ThemeForest - Author will not let me switch domains - allowed?

Will protect the author for now. I have been a member for 12 years. In that time I have owned many themes.

Each of these themes I have always had no issue changing domains - e.g unhooking/deactivating the theme, especially if it’s a dummy site for pitching to a client proposal.

I fell in love with a theme and used it on one demo site, project ended, put it on another demo site, project ended etc. had successfully deactivated the theme multiple times. Finally have a use for the theme on a different project and when it came to installing it, I was no longer able to activate the website. It was deactivated from the old domain… I spoke to chat support of the theme and they said I need to buy a new license because I can only use “one theme per domain”.

I have previous chat logs from months ago where they were more than happy to deactivate the domain for me manually but this time they’ve made up their own new rule saying “1 license = 1 domain” and that’s fixed for life, no exceptions, it can never be homed on another domain ever.

Am I in the wrong here?

Licenses for themes (both regular and extended) can only be used to create a “single end product.” For themes, the end product is the final website customized with your content. Unfortunately, even if that website later shuts down, the license is still bound to it in perpetuity.

The statement “1 license = 1 domain” is mostly accurate, because most projects only use a single domain. There are some exceptions, but none of them apply to the situation you described.

Many authors do offer a feature to reset the license and activate it on another domain. This started out as a good-faith feature for those transferring an existing website to a new domain. Using it to build an entirely new website is not in compliance with the license agreement.

Now, using themes to build “demo sites” like you mention is an interesting use case. While the license agreement is pretty stern, I would urge you to open a Help Ticket and ask the experts over there about how to best apply the licenses to your use case.

None of the websites I built launched as end products. In fact two of them were completely in maintenance mode and only had “demo import” content. I did not develop any websites. The theme itself purchased in 2022, so it’s not like I’ve been doing this for a dozen years over and over.

Either the projects didn’t get traction or I didn’t get sign off. I would simply import the demo content, on a domain, whack on a fake logo and hero image to show it as a mockup.

The fact the author obliged the same request to switch it twice previously. It previously had the functionality to deactivate the theme from the domain. It still does. However, even if you deactivate the theme, the license stays locked to whatever domain that is. Other buyers are commenting similar things in the “comments” asking why they can no longer delist a domain.

The domains I did any of these things on had combined traffic that I could count on one hand… this is why I’m so stunned that the author is refusing to honour the “deactivating” part, I just installed the theme on the old domain, activated and deactivated it. Why is that feature in existence if it no longer matches any functionality? this is a new thing they’ve implemented, clearly to money grab at the sake of the buyer.

See attached… they recommended this as the step to deactivating a domain. Now in recent months they’ve suddenly done a 180* switch on this to say “nope, envato is 1 per domain, buy another”.

I will buy another. But it won’t be from this author. It’s cutting ones nose to spite their face to suddenly implement these pathetic rules…

Fast forward a few months later, the messaging has changed…

the “article” explaining how to assign a new domain is removed. The wording to remove the domain removed.

I mean it’s pathetic truly. I know many freelancers who operate like this and have never run into issues with “good faith” authors. This is not in good faith. This is pure greed and a hard stance that ensures one will literally never ever buy a theme from them again. What’s crazy is I’ve promoted the hell out of this theme to people, telling them to go for it above Jupiter and other top sellers to help them out as a smaller author.