347 posts Gambit
    Has been part of the Envato Community for over 4 years Has referred 10+ members Has sold $75,000+ on Envato Market and is now an Elite Author Has collected 100+ items on Envato Market
+4 more
bfintal says

(omg my first thread suddenly disappeared, it wasn’t erased i think, i got the Envato we’re-fixing-the-site message then it disappeared :( here it is again)

2 weeks ago I got a WP theme accepted, horay! Then I got a private message from a good soul that pointed to a link to a site that pirated the theme and showing off multiple free download links. Instinctively, I reported those. I checked my live demo Google Analytics and reported the referrers who were pirating the theme also. I did a search then reported the sites I found too. I of course expected piracy, but not at this level of speed and numbers.

Now I’m thinking of doing a small “activation” script that will come with my themes which displays a message/prompt in the admin asking for a purchase code to activate the theme (this purchase code is available in the downloads section of a user). The script can then use the Envato API to validate the purchase. After validation, the theme can now be used and the purchase code will not be asked for again.

In addition, the script can also query another server (one of mine) to validate the purchase code and for storage. Because of this server, we can put used purchase codes in a database for disallowing multiple purchase code usage. Maybe we can allow a purchase code to be used up to 5 times since developers may be installing the theme in their workstations first then porting the whole thing online. This can hinder the distribution of purchase codes by pirating sites. Plus you’ll know who the pirate is since you’ll be able to detect multiple usage.

I know this can be a bit of a hassle for buyers since they would do an extra step to use the theme, and it won’t require a top-notch reverse-engineer guy to remove the activator. But maybe the activator script can be obsfucated and spread out across the essential files so that it’ll be a bit harder to disable.

Cons:

  • What if this script surpasses the allowed API usage limits?
  • A little hassle to buyers, but it’ll only need to be activated once anyway.
  • Does not need a top-notch reverse-engineer guy to remove

Pros:

  • Offers some layer of protection
  • Easy to implement
  • Pirates may not notice the activator script so downloaders would get an unusable copy anyway, not all buyers are programmers anyway
  • May take a good 1-2 hours to study and remove from the theme, so maybe the pirates would think that this is too much of a hassle just to save $30~ bucks
  • Possibility of detecting the pirates since you’ll know if a purchase key has been used a ton of times

What are your comments and suggestions? If this receives good reception, I can code this and share it to the community :)

Since the thread disappeared, here are the previous comments:

By ParkerAndKent:

^ I think is a good idea, I was thinking to something like this.

By christopherjon:

Ahh, the daily ritual of searching for your stuff online.

Keep a list of the usual suspect sites and refine your google searching.

I can’t really give any more tips since they could be used for the wrong reasons.

On the bright side, most of them use free file sharing sites for distribution and you can shut those down with freshfaces little tool.

136 posts
    Has referred 50+ members Has sold $40,000+ on Envato Market Has collected 10+ items on Envato Market Sells items exclusively on Envato Market
+2 more
ThemeShaper says

I think someone already has been doing something similar to this, I cant remember which author(s) tho..

I have been considering something like this as well. I am still undecided :)

It would almost certainly help with buyers purchasing once and using multiple times, though I have no idea (or how to estimate) if this is a major problem.

The downside to this kind of thing, and something that raises the alarm bells for me is that it potentially makes it more difficult for an honest user to use the theme than a pirate.

It isn’t that much of a biggie, but having to log back into the TF account to get the code and enter it, does make it more of a pain to use than just downloading a patched version.

347 posts Gambit
    Has been part of the Envato Community for over 4 years Has referred 10+ members Has sold $75,000+ on Envato Market and is now an Elite Author Has collected 100+ items on Envato Market
+4 more
bfintal says
ThemeShaper said
I think someone already has been doing something similar to this, I cant remember which author(s) tho..

I have been considering something like this as well. I am still undecided :)

It would almost certainly help with buyers purchasing once and using multiple times, though I have no idea (or how to estimate) if this is a major problem.

The downside to this kind of thing, and something that raises the alarm bells for me is that it potentially makes it more difficult for an honest user to use the theme than a pirate.

It isn’t that much of a biggie, but having to log back into the TF account to get the code and enter it, does make it more of a pain to use than just downloading a patched version.

I’m really contemplating about this now, since I did a good Google and ended up with 15+ sites with free download links, and some of these have comments, star ratings and download counters (with 40 download clicks on 1 site).. all very saddening.

How about just letting them enter the purchase code only once? It shouldn’t ask for a purchase code again anyway if the buyer just updated his copy of the theme.

Also, instructional screenshots can definitely help ease the pain of activating

1950 posts Do the Needful
    Has referred 10+ members Has sold $125,000+ on Envato Market Has collected 10+ items on Envato Market Has been part of the Envato Community for over 4 years
+10 more
JamiGibbs says

bfintal,

I disabled your first thread because piracy discussion is not allowed on the forums. Even though it’s disabled for everyone else, you should still be able to read my reason for disabling it by clicking the thread in the ‘Your Recent Threads’ list on the right.

Post any threads discussing or link to piracy and/or warez sites. These do more damage than good and will be locked or disabled. Report any copyright, piracy, or warez violations to Envato Support, and see our wiki section on Copyright Support.
http://wiki.envato.com/community/forums-community/forum-rules/
by
by
by
by
by
by