I heard back from Themeforest and they are, so far, sticking with requiring an Extended license if a Ghost Install makes use a of paywall feature. John was copied on my ticket and I know there are others in the system as well.
I’ve asked to be escalated to someone at Envanto to have this stupid policy reviewed. In the course of my ticket with Envanto they said that a Regular license can be used to run a site like the Envanto Market place itself, but a small paywall newsletter requires an Extended license.
Here is the response I got:
I do apologise for the delay in our response.
Even though the Ghost platform offers the ability to set up a paywall for sites using the platform, alongside free content, the question here is whether the customer actually makes use of that functionality.
To clarify, if a customer does not deploy the paywall functionality in their End Product (even though the website might technically have this functionality available), then they would only need a regular license. If a customer does deploy the paywall functionality (ie, and has content/functionality behind a paywall) then an extended license is required.
If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact me back.
I’ve asked Ahmad, the author of the absolutely stellar Penang theme for a refund. I’ve also contacted him to see if I can purchase directly or if he will consider making his themes available elsewhere.
For clients where $2k is realistic, say as part of $35k web project, authors like Ahmad absolutely deserve $2k for their work. But for a small site with a shoestring budget, it’s not feasible.