The purpose of software licensing is to validate your software install as a legally bought version of the software with the software developer. Typically, if you don’t activate your software within 30 days of installation it will stop working to full functionality or could stop working completely, however this can vary.
There are many ways that software can be licensed, and it depends on the developer of the software as to which types of license they offer:
- A license per installation (you pay for the software on each PC you install It on.)
- Concurrent licenses (you pay for 5 licenses, install the software on 10 PC’s but only 5 people can use it at once)
- User license (you pay for a license per person that uses it and they can use it on any computer)
There are also different types of license depending on its use for example:
Microsoft office for example, have a “Home & Student” package as well as a “Home & Business” package. If the software is being used for commercial purposes, it cannot use a “Home & Student” package as this violates the terms of the licence agreement, which is agreed by the end user when the product is purchased. Imagine you’re driving an HGV but you have a driving license for a car, yes you have a driving license but it’s not for the vehicle you’re driving.
This also applies for Educational or business licenses. Once you leave the place of employment or education you cannot use the software as the license is only for the use of members of that business or educational institution. Your use would be in breach of those terms and conditions.
“But I’m safe right? They’ll never come after me” – Wrong! Software developers can and do take legal action against individuals and companies for violating licensing terms and can request random license audits, There have been past cases of Microsoft genuinely contacting end users to audit their licences are then filed lawsuits for compensation when the incorrect licenses were used.
While that sounds harsh, software developers can lose billions in revenue each year from people not licensing their software correctly or at all. The long & short of it is if you don’t buy a legitimate license, you’re stealing from the software developer, it’s no different to walking into Argos and taking a microwave. You’ve taken a product without paying for it and kept it for yourself.
There is some software that is free!
Open Source software or Free software: Is software that is Free to use, modify and redistribute. Android is the best example of this, the Mobile phone operating system is now developed by Google and is an Open source project. This means that each manufacture can develop their own “flavour” of it by modifying the original source code provided by google, this allows them to release mobile phones with new software features and applications that their competitors do not have and to put custom branding options on the devices software.
Freeware: This is where the developer of the software gives it away to be used for free and no license is required to use it, however the software is closed source and cannot be modified or redistributed by 3rd parties. Adobe reader, Audacity Audio recorder & Notepad ++ text editor are all examples of freeware. They cost nothing to use but you cannot edit the source code for the software, so cannot modify it.
So to summarise, if you’re using software for commercial or educational purposes please make sure you license it correctly. Your licensing fee is what keeps the software developers running, if they aren’t making money, they can’t make any more software and you in turn, can’t use it.
Thanks for watching the video and reading my blog!
– Adam B