Ok, let me see if I can explain this issue a little better.
- Can you use third party software (for example, Microsoft’s SQL Server) in your partner’s demo lab for testing your software?
- Can you go onsite to a prospect and use/leave SQL Server in a demonstration environment for 3 weeks, so they can test your software?
While you may not run into this issue every day, this is becoming a much more common licensing issue. The Lady Licensing Blog did a great job of addressing this, so I thought I would give her some recognition for the post and of course, add some of my own thoughts on the subject.
So here goes.
1) Check your License Agreement. While I am sure you had thought of this, I wanted to remind you, as this is where the rubber meets the road. It is ok to look at an FAQ or other online guide, but you should make sure that the actual license agreement specifically allows you to perform the specific demo and test activities (especially offsite). The Lady Licensing Post addressed this issues in her post (with a useful chart AND the license wording).
2) An Internal Use License is Not Enough. The key here is you need the specific right to use the third party software offsite, and specifically for “End User Testing,” “End User Demonstration,” etc. This specific wording is addressed in her blog, but I thought I would reproduce it here as it is super important.
3) Follow the Rules and You Should Be In the Clear.
So using the language/example above, you can use the software for:
(a) Internal Testing and Demonstration. Really not big give by the vendor, but nice to have it clearly described.
(b) Demonstration Purposes where you Retain “Control and Possession.” This is great, as it means you can take the software offsite, but you have to retain control and possession.
(c) Trial for End Users. If these 3 conditions are met (i) 120 day limit, (ii) removal after 120 days, and (iii) have an agreement with the end user.
So long story short, these are the kinds of things you should think about, when you need to use third party software for demonstration or testing purposes (especially offsite). Read your vendor’s agreement and dissect it as outlined above, as the keys to your rights should be in langauge like this. Oh yea, talking to a software attorney is probably a good idea too (but you knew that already).
Disclaimer: This post is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not legal advice. You should hire an attorney if you need legal advice, which should be provided only after review of all relevant facts and applicable law.