Open Transparency with ThemeSnap.com Products & Licensing

In an ongoing effort to be as open and transparent as possible, we’d like to share some information for ThemeSnap.com products, theme licensing usage, and also provide the opportunity to answer any questions customers or other third-party providers might have moving forward regarding licensing terms.

We received an email today just after noticing a few, not so happynegativeTwitter posts concerning ThemeSnap.com about the usage of a Drupal theme we sell. The email basically advised us to remove the theme from our website because selling it did not include the author’s permission. The theme in question is one that we purchased directly from ThemeForest.net. We purchased it under their “Extended license” terms and we’ve always been certain that we’ve had the correct license in order to provide the theme directly for sale.

It’s always been our understanding (from being ThemeForest authors ourselves) that anyThemeForest authors can easily opt into or out of their extended license agreement. It’s within the author’s profile page to choose this option.

In a nutsheel, the extended license provides the ability for ThemeForest.net customers or companies/agencies to resell a product purchased from ThemeForest if that product is added to another “Work” — as in a software or CMS — in our case Drupal. The licensing terms have always been very clear from ThemeForest to say this in their extended license terms. You can read more over at this page — ThemeForest.net Extended LicenseYou can also read this ThemeForest forums section for more details. In the forum just mentioned an Envato marketplace lead team member replies with clear and decisive answers to the question about extended license terms the their authors.

These license terms have note changed much, if at all, within the past two years (we often take snapshots and save the license pages for legal reference in case it ever comes up).  It’s always a good idea to double check in terms if using third-party designs or code in another work, which we have always done viligantly.

The license agreements are also easily available to all authors, customers, or companys that need to read them at any time on two sites, ThemeForest.net and Envato.com’s wiki. However, the problem with the license, as we understand it, is that many ThemeForest.net authors may not fully understand the extended license agreement terms they’ve opted into. Or, the author might have chosen to not read the license agreement in full before being opted into it. If either of these are the reasons for the confusion, then perhaps we can make a few suggestions moving forward for Envato (and customers and us):

  1. It would be extremely helpful if ThemeForest.net was crystal clear about the extended license terms with their authors in a way that was more prominent. (Note: The authors can turn the extended license option on or off within a few short seconds/clicks and within their author profile panel)
  2. Make an opt-in / opt-out option in some larger font or even show “Alert” type boxes for authors for choosing item licenses and/or make authors have to read and confirm before being able to add a product to the marketplace.
  3. Work with your authors to devise a more clear and decisive agreement that works better and is more understood by everyone. Improving the current agreement terms may be a great option. We, for one, would welcome that addition.

On a personal note, I’d also like to add…

Being accused of Digital theft and/or copyright infringements really sucks with a large “S.” We have and will always be on the responsible side and always have the proper license to sell anything. But I’ll have to say that it’s very hard to feel like you’re in the right or when receiving accusational emails asking for you to remove a product you know you’re 100% in the clear to sell based on the agreement you purchased.

We’d also like to say that we’re going to improve disclosures and terms on our side in the coming days by adding more design credit for theme designs. We’ll also be adding to our Terms of Service page and other sections of the website regarding third-party product(s) we may sell, i.e. a theme design or module/plugin.

I can truly say that we (ThemeSnap), and our customers, love the template designs we’ve purchased extended licenses from at ThemeForest. It goes without saying that we appreciate and value the talent and energy these designers put into each of their products. This is why we have no issues whatsoever with paying authors for extended licenses for their products.

We’ve have also read author comments in the ThemeForest forums. Many have discussed that they really like the fact that they (authors) can sell their products for around 50x (that’s 50 times!) more than a regulal license. So, a $15 regular license would go up to $750 for the extended license for that same product.  Some authors have noted that the extended license provides them with more revenue and it does not seem to be an issue for them.

At the end of the day though our only goal is to develop Drupal themes for a CMS long overdue for decent designs. We appreciate very much the extended licensing policies to date but if these terms need to be more transparent for everyone. At the very least we need some clarity for everyone buying and selling themes.

With all of the above information hopefully we’ve cleared up any questions or confusion for some of our products or licensing. If you’d like to leave a comment or question below I’ll do my best to try and answer it clearly.

Sincerely,

Jason / Customer Services Manager