Posts by MBMedia

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MBMedia says

I know personally that I’m thankful to see you recognize that above & beyond support is exactly that: above & beyond.

When a customer feels they are entitled to my time I tend to draw the “that’s beyond general support” line in the sand at pretty much zero support.

But if they honestly are valuing my time, are reading documentation & comments or researching the answers to questions before just defaulting to asking me, etc, then I have no problem giving them amounts of support that are definitely beyond the amount of money I earned from their sale.

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MBMedia says

In the course of discussion I think a few important parts of the series of events were forgotten:

What happened was that MPC used a piece of MIT licensed code (which was perfectly fine and normal, we all do it, jQuery is MIT licensed code as well). Not only did MPC credit the creator of that code, but also intended on donating some profits to that author.

But the author of that MIT licensed code, after noticing that MPC had made a product using it that had made some money, decided to “change” the license and then contact MPC to ransom him and demand amounts of money from the product (fairly substantial amounts) using scare tactics, false accusations, and threats.

Since then there’s been 2 lines of discussion:

first: legally can he do that? (the answer unambiguously being “no”, the MIT protects you from that, that’s one of the reasons it was originally conceived and written, that’s been discussed to the point of beating a dead horse and you should read from the beginning to learn about that part of the discussion)

second: morally it was always right to both credit and monetarily reward the author of that MIT licensed code for their contribution, no one argued against that. But after that person’s ridiculous behavior MPC is a little less willing to do so than he originally was. And honestly none of us were on the receiving end of the threats and accusations being put forth by that programmer, so I say we shouldn’t judge or attempt to judge MPC for feeling that way.

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MBMedia says

@MBMedia, cool… thanks for all the explaining :)
Hm, so, yeah… It seems mpc can sublicence that software he had under the MIT licence. The most important part being to keep the original licence text to give credit to the original author… and it’s free to use that version how he likes. I guess it’s a bit late for the original author to change the rules.

No prob. And to take it a bit further, the MIT license is actually not even an attribution license. The requirement about the code comment at the top is for the reason of making sure that upon re-distribution any receivers of the code still know that that code is MIT licensed, it’s not a attribution clause. Attribution is a good idea, but a pure MIT licensed product does not require attribution.

Some authors add a requirement to the license that you must attribute them, but many permissive free licenses typically do not allow you to add stipulations on top of the license, so that is arguably not allowed. The MIT license doesn’t say that verbatim, so that’s itself is a pretty debatable topic, but you could argue that ”...to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use…” the part about without restriction means restrictions cannot be added, and since that’s common in permissive free licenses it would make sense that it could be a good leg to stand on too.

Moral of the story is: don’t release MIT unless you are prepared to give up ALL rights to the code as if you never were the one that made it in the first place, cuz that’s pretty much what you’re agreeing to.

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MBMedia says

Ha! I just read his comment on your item. He doesn’t have a lawyer. He is just trying to scare you into giving him money. He is jealous and wants to change the license to try and give him a leg to stand on. Unfortunately it is just a pirate leg that is rotting so he will fall soon :) Don’t worry, you will be OK :)

Yep, any lawyer that takes on the case of trying to enforce royalties on software that was released under a permissive free license is either just planning on scaring you into getting what they want, or is taking their client as a sucker for a few easy billable hours on a lost cause.

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MBMedia says

Well.. how is this working? How can he use the old licence if the script is not available in that format? I mean.. the old licence was the one that existed in the past. Now the file exists under another licence. How can someone target a file licence that is not existent anymore?

It is available because mpc already had it as a MIT licensed file and was already granted those rights when he downloaded it. And even now the MIT license gives mpc the right to put up his own site to re-distribute that version of turn.js that he originally downloaded as MIT if he wanted to (though I doubt he’ll go quite that far).

If I remember correctly Away3D even was originally a version of papervision (MIT) that someone downloaded, changed some stuff they wanted to change, and put up again on sourcefourge for download renamed as Away3D instead…all perfectly legal and the pv3d team couldn’t do anything about it (nor would they have wanted to, that’s why they released it MIT ). Now PV3d is all but dead and the Away3D team took their place using code that originally started as papervision’s.

MIT licensing is basically giving up all rights to the MIT licensed part of the code except for the right to keep the MIT license info at the top of it. The reason people do MIT licensing is because by licensing your file as MIT it gives people the confidence to actually use it knowing that as users of the file they are afforded protection and rights as well, otherwise no one would want to invest time into a product using that code when at any time the author could just say “license change, royalty time!”. That’s a former common practice: release for free, make popular, change license later, get big royalty check. That’s why browsers are moving away from h.264, technically it’s license terms would allow the original author to implement royalties later on. The MIT license terms had in mind protecting users from exactly that, and authors use MIT because that protection gives potential users the confidence to use their code.

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MBMedia says

I think your should be safe as long as you use the MIT licensed version otherwise if Envato decides or the law says that you cannot use the script anymore just because the author has changed the license of the script then one day Envato might have to take down whole themeforest.net e.g. if the license of jQuery is changed to a non-commercial license ;)

Yep, even wordpress itself has MIT licensed files included in it’s download…what’s that, like 15% of the most trafficked pages on the internet and 22% of all new sites going up in the U.S? MIT protects them from things like license changes, that’s why it exists and that’s why they use it.

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MBMedia says

There may be several points of view in this matter. Personally I can understand why the original author does this. It may sound greedy at first but the flipping effect is quite unique and your file was practically built on top of that. I can’t say it right or wrong but for me I’ll stay away from getting source code that is too special, no matter what license it is. It’ll be so headache and you don’t want to get into legal stuff and copyright nuisance later on.

I agree, though I should point out that that’s the moral issue, not the legal issue (let’s make sure to keep those separate in our heads, not that you weren’t, but for the sake of people skimming I wanted to point it out). The moral issue gets a little weird though because of the fact that the person was an absolute a**hole to mpc…so I guess that depends on how forgiving mpc is :)

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MBMedia says


Thanks for this MBMedia I agree 100% this is also my understanding of the license.
Its logic…. but think good, did they force us here on envato to update our exiting files that had GS class base on the new license or just the new ones ?
maybe that example will answered your Q

That comes down to what the original license was, and whether or not the new license is for new versions of the code, or applied to the old versions.

I honestly don’t remember if greensock was originally MIT . But even if it was, any new versions of the greensock code could have been released under a new license no problem. Or if greensock’s original license terms did not grant you as many rights as MIT does then they again could change the license and even apply it backwards to old versions, because it hand’t fully given away rights to the user, it kept some for the author.

But we’re not talking about the general idea of license changes, we’re talking specifically about the MIT and a version of the code that was released as MIT (as opposed to a new version released under a different license), because I’m fairly sure the MIT is specifically designed to protect the user from things such as license changes :)

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MBMedia says

In fact the MIT license even provides full redistribution rights. Not only can you keep creating projects with it, you would even have the right to start your own site distributing his own unchanged code-base, still licensed as MIT . (that would be a dick move…but I’m just saying that to illustrate the point)

If he creates new versions of the code that he releases under a new license then he can tell you not to use those. But the version you have right now that you got as an MIT licensed piece, you can use for whatever you want from now until kingdom come for whatever you want (old projects or new, redistributing it itself or a project made with it, etc.) because that right was granted to you when he distributed it to you as MIT . When you release something MIT you are giving away rights to it completely. Once given you don’t have the right to revoke them later.

I know it sounds “piraty” for me to talk like that because that guy did create that code…but you created a business plan around what rights you knew you had with that code, and you did it properly and correctly. He doesn’t have the right to come in and and revoke rights in order to change that business plan to give himself monetary gain from it. You were the one that monetized the code, and you did it within your rights. I have people that buy my $50 templates that I spent months on, customize them for 1 hr and re-sell them to a client for $5,0000. I’m can’t go changing their rights to my template so that I get a big cut of that, because that was their client that they came up with a way of monetizing the template for, I gave them the right to do that when I put it up for sale for $50 and good for them that they were smart enough to monetize their purchase of it. If you want to be nice to the guy then offer him a small temporary percentage such as 5% or maybe a little less just out of the goodness of your heart. But if he refuses then tell him to get lost: he granted you rights to that code.

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MBMedia says

I am 99.9% positive that the one of the reasons MIT license is in existence is to protect the user of the code from exactly this. When you downloaded that script under the MIT license agreement in the first place you and the creator agreed that you as the user had the right to (and I quote) “to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so”.

From my understanding of the MIT it has 2 main intentions: 1) to protect the creator from legal responsibility for what the code is used for after released, and 2) to protect the user from things exactly like what that creator just did to you. When the creator originally released it as MIT he/she granted you those rights. As I understand it that protection and confidence for the user is one of the main intentions of the MIT license. They cannot go back and revoke those rights later: they’ve already granted them to you, and they agreed to it by releasing it MIT in the first place.

For the creator the only way to get around that is to do something like what fancybox did and create a brand new version of the code and release that under a new license, but users of the old code are still under the MIT that the old code was released under. When you release code under a license it is an agreement that both the creator and user are making, they are both bound to it…this guy can’t just decide he’s no longer bound to the agreement he made with you when he released it MIT , he gave you those rights when he originally released it.

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