Why software use rights are important

10 Apr 2017 | SAM/SLO

When you purchase a software license, you do not own the software as you would with almost any other type of product. What you get is a right to use the cover with certain restrictions. These restrictions are detailed in your license agreement and cover things like:

• Where you can use it – country etc.
• The device types you can use it on
• How long you can use it for – perpetual or time constrained

One important factor that is sometimes overlooked, but is very important in optimizing your software licences are the use rights granted in the license agreement. These detail exactly how you can use the software in different scenarios, and so a close examination of these is always worthwhile when negotiating your license agreement.

Most common software use rights

Although use rights vary between the major software vendors, there are still some common ones that we have outlined below:

• Upgrade – this allows you to install the latest version of the software at no extra cost. Usually this right is given for subscription agreements or if you have taken out software maintenance.
• Downgrade – this enables you to use an older version of the software than the one you have licensed. Typically you would use this when you have a standard desktop image you deploy (say on Windows 7) but have just re-negotiated your license for Windows 10. You will not want to upgrade all these older desktops until you are ready. This is an important right, but some online subscription services, such as Office 365, remove it, so make sure you check the details of your agreement.
Virtualization – this right allows you to deploy multiple installations of a piece of software on virtualized machines and only pay for 1 license. This area is a real minefield that you need to look at closely. Although server virtualization can save you money, the savings can be completely wiped out by the extra licensing costs you can easily incur without proper understanding of your user rights for virtualization.
• Secondary use – allows you to install the software on both a desktop and laptop and count this as one license.
• DR use – this allows you to install a copy of the software onto both your live and backup servers whilst only counting it as one license utilized.
• Multiple installations – install the same application on a device many times (typically different versions) but only count it as one license.

Understanding your use rights is an important first step in ensuring that you can fully optimize your software licenses, allowing you to only buy and use the software you need. It is not easy, so if you need any help, please get in touch, our experienced and software vendor trained consultants will be happy to help.