XenForo revokes KiwiFarms' license

dtdesign

WoltLab Developer
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Nov 13, 2012
Messages
594
Ah cool, so, would woltlabs sell a license to Kiwi Farms in that case? Or would you likewise refuse their business?
So you would like like to venture into the rabbit hole of laws around online business?

The primary issue with online shops available to the general public is that you cannot reliably restrict who can make a purchase. You can do general things like disallowing individuals in general (B2B). Then there is also the virtual house ban, but this is easier said than done and also doesn't really help ahead of time. Please note that I'm talking about the legal side, not what kind of things you could do on the technical side.

From a legal perspective it is almost impossible to exclude someone from making an automated purchase through the online shop. Unless the transaction itself is fraudulent, the contract is legally binding because it is automatically accepted by our online shop by email, which is a legal requirement to finalize the contract itself.

This is vastly different from a bespoken purchase where you have contact with the buyer before, because then you can indeed reject to conduct business with them. Also if I remember correctly there are some legal pitfalls too, but I'm not too sure on this one.
 

Slavik

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Apr 22, 2011
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85
So you would like like to venture into the rabbit hole of laws around online business?

I'm just wondering what your/wolts stance on such a site would be based on your post here: https://www.theadminzone.com/threads/xenforo-revokes-kiwifarms-license.154182/page-6#post-1167503 as I don't see any legitimate "concern" for revoking the license of the site in question.

Mainly as I struggle to believe such a site would be legally able to enter a contract with your company and use your software forever more with no recourse on your behalf. Would find it even harder to believe that if it ever came before a court that your company would lose. To do so would be sending a message that the judicial system supports the right to promote racism, antisemitism etc and that companies have no rights to terminate business with a person / organisation promoting such content. It doesnt make sense on any level.
 
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DigNap15

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No, it is not.

Firstly, even "self-hosted" in 99% of times means you are renting servers, too. But for the sake of the argument, let's say it is your own servers you bought and take care of.

Even then, you own the servers, but not what you run on them. It is like having a big ranch, which you own, but driving that rented car on it. It is your ranch, you can do whatever you want, but the car is rented from outside. You can only drive it, if you follow the terms. If not, they will revoke it. If you are unhappy, then build your own car which means write your own software then.





It says it clearly. We are not buying the code, we don't own the software. We rent it, we come to an agreement for the use of it.
And you still need Domain Name Servers
One I can think of also removed Parler.
And a bank or payments service
 

dtdesign

WoltLab Developer
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
594
Disclosure: I work for a competitor of XenForo Ltd. The following is nothing but my personal opinion.

Mainly as I struggle to believe such a site would be legally able to enter a contract with your company and use your software forever more with no recourse on your behalf. Would find it even harder to believe that if it ever came before a court that your company would lose. To do so would be sending a message that the judicial system supports the right to promote racism, antisemitism etc and that companies have no rights to terminate business with a person / organisation promoting such content. It doesnt make sense on any level.
I'm sorry, today was a pretty busy day. Saw your reply earlier, but didn't had time to answer you.

There is quite a lot in here, so I'm trying to address your questions and/or concerns separately. First of all, purchasing our software is an automated process on our website, anybody can make an order and if paid will receive a license plus the software. This is simply how online shops for digital goods work and is a standard practice for online shops.

Second, hardly anything in life is a metaphorical "black and white", most of the time one is dealing with varying shades of gray. It can even get more complicated when you factor in different laws. For example, the license agreement of XenForo reads: "You undertake to ensure that the Software is not used by You or others to engage in or promote: illegal activity; […]" (highlight in bold by me).

Cannabis for recreational use is illegal in UK, therefore, if I understand this correctly, any forum using XenForo that is centered around the recreational use of cannabis appears to be in violation of the license agreement. Now, what happens when this is a forum from the Netherlands where the recreational use of cannabis is legal?

This is exactly the kind of murky water we try to stay away from. If something is unlawful then it is the job of government bodies to take care of this and if necessary put people to trial. We are neither judges nor are we the police.

Let me be perfectly clear: We do not endorse any of the behavior/content that your license agreement lists as a violation.

Our managed hosting pretty much holds up the same standards as you do, because we believe that this is the right thing. The only thing where we differ is that we do not enforce the same standards for on-premises licenses. We can deny the future renewal of a license, because this is our right, but we will not retroactively void a license unless it violates the terms.

Edit:
For the record: I do not criticize your decision to cease further business with the site in question. As I said twice earlier, any business is free to stop making business with anyone for whatever reason. Just see my above example regarding the legality of cannabis in different jurisdiction and the problems that arise in that context. This is what I'm criticizing.
 
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Mike Creuzer

Developer
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
102
I banned em around 2 years ago or so https://kiwifarms.net/threads/do-not-use-themehouse.81255/
No one blames the forum software vendor for the actions of the forum owners, just as no one blamed Ford for the OJ Simpson's freeway chase because he drove a Bronco, and no one blamed Charter Arms Corp. because "Son of Sam" used that company's .44 Bulldog Special.
They blame anyone they can. Sometime last year I think I got around 3 tickets all at the same time condemning us for servicing them including one news agency when I wasn't even aware of what that site was or what they do. I read the complaints and acted, I assume they sent the same convo to everyone they could find who hd a link in their footer.

We also got contacted by some form of law inforcement at one point with respect to them. When we banned them I got all kinds of attacks too as I think thats kinda their thing.
 

Slavik

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Apr 22, 2011
Messages
85
Edit:
For the record: I do not criticize your decision to cease further business with the site in question. As I said twice earlier, any business is free to stop making business with anyone for whatever reason. Just see my above example regarding the legality of cannabis in different jurisdiction and the problems that arise in that context. This is what I'm criticizing.


Thanks for the clarification, in terms of the legal wording, I would need to confirm however believe the specific wording is done in such a way that under English law covers ourselves from any 3rd party liability arising from sites falling foul of the law in their native jurisdictions.
 

dtdesign

WoltLab Developer
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
594
Thanks for the clarification, in terms of the legal wording, I would need to confirm however believe the specific wording is done in such a way that under English law covers ourselves from any 3rd party liability arising from sites falling foul of the law in their native jurisdictions.
Wait a minute. Are you implying that the whole back and forth between us was rooted in a misunderstanding of mine of a legal term? 😳
 

rastaX

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Nov 23, 2010
Messages
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I've been in business (unrelated to anything computer or internet related) for almost 35 years. One of the most useful, and hardest learned, lesson is quite simply to recognize problem clients. A customer can be problematic for any number of reasons. None of which really matter. If someone presents the prospect of being troublesome to me, I get rid of them! No apologies, no regrets. A customer who creates problems soon monopolizes your time and can create no shortage of never-ending aggravation for myself, my crew and other customers. They have rights, as do I. A difficult person or group can easily make your life hell. I simply refuse them that opportunity. They are free to seek out other alternatives and I am free to determine how to go about running my business.
My guess is the folks at XF simply decided this group was more aggravation than they were worth and cut them loose. As is, and should be, their right.
 

DarthVader

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I've been in business (unrelated to anything computer or internet related) for almost 35 years. One of the most useful, and hardest learned, lesson is quite simply to recognize problem clients. A customer can be problematic for any number of reasons. None of which really matter. If someone presents the prospect of being troublesome to me, I get rid of them! No apologies, no regrets. A customer who creates problems soon monopolizes your time and can create no shortage of never-ending aggravation for myself, my crew and other customers. They have rights, as do I. A difficult person or group can easily make your life hell. I simply refuse them that opportunity. They are free to seek out other alternatives and I am free to determine how to go about running my business.
My guess is the folks at XF simply decided this group was more aggravation than they were worth and cut them loose. As is, and should be, their right.
Refusing to sell the customer a good is one thing, but selling the customer a good and then taking it back is another. I think that's the difference here. The product was sold and in use for years, and now you try to take it back.

Imagine buying a brand new Toyota car (I have no issues with the dealer refusing to sell you the vehicle for WHATEVER reason they choose). However, let's say the dealer sells you that car, and a few years go by, and the dealer ends up driving by you and not liking the way you drive, at which point the dealer decides to "revoke" your car because of the way. You're driving. Just because the dealer doesn't like the way you drive (law enforcement should be handling this), he shouldn't be attempting to take your car.
The same goes for this incident; just because the XF team doesn't like your content (that should be up to law enforcement), they shouldn't be taking matters into their own hands. It just sends the wrong message.

"WE will revoke your license if WE don't like your content" New slogan?
 
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but selling the customer a good and then taking it back is another. I think that's the difference here. The product was sold and in use for years, and now you try to take it back.

The same goes for this incident; just because the XF team doesn't like your content (that should be up to law enforcement), they shouldn't be taking matters into their own hands. It just sends the wrong message.
Where did you find this information in this thread?
 

vikvaliant

Participant
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Oct 21, 2014
Messages
98
Imagine buying a brand new Toyota car (I have no issues with the dealer refusing to sell you the vehicle for WHATEVER reason they choose). However, let's say the dealer sells you that car, and a few years go by, and the dealer ends up driving by you and not liking the way you drive, at which point the dealer decides to "revoke" your car because of the way. You're driving. Just because the dealer doesn't like the way you drive (law enforcement should be handling this), he shouldn't be attempting to take your car.
I believe this does happen. It's called voiding your warranty.

"This term can be interpreted in broad ways, and often includes racing/competition of any type, overloading the vehicle or off-roading. Potentially, anything outside of normal operation of the vehicle can be considered misuse. Some automakers will void your entire warranty for these infractions, and this decision is typically left to the discretion of the warranty administrator. Even if there is no proof but just signs of abuse, your warranty claim may be denied." -- https://www.edmunds.com/auto-warranty/what-voids-your-vehicles-warranty.html

You still have the car but your warranty is voided and they will no longer provide service for it. This situation is actually quite similar, they're still using Xenforo but you could say they 'voided their warranty' or license, in this case.
 
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DarthVader

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I believe this does happen. It's called voiding your warranty.
I don't believe they can void your warranty based on their judgement of your driving. There are people who have multiple accidents and their warranty doesn't get voided (not saying that accidents make you a bad driver - it could be the other persons fault). However, even if that was the case, where they would void the warranty based on your driving they cannot void the recalls (in XF case KiwiFarms can't even receive security updates)...
 

vikvaliant

Participant
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Messages
98
I don't believe they can void your warranty based on their judgement of your driving. There are people who have multiple accidents and their warranty doesn't get voided (not saying that accidents make you a bad driver - it could be the other persons fault). However, even if that was the case, where they would void the warranty based on your driving they cannot void the recalls (in XF case KiwiFarms can't even receive security updates)...
It can if the vehicle cannot be salvaged and is declared a total loss. After further reading through that wiki article I came across this...

"The Kiwi Farms community considers it a goal to drive its targets to suicide, and has celebrated such deaths with a counter on the website."
-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiwi_Farms

Is that salvageable? You tell me.
 

Slavik

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Messages
85
Refusing to sell the customer a good is one thing, but selling the customer a good and then taking it back is another. I think that's the difference here. The product was sold and in use for years, and now you try to take it back.

There is no "try to take it back". The license is invalid, they are using our software illegally at this point.

But, just to clear things up as the last guy I asked this to went mysteriously quiet afterwards. You are by this point supporting Kiwi Farms, its content, its users and suggest we re-instate their license?

Because, I see a lot of "oooh xenforo bad" drama from this thread, yet nobody is coming out to publicly support the site? Why is that? Is it that 99.99% of people actually think the site is completely abhorrent and agree with us, and the 0.01% of people are just trying to stir drama where there is none? Shock horror I know.
 

DarthVader

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It can if the vehicle cannot be salvaged and is declared a total loss. After further reading through that wiki article I came across this...

"The Kiwi Farms community considers it a goal to drive its targets to suicide, and has celebrated such deaths with a counter on the website."
-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiwi_Farms

Is that salvageable? You tell me.
At which point insurance replaces your vehicle. We're drifting a bit apart here. My main point was that the dealer cannot decide to revoke your vehicle based on the way you drive (warranty is something completely different anyways).

In regards to your second point about the sites slogan and motto - If I had to describe their user base - "a bag of potatoes" BUT that's just my OPINION.

There is no "try to take it back". The license is invalid, they are using our software illegally at this point.
Hence the phrasing "try to take it back" they are still using it...
But, just to clear things up as the last guy I asked this to went mysteriously quiet afterwards. You are by this point supporting Kiwi Farms, its content, its users and suggest we re-instate their license?
Please refrain from assuming who and what I support. I am not suggesting you reinstate their license. What I am suggesting is standards.

Will you be kind enough to answer my questions from earlier.
Is there any guidance on what content is acceptable and what's not?
Is there any guidance on reporting sites that contain content which is alike if not worse than KiwiFarms (some in foreign languages - how will this be handled)?

Because, I see a lot of "oooh xenforo bad" drama from this thread, yet nobody is coming out to publicly support the site? Why is that? Is it that 99.99% of people actually think the site is completely abhorrent and agree with us, and the 0.01% of people are just trying to stir drama where there is none? Shock horror I know.
It's not about people supporting or NOT supporting the site. The fact of the matter is that you've opened a door with the potential to start moderating SELF HOSTED sites. This is why im asking for guidance, standards of what XenForo finds acceptable and what they do not. As mentioned above what's considered NOT okay in one country (cannabis) is perfectly fine in another.

Say tomorrow I rub a XF staff member the wrong way, what's to stop them from saying "Hey we don't agree with your content so we're revoking your license". Chances are minimal but with the way KW was handled the chance of this happening is there.

Companies have the right to choose who to do business with but when companies start assessing and making decisions on what's right and what's wrong instead of allowing the law to handle that that's when it gets sticky.
 

TrixieTang

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But, just to clear things up as the last guy I asked this to went mysteriously quiet afterwards. You are by this point supporting Kiwi Farms, its content, its users and suggest we re-instate their license?

Because, I see a lot of "oooh xenforo bad" drama from this thread, yet nobody is coming out to publicly support the site? Why is that? Is it that 99.99% of people actually think the site is completely abhorrent and agree with us, and the 0.01% of people are just trying to stir drama where there is none? Shock horror I know.

You don't have to support KiwiFarms to think that it's a slippery slope if licenses start getting revoked because the content of a site is offensive/racist/whatever. Personally I think they're a bunch of, well... to put it nicely... complete tards who try way too hard to be edgy. Doesn't mean I think they should have their license revoked just for that (assuming that it was just that that caused the revocation).

Take for example the forum I mentioned earlier: HongFire. That site had its license revoked by Pirate Reports over content that was legal, but that the lead guy of Pirate Reports found morally wrong. vBulletin reinstated the license a few days later after outcry on Digg.

vBulletin almost never tried to police who they had as customers. As long as the site was legal and not distributing pirated software then they didn't seem to give a rat's ass who was using the software. Stormfront still uses it, the lovely folks over at n****mania still use it, and there were other forums with way worse content than HongFire that used it. I personally like that vBulletin generally didn't try to police who used their software. it was also nice to go look at some of the cesspits that were using the software just for the purpose of laughing at them.

"I disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it." - Some cancelled guy
 

Slavik

Participant
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Messages
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Is there any guidance on what content is acceptable and what's not?
Is there any guidance on reporting sites that contain content which is alike if not worse than KiwiFarms (some in foreign languages - how will this be handled)?

If there is a site which you believe to be violating the terms of the licensing agreement then you are welcome to submit the site to us in a ticket.

When you actually then go to submit a site and realize, you might not like the site but it isnt violating the agreement, it suddenly becomes a lot narrower than "we dont like your site".

Say tomorrow I rub a XF staff member the wrong way, what's to stop them from saying "Hey we don't agree with your content so we're revoking your license". Chances are minimal but with the way KW was handled the chance of this happening is there.

Hyperbole at its finest.
 

Oh!

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Oct 1, 2020
Messages
364
Refusing to sell the customer a good is one thing, but selling the customer a good and then taking it back is another. I think that's the difference here. The product was sold and in use for years, and now you try to take it back.

Imagine buying a brand new Toyota car (I have no issues with the dealer refusing to sell you the vehicle for WHATEVER reason they choose). However, let's say the dealer sells you that car, and a few years go by, and the dealer ends up driving by you and not liking the way you drive, at which point the dealer decides to "revoke" your car because of the way. You're driving. Just because the dealer doesn't like the way you drive (law enforcement should be handling this), he shouldn't be attempting to take your car.
The same goes for this incident; just because the XF team doesn't like your content (that should be up to law enforcement), they shouldn't be taking matters into their own hands. It just sends the wrong message.

"WE will revoke your license if WE don't like your content" New slogan?
I generally dislike analogies - they are almost always gross simplifications, or are poor analogies anyway. But let's go with your chosen analogy. Though we will need to correct your central comparison: the more correct analogy is to that of renting a car (not buying it). So, what do you think happens when a car rental compnay discovers that you are using their car in a manner they do not approve? This is the very first car rentral contract which came up in my search. I assume it is pretty typical:


In particular:

Article 8: Refusal to Conclude a Rental Agreement​

1. (5) When he or she has been determined to be a member of or involved with a crime syndicate or organization affiliated with a crime syndicate, or a member of some other antisocial organization ("organized crime etc." hereinafter), or facts have been identified that show that he or she has cooperated or been involved in maintenance and management of a crime syndicate or organization affiliated with a crime syndicate or has interacted with organized crime etc;
Oops.
 
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