Stolen website with illegal use of my purchased theme and plugin

I am a web designer, a deadbeat client refused to pay for his website.
He demanded I remove the website from his hosting which I did.
Somehow with the help of hosting the deleted website has returned and now I’m locked out.
He now has possession of a website he has not paid for.
This website is using Avada theme and Web 2.0 Directory plugin which I have the purchase codes for and does not belong to them until they have paid for them. Because this client has stolen this website, I payed for and own these licenses that are being used illegally.
What are my options?
I do not see a place to revoke licenses.

Thank you for your help.

Hey there Kenny! That sounds like a nasty situation! What I do suggest is determining the hosting company who is hosting his site using WhoIS and sending them a DMCA. Hosts are required to act on DMCA’s, and will most definitely terminate his website. That’s the best and simplest legal approach to this.


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Good advice.
Thank you.

Are you allowed to send a DMCA when you’re not the author/do not own the copyrights? Wouldn’t the author have to be involved as well?

You own a license to a product, you’re sending a DMCA based on the license of that product, as most themes require an activation using a purchase code, you’re activating a “license” that doesn’t belong to you, of which you have proof of ownership.

You’re claming the license of the product is yours, not the product, you’re sending a DMCA for that specific license, and that can be removed/terminated.

The author can get involved for the actual product! :slight_smile:

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Didn’t know you could make such distinctions with DMCAs. Good to know! Thanks for clarifying :slight_smile:

As far as I know, only people who are authorized by the copyright holder can rightfully issue a DMCA take down. So the right thing to do is to let the rightful copyright owner know of the infringement and not issue one on their behalf without authorization.

So contact Avada and the other author and let them know. That’s the best you can do in this case. They will most likely block the website from future updates.

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I made the website including all images.
I have the photoshop files to all images.
Would this not be a copyright issue as well?

Also the business purpose of this website is advertising.
Businesses pay to be advertised and featured on this website.
Could I contact each business by email and inform them they are paying to be listed on a stolen website with stolen theme and plugin with images stolen from me?
Would it be a good idea to let each listed business know the illegal practices of this website and the business that stole it.

I did contact the hosting yesterday and copyright enforcement issues has been started. Awaiting a reply.
The domain is hosted elsewhere and I will also contact them today.

The stolen website must have been recovered by hosting from a backup outside the server. Client demanded I remove the website from his server so I did and all traces of it. Before removing I cloned the website to my hosting for safe keeping. The restored stolen website is broken badly but I have the original intact on my hosting.

I don’t know if it is helpful but during this theft wordfence security has been sending me repeated emails of failed login attempts and user password changes. Wouldn’t wordfence’s alert emails help prove I’m the owner?

This deadbeat does not have the money to pay for the website. That’s why he had to steal it. I won’t recover my costs but I would like any info to have the stolen theme, plugin and images removed. Any more ideas highly appreciated.

Thank you,

Yes, this is your property and in this case you are the copyright owner. Hopefully you get this sorted and they realize the mistake they’ve made by not paying what you are due!