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Last year I wrote a piece of software that functions as an accessory application for a large forum software suite.

Specifically, it is an "Application" for Invision Community.

You can find other similar applications for the same software here: https://invisioncommunity.com/files/

I'm unsure how these files are licensed, however I charge $30 + $15/6mo for my application. Recently, an unknown member who purchased it released it on a popular nulled software website where people upload paid software packages for free for others to download. Since then, my sales have dropped to nearly $0 for the package.

I'm curious if the licensing of Invision Community leaves much room for me to do anything, or even if it does, if there is really anything I can do about this.

  • "I'm unsure how these files are licensed, however I charge $30 + $15/6mo for my application." - Do you mean you are unsure how your own software, which you are selling, is licensed? – Brandin Dec 5 '19 at 8:41
  • What do you mean by 'nulled' versions of your software? I visited that site briefly but found only screenshots. It claims that downloads are available by logging in, but I did not try that. – Brandin Dec 5 '19 at 8:44
  • @Brandin I upload the software to the Invision Community website in order to sell it. Their license is what controls it as far as I know. I do not have control over the license on it. – Nathan F. Jan 2 at 12:55
  • @Brandin "nulled" software generally refers to software the is normally paid software being released for free by a third party. – Nathan F. Jan 2 at 12:56
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On the face of it, this is blatantly illegal copyright infringement, for which there are legal remedies. However it is impossible for us to know whether you have inadvertently released the software into the wild, not understanding the terms of use for the website. Since the site does seem to prevent passers-by from freely downloading files and they do charge for content, it is reasonable to assume that (1) you have granted some license for the company to distribute your software and (2) customers are actually told that they can't just post stuff on piracy sites.

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  • To go to court for copyright infringement he would have had to actually register the copyright. Just saying he has a copyright because he created it would not be enough. – Putvi Dec 4 '19 at 20:58
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    That is true, but DMCA take-down does not require registration. – user6726 Dec 4 '19 at 21:02
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    The DMCA is mainly about hacking technologies and similar things. He can really only sue based on the software's license. I feel bad for the guy, but finding these people, suing them etc., is going to be next to impossible or cost more than he would recoup. – Putvi Dec 4 '19 at 21:06
  • Sending a DMCA take-down notice does not require that it is 'about hacking technologies'. Maybe you are thinking about anti-circumvention. Anyway, most big sites respond to take-down notices by simply removing the material, so that would potentially be a low cost option. – Brandin Jan 3 at 10:41
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If you can find the person, you could sue them for violating the license for the software. You can not sue them for copyright infringement since you did not register an actual copyright.

First, in the United States, you have to first register your work before you can sue for it. Second, you can only get statutory damages for infringements that took place either after the registration or after publication if the work was registered within three months. Without statutory damages, most copyright infringement lawsuits are a waste of resources.

https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/stopping-internet-plagiarism/your-copyrights-online/3-copyright-myths/

Suing for violating the license seems to be your only viable option. I'm sorry that happened to you.

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    A copyright holder can register copyright under US law at any point prior to taking legal action for copyright infringement (copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html) , it does not have to be done immediately on creation of the copyrighted article - so long as registration happens before litigation begins, that is entirely acceptable. Registering early has some benefits (as noted in your quotation), but it is not required for litigation to be an option with later registration. Your quote contradicts your own interpretation of it - there are valid reasons to sue beyond damages. – Moo Dec 4 '19 at 21:27
  • The page you linked is not a reliable source of information. It is written on a site owned and operated solely by some random guy that self-claims to be an expert and, as far as I can tell, has no degrees related to law. He studied journalism and is just a blogger. Please make sure if you're citing sources for information, that they are legitimate and credible sources. – animuson Dec 5 '19 at 16:09

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