May 23, 2008 aggressively chases vbulletin use

by Brian Turner, the company which polices vbulletin licencing ownership, has certainly appeared to be more aggressive at chasing up vbulletin licence violations this year.

Because I manage so many vbulletin licences (over 20 at present) it means keeping the records constantly updated can be a challenge, not least when domains are rebranded and boards moved to new domains – something I’ve found myself increasingly doing over the past year.

Normally it’s not caused any problems, but over the past two months I’ve received legal notices directly or via a webhost about unrecorded vbulletin licences I run.

To be clear, I actually have more vbulletin licences than I have active forums, so its simply been a case of ensuring all of my vbulletin licence information are correctly assign to the live domains.

Even still, while I appreciate Jelsoft’s need to protect its vbulletin brand and licencing, I can’t help but feel maybe this is getting too aggressive.

After all, even according to Wayne Luke at vbulletin, look-up tools relating to a licence and its owner are made available to to check up on.

So why should Howard G Spinks feel that someone with 20+ owned vbulletin licences, which are clearly assigned to inactive or forwarded domains, feel that perhaps one of vbulletin bigger customers is actually defrauding Jelsoft?

The simple answer is that licence records are not being checked, even though lookups are provided, so that all is doing is aggressively chasing up any potential copyright violation – without making any attempt to properly reference the Jelsoft licence record.

As a customer it’s my duty to keep my records up to date – I don’t deny that. But for Jelsoft to send customers legal notices on these grounds feels like an over-aggressive and unfriendly customer care policy.

Perhaps Howard G Spinks is too busy to be able to use all of his look-up tools. After all, sometimes I’m just too busy to keep my licences updated. But that’s because I put my customers first.

Meanwhile, you’ve been warned – if you run any vbulletin installs, check that your records are updated to avoid unnecessary hassle from

In the meantime, while vbulletin is obviously a market leader in forum software, Jelsoft should make a note that many of us have already been looking at Drupal as a potential alternative for the future.

The company might want to bear that in mind as it continues its potentially unfriendly customer care program.

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11 Responses to “ aggressively chases vbulletin use”

  1. Howard G Spinks on May 26th, 2008 2:22 pm

    You did’t get much support from other vB users so making the allegations more outrageous doesn’t make you more right.

    You failed to comply with the licensing requirements and you seem to just want to blame someone else for the inconvenience it caused you. Take responsibility and learn from your mistake.

  2. Brian Turner on May 26th, 2008 9:05 pm

    Thanks for the reply, Howard, but vbulletin closed the thread before any real discussion could start – however, what discussion pointers were posted hardly seemed in majority to support your current method, and it seems it is an issue Jelsoft are not keen to discuss.

    As stated above, I agree it’s my responsibility to keep the registration details up to date, and haven’t suggested otherwise.

    However, your attitude above shows why vbulletin customers can easily feel like they are being treated harshly – and proves my point entirely.

    Maybe you should try using the lookup tools a little more that Wayne Luke suggested you have available to you.

    That way you can do the math on a vbulletin customer having >20 owned licences but <20 active installs.

    Not exactly the profile of a software pirate, but if it rewards you to send legal notices to law-abiding vbulletin customers, then that’s entirely Jelsoft’s customer care policy to make.

  3. Howard Spinks on June 17th, 2008 10:39 am


    You have proven nothing except that you don’t take on board that the licensing agreement requires a forum to be linked to a license to make it valid. 100 licenses linked nowhere don’t even come up in any search we do for a particular site which is why I am fed up with your allegations and misinformation aimed at my company.

    Wayne Luke has no idea how we undertake our work and is not a spokespersom for my company or for vB for that matter. He is a vB 1st line support guy as far as I am aware.

    You were using vB outside the licensing agreement, we don’t have a rewards scheme or any bonus system whatsoever and you just have to admit you were wrong and stop making ridiculous statements about my company which are untrue.

    WE DON’T SEE ANY LICENSE UNLESS YOU LINK IT TO THE FORUM WE ARE SEARCHING and had you acted on reminders your site would not have been temporarily closed.

  4. Brian Turner on June 17th, 2008 4:54 pm

    Howard, I stated I was in the wrong – I stated I was unhappy with the process.

    I make no allegations other than the process seemed unreasonably aggressive. If you wish to disagree with Jelsoft on what actual tools are available for you to use, then that is entirely between the both of you.

    I think the fact that you are arguing the point speaks volumes about the complaint raised on poor attention to customer care.

  5. Howard Spinks on June 17th, 2008 6:57 pm


    The data presentation is a Jelsoft issue, and the reporting process is a Pirate Reports issue.

    You have incorrectly linked the two and you never bothered to speak to me before misrepresenting the facts.

    Pirate Reports is an independent company that utilizes client data to compile license reminders to all client software users and reports those that do not deal with the issues raised in a reasonable period.

    We are not agressive, we just send reminders and follow them up after 14 days with a deletion notice.

    Had you stated we are diligent and have built up a huge database of networks who trust our reports then that would be true which is why we get speedy results. If you pointed out that we will do our utmost to stop abuse anywhere in the world you would also be correct.

    Don’t confuse dilgence with aggression as the networks respond willingly to our template reports which are presented in a format defined by the DMCA (US & Australia) or in a very short and clear manner for non Engliush speaking (or non DMCA) countries to keep translation to a minimum.

    I am arguing the point because you are misrepresenting the facts and yet again you have an opinion on that so I am guessing that nothing I say will make much difference.

  6. Brian Turner on June 18th, 2008 2:24 pm

    Howard, I’m neither disputing that Jelsoft requires active copyright protection services, nor questioning the ability of those services to see such issues correctly addressed.

    As a Jelsoft customer I simply blogged that I found the process recently appeared more aggressive, and did not feel happy that basic checks would have revealed I owned more licences than I actually had vbulletin installs – hence less likelihood of being the sort of software pirate Jelsoft would possibly be most interested in.

    Either way, the licence attribution is updated and I’m not expecting any further issues with that.

  7. Howard Spinks on June 18th, 2008 4:22 pm

    Brian, as a final update the reporting system has actually become even more user friendly since I introduced “reminders” for ALL sites with no license linked to a forum, about three months ago.

    I initiated this to try and cut down the amount of sites that were deleted by networks and then users purchased and the networks had the job of reconnection. Past license holders for a given site have always had at least two reminders prior to reporting.

    Unfortuately this does divert some of our resources away from the most important job of reporting piracy but it does help people who have not read the terms and conditions of use and have licenses we cannot see (not linked to anything).

    Everyone has a right to an opinion but when there is an adverse element it is best to make sure the names mentioned deserve the flack.

    In this case we didn’t and for instance if goods leave a warehouse and the 3rd party delivey driver doesn’t deliver on time you would be harsh to blame the warehouse unless you spoke to them first and they condoned it. Please if you have an issue in future remember the Jelsoft and Pirate Reports are separate companies and have separate management so don’t take answers from one to be a response from the other.

    NO ONE at vBulletin has authority to speak for me in relation to cases we send out which is why the thread was closed and no other reason. The person who closed it knows that the correct course of action is a support ticket which gets directed to me for a response and then if a person is not happy the vB Business Manager will be passed the ticket and give words of advice if required or change procedures if required.

    After about 5 years of association there is nothing much left to discuss but we are all constantly trying to reinvent the wheel in the hope it will get 100% appreciation but it doesn’t.

    You can’t please everyone FACT!

  8. Ned on June 30th, 2008 8:37 pm

    Howard, your aggressive approach to this post only serves to reinforce Brian’s arguments.

    Whilst before I probably would have forgotten all about it after clicking elsewhere, now…?

    ‘Nuff said.

  9. Howard Spinks on July 2nd, 2008 7:10 am

    If I don’t reply you will take the facts as correct and if I do correct the facts then someone will find something wrong in that.

    At least I give the courtesy of a reply but as this user was in the wrong and caused the problem which arose, he for one was never going to be happy and if you can’t see the need to comply with a licensing agreement either there is not much I can say to you.

    We are paid to uphold the licensing agreement and as we did exactly that, there are no excuses required which is why I am not making any. Our remit has never been seaching for unlinked licenses in the vB database and getting them linked, so the original complaint in relation to a job we are not even tasked to do, incorrectly linked us to the issue.

    If I can simplify it for you:

    We reported a site not linked to a license and that is not disputed by Brian so we acted correctly and as expected by our client.

    Brian is complaing about the “Licensing System” which as a multi license owner he finds hard to administer and that is nothing to do with us at all.

    Had Brian directed his complaint correctly we would not have been having this conversation. He needs to contact and suggest how the database can cater for people like him, not post on forums like this which can resolve nothing but just give him a vent for his irritation.

  10. Prashant on January 25th, 2009 8:55 pm

    So called pirate reports are Lazy or just claim to be so good in LAW i have received DMCA notification and i have provided my license details to all my datacenter , my reseller , and pirate reports too my server is down for more than 5 days i am not vb user but phpfox so Mr Howard Your Big words sticked with law sentence does not make you good i just say …. you are USING LAW TO MAKE FUN of Customers.

  11. VB on December 2nd, 2009 6:37 pm

    wow, expressing concern with a company procedure and they follow you around the net attacking you. No impressed at all. A customer complaint is an opportunity to improve not an excuse to attack the customer.

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