SMF is fully open source, under the BSD license. With this new license, distribution from any source outside of simplemachines.org is allowed, but is outside of our control. If you are having problems with such a distribution, please download the official release from our site before asking for support. Additionally, support will be provided to sites with a valid copyright displayed. Although you, under the BSD license, have permission to remove or alter the copyright, the staff here reserves the right to not provide support to sites which have removed or altered the copyright.
Dealing With Forum Abuse
Very often people encounter content posted on a forum that they disagree with, take offense to or believe infringes on copyrights. We've collected this listing of Frequently Asked Questions to help you determine your best course of action. Please read this page before contacting us with a complaint, as many questions will be answered below.
- "I see a "© Simple Machines" or "© Simple Machines LLC" in the footer - isn't it your site?"
- Simple Machines Forum (SMF) is an open source, free forum software package that webmasters can download and install on their own websites. If you see a copyright as above, it probably means that the webmaster of the site is using our software. This means that no, the site isn't ours - they simply use our product. At this time, Simple Machines only owns and operates http://www.simplemachines.org and http://www.yabbse.org, including various sub-domains. A website running on any other URL is not under our control. (This includes some websites which may use smf in their name, such as smfforfree and smfservices, none of which are official Simple Machines sites.).
- "What's the fastest way to get results?"
- The first rule in dealing with forum abuse is keeping a level head and being civil. Firing off an email threatening litigation and throwing around insults will only galvanize them against you. Always make the first step a polite notice indicating the nature of your complaint and a polite request for resolution. If this message is ignored, then proceed accordingly. Contact their host, or perhaps have your lawyer send a proper cease and desist letter. Keep in mind though - don't lose your cool. More often than not, the slight is unintended, and can readily be resolved.
- "Who should I contact with my complaint?"
- The first person you should contact is the administrator of the forum. Register on the forum, find the administrator and send them an email or personal message on the forum. If they do not respond to your petition you should contact the host of the forum, to determine whether or not the forum is in contravention of the hosts's acceptable use policy.
- "Who is hosting the forum?"
- The Simple Machines copyright at the footer of the forum software does not indicate that we are the host - rather it indicates that we are the company that owns copy rights to the forum software, much like Microsoft owns the copyright to the code behind Microsoft Word. If you would like to determine the host, you should look at the WHOIS information for the domain name.
- "How can I contact the owners of the forum/web site"
- The first way is to register on the forum or web site in question, and try to contact them through the tools provided on the site. If that fails, try examining the whois information for the website. A great tool for checking whois information is http://www.checkdomain.com.
- "They are posting my copyrighted material, how do I stop them?"
- The first step is to get in touch with the owner of the site. If you can prove that the material is being distributed without permission, contact the host to have them temporarily suspend the offending account.
- "How can I get the personal contact information or IP address for a user on a forum?"
- In short, you can't. You really only have two ways - the first is to ask the member for their contact information, the second is to take the complaint to a court of law, and have a court order issued to collect the information. The reason for this is that in most countries, privacy legislation prevents the website owner from sharing that information with you.