Ajarn Mark Caldwell Blog

Bringing Business Sense to the IT World…

Reading Software Licensing Agreements

Do you read software licensing agreements when you install software?  Maybe you should.  I must confess that most of the time I just quickly skim them to see if anything dramatic jumps out at me.  Sometimes I don't even bother to do that because I know I'm going to use the software, such as Outlook, and there's not much I can do about the terms anyway.

I just installed a trial version of Embarcadero's ER/Studio to see if it will be a good tool for my next project.  I happened to just skim the licensing agreement and ran across this section (emphasis added):

e) Licensee is expressly prohibited from using the Software on behalf of or for the benefit of parties not licensed to use the Software (e.g. Licensee may not use the Software for consulting purposes or project proof of concepts or for such similar arrangements where Licensee is performing services for an unlicensed third party).

Now, I'm no lawyer, but it seems pretty clear that this is a term of the license that could really negatively impact me as an independent contractor.  I may need to have my lawyer review this to find out just exactly what limit it puts on me in terms of project work I do for others.  As for my specific next project, if we use this software, we would convince the client to buy their licenses and I think that would clear up the concern.  However in the future, what limits are put on my use of this software by this clause?  Can I use it for development and documentation for my own work, but then not provide that documentation (even in print form) to the client unless they buy a license?  Can I use it to produce documentation in order to convince the client of its value and sell them on the idea of buying a license?  Could be tricky...

Legacy Comments

Should I take that memo in longhand Mr. Cadwell
Give me a break.

The design studio is neat and powerful, and will create everything you need.

Or, you could throw up some paper on the wall, draw your boxes with lines between them, add the attributes...convert it all to a paper physical model...hire some monkeys...and type the DDL by hand...

well I guess I see their point....what's the cost? 5 grand these days? How many hours is that in your time?