What is nulled software?

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PalePhoenix

Prince of Dorkness
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I recently replied to a very polite TAZ Member who wanted to know more about the reasons behind a banning. Ordinarily, Staff do not discuss these reasons publicly, but the information I'd provided may be very helpful to others:

Inquiring TAZ Member said:
Hi PP...I'm sorry to be a bother but you banned someone for something that I don't understand. Not the banning part, ban away!, but the offering nulled software part. What does that mean? I assume it's illegal? Could you be a doll and explain it to me?Thanks.
The user in question did something illegal and malicious, from both a practical and an ethical standpoint. Nulled is "voided, cracked, or stolen," or any other term you might want to use for "a copy not licensed by its legitimate developer." This does not included licensed boards that are heavily modified, but board owners should also be careful where they get their modifications.

Many people think they can get a vBulletin or an Invision Power Board (among others) in this manner because it is free. Both vB and IPS have staff members on TAZ, but this is not the sole reason we take a firm stance against software piracy. Such boards are unsupported by their respective developers, may have errors created by "cracking" them (disrupting or cheating the licensing system within each), and can even contain deliberate vulnerabilities that allow whoever nulled them to hack the board at a later time, making this a bad choice for the user as well.

Simply using a nulled board doesn't bar participation in the TAZ community, but most members take a dim view of helping someone who has pirated something that they spent their hard-earned money on. These individuals will also not be able to get reviews, to commission graphics designed for them, or to have access to many of the servics TAZ provides. Although staff will not actively look at the forums of each member, I'm sure you can tell from the kinds of sigs created and questions asked here that it's going to happen sooner or later.

In those instances, a person using nulled boardware does so at his or her own risk, but may not necessarily be banned. We still reserve the right, as individuals, to advise the software developers--each of whom have a piracy reporting feature at their own sites--and those companies may take separate action to have the sites in question shut down. Not worth the risk, I'd say. Furthermore, individuals found to be offering nulled boardware will be immediately and summarily ejected from TAZ, with prejudice.
 

Infamous Flame

Ewan McLean
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Great explanation Phoenix, it took me a while to figure out what nulled software is (not that I'm saying I use it, I just mean reading around the net and so on). Useful to keep the people that are newer to the net or TAZ on the right side of the law and the community.
 

PalePhoenix

Prince of Dorkness
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You're very welcome. An additional question arrived since I wrote the above (bear in mind, it's not commonly a nice thing to reproduce PMs in this fashion, but I'm giving the member credit for asking good questions, minus any embarrassment associated with being identified):
Inquiring TAZ Member said:
Ok...yes it does help, a bit. But another dumb question...

If invision is free, right? I know this because I've used it before...why would someone need to steal it? I understand everything you said but that. I think.

If he used invision to create a forum, what did he do wrong?
I created a thread (omitting your name, of course) because these are very worthwhile questions, and you shouldn't feel alone in not knowing.

Invision Power Board (called IPB), which is produced/developed by Invision Power Services (IPS), is not free. What you have seen (I hope) are free hosting providers--like InvisionFree, Forumer, etc.--who have older versions and a special license to permit users to create individual boards using severely handicapped copies. They do not have server access, FTP capability, and the extent to which they can modify their boards or install hacks is extremely limited.

These make for good "starter boards," or test sites, where someone new to operating a forum can explore the capabilities of the software and become familiar with its functions. The true problem (presuming that no server access, limited hacks, and high security vulnerabilities aren't already problematic enough) arises from what happens when such "seed sites" actually become successful. Though these represent the minority of all sites ever created, "migrating" from the free hosting to a paid/leased provider can be a vexing procedure (AND expensive) for someone who doesn't know what they're doing.

A freehost admin looking to get his or her own domain and server space usually has to pay to "ransom" their database (members, posts, etc.), must know how to move it to the new location, install it properly, and THEN most likely has to upgrade it to whatever is the current--and bought--version of the software. Developers, such as IPS and others, may also permit individuals to operate with "temporary copies" (called 'betas' or Release Candidates/RCs). These cannot be shared, are generally unsupported, and can be fraught with bugs and security holes for which the developer is in no way responsible. Nor, I might add, are any members and staff of TAZ. Continued use of a beta/RC is not a clear-cut condition of piracy, but it IS lazy, cheap, and rather unscrupulous.

Didn't an older relative ever tell you that nothing in life was truly free? ;)
 

Extreme

Adherent
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Very nicely explained there PalePhoenix :) I hate it when people use Nulled Software.....
 

Nicole510

Participant
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It's ok PP...I'm the one that asked. :) I want to say thanks again for patiently explaining it to me! I really did feel like quite a dork.:bonk:
 

ubuntumatthew

Bubblehead Star Child
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Mar 24, 2007
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It's ok PP...I'm the one that asked. :) I want to say thanks again for patiently explaining it to me! I really did feel like quite a dork.:bonk:
No need to feel like a dork. We all arrive knowing nothing and we all have to learn somehow. You are doing it the right way, by asking good questions. Theres nothing to be embarrassed by or ashamed of in that.
 

Outumuro

TAZXbar Publisher
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Great explanation PalePhoenix... well done!

Using PM excerpts in this manner, to explain something of general importance, is a service to the community at large.

Good stuff. :)
 

desibase

Fan
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I got someone sued once who was doing free hosted forums of cracked IPB version :D .. very bad thing to do .. !
 

Hazel

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I got someone sued once who was doing free hosted forums of cracked IPB version :D .. very bad thing to do .. !
I got someone to remove it without sueing them :p. Told them that IPS and Jelsoft would be "interested" in what they were doing, and had got round to contacting Jelsoft by the time this guy contacted me.
 

PalePhoenix

Prince of Dorkness
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Outumuro said:
Using PM excerpts in this manner, to explain something of general importance, is a service to the community at large.
Generally, the individual's permission should still be sought, out of politeness if nothing else. Nicole never had to admit they were hers, but I'm glad others could learn as well. That is the purpose of TAZ.
 

Lara Croft

Aspirant
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I denied a offer for *nulled* vbulletin becose no matter how much I loved vbulletin I did not want to do anything iligal.
 
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Taler

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Is it really unethical to use nulled software if your site is ad/profit-less?

Perhaps you really have a great service to provide and simply cannot afford the software. In any case, I use free SMF as you can see. :D
 

Corydalis

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An analogous question: is it unethical for me to reproduce on my site text written by someone else and posted on another site, if I am not charging people to read it?

Yes, it is unethical, as well as illegal. It's called copyright violation. Whether or not you make money from using it is irrelevant.

Some software developers deliberately make their work product available for free, for various reasons (open source, shareware, and freeware.) Many do not. They put their time, energy and money into creating the software, and they have the legal right to determine how and under what circumstances it will be distributed, including the right to license its use, for monetary payment.

Let's say someone broke into your house and stole your TV. Would it be OK for them to do so if they were not going to resell it or charge people to watch programs on it? What if they knew of a charity that really needed a TV, but they couldn't afford to buy one to donate, so they took yours?
 

TrixieTang

Politically Incorrect
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I'd like to go off on a semi-on-topic thought I had before it fades.

There's no excuse for using pirated forum software, saying things like, "I'm using a pirated version, but when I have the money, I'll pay for it" although to some may seem ok, but they're not. For example, let's view TAZ's Premium member system, would saying "I don't have the money now, but I'll pay the $15 as soon as I get it" get you Premium member status, NO!

Accept it, it's wrong, even if you intend to pay "Eventually", you will pay, trust me, when your site's shut down for being ILLEGAL, that's how you'll pay.

Is it really unethical to use nulled software if your site is ad/profit-less?
Is it unethical if you steal a car and use it just for "non-profit" purposes? Yes, and it's ILLEGAL.
 

UnrealColony

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I agree with you Nenene. When people download a nulled version, they know that its illegal to use because they know that they are getting a paid software free which no one would be giving it out freely. Most webhosts are aware of the usage of nulled scripts which is the reason why they suspend any account that looks suspicious of being illegal.
 

dojo

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There's nothing wrong in paying for a script. And in some cases it's a good idea. I have free and paid scripts, but I try to make it on free as much as I can. Not having the money for a license doesn't mean you should use a nulled version. I have personally reported some people I thought are running a pirated version.
 

CMOBOSS

All About Da-Cookies.
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WTF does stealing a car have to do with code. LMAO but then again yer talkin to a born again citizen of the system. (BAHAHAHHAHA)

I stopped stealing cars a long time ago. now i just prnt fake money and spend it on luxuries & bad habits.

Ok.. thats a lie. I was never born again. I am a figment of the matrix we call life.

But seriously.. who cares about terms.. the end point is we don't use "stolen" software on our websites, people. that is the moral of the story.

I have no further comments.
 

TrixieTang

Politically Incorrect
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WTF does stealing a car have to do with code. LMAO but then again yer talkin to a born again citizen of the system. (BAHAHAHHAHA)
I tried to drive vBulletin once... needless to say, I fell on my butt... :)

Guess I just get carried away with the way I describe/argue things. :shifty:
 
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