Software licensing laws


Computer software is essential to many businesses and individuals and is often a key component to daily life and work. Most users rely heavily on their software and will use several different programmes every day. It will therefore come as a surprise that many people are flouting software licensing laws without even knowing it.

Problems mostly arise in small to medium-sized businesses where, for example, software will be used on more than one computer without the software proprietor realising that this is not allowed by the license agreement. What is most prevalent is that many people do not realise that, under software licensing laws, they do not have an exclusive right to the product they bought (i.e. the right to do as they please) but actually just have permission to use the software in a certain way.

Software licensing laws can be hard to understand and therefore terms such as ‘end-user licence agreement’ can seem mystifying, resulting in the user inadvertently breaching the agreement. Nevertheless these licence agreements need to be kept and filed meticulously and should be available for inspection at any time. This is because the Business Software Alliance, an international regulatory body protecting against software piracy, can fine businesses that contravene software licensing laws and even incentivise employees to act as whistle-blowers.

Piracy is a problem in the IT industry which is why software licensing laws exist - to protect the software-copyright owners. The problem of piracy is often overlooked and is not seen as a major concern for many people. To ensure that you and your business are within the law, seek expert legal advice and keep licences well filed.  

If you would like to obtain legal advice or information on software licensing laws then Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist software licensing / IT solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local software licensing / IT  solicitors please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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