As software licensing attorneys, we realize that there are many different forms of licensing agreements and many ways to license software. We also understand that software buyers often don’t read the end user license agreements (EULAs). However, software vendors do need to understand and think through their software license agreements to make sure they match the business model. Said another way, we have found that there is no one size fits all software license agreement (but there are templates to start from). So no matter how you license your software, you need to get educated about software licensing issues.
What are the hot issues in software licensing (from the perspective of a software licensing attorney)? Well, here are a few.
1) Microsoft drafted their most recent Windows 8 EULA with an embedded FAQ. This may not seem like a big issue at first, but let me tell you it is. They actually made their software license agreement easier to read, as the first part is an FAQ. Take a look.
2) Can a third party use or access your software? A lot of clients ask me this question, so we thought we would answer it in this blog post. Here is a link to the post.
3) Did you know that telling your customers to backup their data makes a difference? Well, the Utah Supreme Court addressed the issue and it is worth learning about. Here is the post.
4) Have you thought about third party demo and test licensing issues? If not, then here is a blog post I wrote on the issue that should be helpful. More info here.
As you can probably figure out, software licensing issues are not simple, so it is a good idea to talk to someone who deals with these issues every day (like a software licensing attorney). However, even though the licensing issues may not be simple, your software license agreement does not have to be complicated. Yep, you read it right, your agreements do not have to be complicated. We actually think the trend in the industry is to draft simple, clear and plain English software license agreements. You can read more about our drafting style here. I know it sounds a little crazy that attorneys have a drafting style, but we actually do.
So when you are thinking about hiring a software licensing attorney, make sure you hire an attorney who does not have to re-invent the wheel, can simplify the complex (not the opposite) and understands the business of software (=software licensing attorney).