Theme Author, Refused to release activation lock on expired domain

I want envato staff to clarify this for me, why is it if I purchase a theme license and then the theme is activated on a domain which becomes expired, deleted, rebought by someone else I cannot after 3 years of not using the theme decide to reactivate the theme on a new domain which is owned by myself?

The theme developer is stating that Envato has indicated they are not following envato policy and provide the screenshot below as justification.

I have multiple themes purchases on Envato and theme developers allow activation and deactivation if the theme is to be used on a new domain, I am not allowed to utilize the end-product (theme) on multiple domains, so right now I want some clarification on this before moving forward.

This is unfortunately a common misunderstanding.

The license terms are very clear, that once you use a theme to build a website, that website becomes your “end-product,” and the license will be bound to it permanently.

There is no clause that “unbinds” the license once an end-product is closed, expires, or goes offline. It truly is permanent. Therefore, you must purchase a new license to use the theme again.

The only way you can legally use the license on a new domain name is if the end-product itself moves to that new domain. A good example of this is a website moving from the .net version of their domain to .com.

Those domain deactivation systems were originally meant for these kinds of rare use cases. Unfortunately, their purpose has become quite misconstrued over time.

If you use them to repurpose a license for an entirely new project, you’re in clear breach of the license terms. Authors are not required to enforce those terms, so it’s ultimately the buyer’s responsibility to ensure compliance.

While I appreciate your response to this, it still isn’t justifiable.

If I purchase an item on envato, install the theme onto the website domain and it doesn’t fit my needs so I uninstall and purchase another product to fit my needs on this domain not utilizing the first theme product, I’m enforced to buy again the initial licensed item?

  1. The Regular License grants you, the purchaser, an ongoing, non-exclusive, worldwide license to make use of the digital work (Item) you have selected. Read the rest of this license for the details that apply to your use of the Item, as well as the FAQs (which form part of this license).

  2. You are licensed to use the Item to create one single End Product for yourself or for one client (a “single application”), and the End Product can be distributed for Free.

Envato license specifically states “an ongoing, make use, create one” there’s no indication on activation on a single name permanently , there are no refunds on envato items unless the item is defective so a customer cannot download an item, change the item and demand the money back for the first.

Theme demos do not constitute trial before you buy but more so preview before you buy

Correct. Once you install/activate and start to use the product, you cannot use it on another project. “Changing your mind” is not a good reason for re-use of the purchase code/item.

Make sure the item is exactly what you need for your project and install/activate it once you’re ready.

Let me ask this:

I purchase an audio file on AudioJungle, it doesn’t work out in the end-product so it’s not released to the publicly. I purchase another song that does. The previous song I bought is null and void and can’t be used to make anything else and I have to purchase a new license to it?

If i purchase an item template on graphicriver put it in a design, export it for a client the client says it nice but don’t want it, do it again. I’m forced to not use the item I paid for in something else and buy it again?

If I purchase a template on videohive, render it, export it and client says they don’t want this but something else, so purchase another render and export, send to the client. The first template from videohive is null and void?

Envato license is not for themeforest only.

It’s end-product when you use it on any project. If your client doesn’t like it, you will need to purchase a new copy.

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Legally an end product is [the final result of an activity or process, the finished item published] But I’m not here to debate what is and what isn’t.

Does Envato license allow developers to lock their full-item download behind an activation?

Isn’t the item being sold to a customer to be provided in full from the zip pacakge on Envato, because that’s the only route left to take with this.

With the definition, when you create a website template or a logo or a video template to be reviewed by your clients, you actually published the item to show them - which falls under “end-product”

There’s not much to debate

A draft and revision is not an end-product, end-product is published works and final, hence the word end. You’re passing a perception for use-case but the legal definition of “final work, post product, live, published” and only way to justify this is to bring it to court, either-way Envato has to review the license definitions for explicit clarity.

However I’ve moved passed this, it’s not worth my energy or money.

What I want to know as I asked previously.

Are developers allowed to lock their FULL-ITEM download behind an activation? With the exception of third-party items bundled with an envato product licensed to a single developer/team/company.

Most likely the full-item comes with the plugin support/add-on which they could use an activation to enable the full features of the item, for themes, they should be activated without any restrictions but if the “features” comes with a plugin, since 2018, it does, you’d need to activate the item first.

It’s up to you author, if they prefer to not to deactivate the item, they won’t - if it’s already activated on another website/domain.

Hi MisterDirector,

It sounds like you’re in a frustrating situation with the activation lock on your theme license. Typically, theme licenses purchased through platforms like Envato are meant to be used on a single domain, and most developers do provide a way to transfer that license if the original domain is no longer in use—like in your case where the domain has expired. KMSpico

Personally I’ve abandoned the approach, developers earn more through product support than product sale and after this experience I won’t consider renewing support or purchasing other items from the same developer.

As it stands now with envato license, I will now have to consider never doing staging sites in development and transfer to production because that activation is final based on the information being provided, end-product is not final/public item anymore.

I will have to look into local host activation edit my host file with the domain name on and then build the site to that domain.

However I see this being more problems in the long run given production/hosting environments are not ever the same as localhost.

Many author allow it, I’ve seen. But nowadays, the sales are not so good, maybe this is the reason some people are not allowing it now. I think you can be able to change the domain within the first 6 months of your new purchase.

I also think a buyer should have the right to change the domain as per his needs, just making sure not using two domains at the same time.

Envato rules are clean about the “end-product” once the item is installed on any server/website, it’s tied up with that domain and changing the domain would require a new license. If you change the domain, you could always purchase a new license.

Up to authors.

I think this is a new kind of explanation of envato rules. It was never heard before and people are used to experience in opposite direction.