports either as it is a totally separate company and how we report piracy and how the networks respond to those reports is something vB support team have no idea about whatsoever.

          Here are the facts:

          1. The vB licensing agreement REQUIRES a forum to be linked to a valid license.
          2. All sites not linked to a valid license receive a reminder from us.
          3. It is not our job to guess if one unlinked license is being used to cover more than one forum so we act on facts and if after a given period the site is still not linked to a license it is reported to a network.

          Networks are businesses and have their own action plan for complaints so what happens after we send a report is different on pretty much every network and even more different for some countires.

          Once the site is properly licensed a report is normally sent back to the network pretty quickly by me personally.

          Networks are businesses and have their own action plan for complaint WITHDRAWALS so what happens after we send a WITHDRAWAL report is different on pretty much every network and even more different for some countires.

          Even if UK law permitted me to dismiss someone for doing the job as per the remit I would not dismiss this young lady in this case. If Jelsoft made that a criteria for working for them they would need a new AP company but I know they would not make such a ridiculous demand.

          I trust that makes MY position clear in relation to the facts. The best way to avoid being reported is to read the licensing agreement and follow it. If you have a complaint raise a support ticket where everyone including Pirate Reports can add notes for the Business Manager to review for procedural changes IF REQUIRED. In this case it is my PERSONAL opinion that nothing needs to change as the line has to be drawn somewhere or we would be in a perpetual loop of reminders and begging letters all at the cost of the license holders who do manage to comply.
          Last edited by PirateReports; Wed 25th Jun '08, 7:39am.

          Comment


          • #6
            Perhaps a suggestion... If a site is throwing a piracy flag, why not add a notice in the admincp index? It notifies us when a new version is released, how about a message with something like "Hey jerky, this version of VB is unlicensed, or is breaking the license"..

            At least it would give us a heads up that something is wrong. When an upgrade comes out, I generally am responsible for updating anywhere between 15 - 20 separate Vbulletin installs. Stories like this make me stay up at night hoping I didn't screw up and upload the source code to the wrong site (mix up the licenses).

            Also, perhaps the DMCA complaint should first be made to the actual forum via the contact form to at least give someone the chance to fix honest mistakes.

            Quoting the license agreement and demanding it be followed to the letter is fine if you assume people do not naturally make mistakes, even piracy hunters..

            Comment


            • #7
              Given that we get one complaint like this every 2000 or so reports and that your suggestion would require at least double the budget for anti piracy admin I am guessing it is a non starter but as I won't have to do it, it matters not to me if the suggestion is taken up by vB and they employ someone full time to administer it. If they were taking that route they could of course chase ALL non linked licenses, check ALL entered emails were live and working and give advice on how to whitelist email addresses and use a computer so only real spam gets deleted. Personally I would start by banning hotmail accounts totally and a selection of other free mail services.

              Alternatively users could read the licensing agreement and comply with it as it's only one page of simple text, instead of shifting the blame.

              The idea of using the contact form doesn't work and if you don't belive me send 100 token messages and if you get even 5 replies I will be surprised. I never got ANY. A good start would be to put correct details for the Domain Admin on "whois" and don't use domain privacy.

              We did NOT make a mistake in our reporting and I am not sure how you and others who want to have a little dig at us get that impression from my responses as I don't see any facts to show the user had his site linked to any license when reported.

              Comment


              • #8
                I guess I do not understand the defensive stance you are taking here. I for one must say it is lacking in professionalism.

                I am not trying to fix blame on anyone here, just offering ideas on how to avert it from happening again in the future, even if it is a rare occurrence.

                Following the license is what most everyone does, however, mistakes can be made, and your response that not contacting someone because 95% never write back is really not satisfactory.

                If you have ever accidentally overwritten the config.php file on one site with the config.php of another site while doing upgrades, you might understand how an individual with a thorough understanding of the license terms, could easily make an honest mistake that would breach the license agreement.

                I used to resell space to a number of small sites and can tell you that if my space was shut down because of a DMCA complaint that I never received, well, I would be irate too. I understand that the providers policy in ultimately the issue here, but to say you did all you could, or were required to do is a non-starter. If you take the authors words as fact, obviously it was not enough.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You need to read my reply properly:

                  I said no one ever replied to me from a contact form which is why we don't use them. Another reason is, you don't get a copy of the message to archive, again showing a badly thought out suggestion and flawed argument. We use the supplied email for licensed users and the domain admin for non licensed users which is the best solution.

                  When people don't quote the facts I correct them and if you find that offensive so be it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PirateReports View Post
                    You need to read my reply properly:

                    I said no one ever replied to me from a contact form which is why we don't use them. Another reason is, you don't get a copy of the message to archive, again showing a badly thought out suggestion and flawed argument. We use the supplied email for licensed users and the domain admin for non licensed users which is the best solution.

                    When people don't quote the facts I correct them and if you find that offensive so be it.
                    And the best solution produced the worst outcome, well, perhaps the best solution then would be to find a different anti-piracy method. If that is the only way, well, then so be it I guess.

                    The only thing I find offensive if your complete lack of professionalism in this matter.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I totally agree which is why its best to read the licensing agreement and act on it professionally at the outset.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Alrighty then..

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Is it just me, or do there seem to be an awful lot of problems with Pirate Reports? Maybe it's none of my business, but I have noticed numerous complaints over the last few months or so...
                          "CREEPSHOW CREEPS ONLINE" - The first & best online resource dead-icated to Stephen King & George A. Romero's 1982 horror anthology classic!!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Very few issues when compared to the total number of piracy issues that they deal with on a monthly basis. Much less than 1% in all actuality.

                            As the original issue is resolved on all sides, I am closing this thread.
                            Translations provided by Google.

                            Wayne Luke
                            The Rabid Badger - a vBulletin Cloud customization and demonstration site.
                            vBulletin 5 Documentation - Updated every Friday. Report issues here.
                            vBulletin 5 API - Full / Mobile
                            I am not currently available for vB Messenger Chats.

                            Comment

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