Software Use Rights 101: The Different Scenarios

8 Feb 2016

What are software use rights?


The right to use your software derives from the license agreement. This will detail specifically the software use rights and how you are allowed to use it in different scenarios. Although there are many different use cases, there are a number of standard ones that are common across the major vendors like Microsoft and Adobe.

These include the following types:



This allows you to install the latest version of the software for no extra cost. However, it can be very hard to manage in many organizations due to the fact that some licenses are under maintenance (which typically allow for this free upgrade) and some are not. This requires a good software license optimization tool to manage well.



Enables you to buy a later version (usually the current version) of a product that you currently use, but install an earlier version of the product instead. You would do this, for example, where you have a standard desktop deployment image that uses a version of something that you can no longer buy.


Server virtualization

This allows software to be installed on a number of virtual machines and only count as 1 license.


Secondary use

This gives the right to install an application on a desktop, as well as a laptop and only count this as a single license used.


Disaster recovery

Allows you to install software on a live server and a backup server at the same time using the license of only the live server.


Multiple installations

This enables you to install the same application on a device many times and it only counts as one license. These are usually different versions. However, older ITAM tools operating at the file scan level have an erroneous habit of picking up unclean uninstalls (where part of the program has been left behind) as a multiple installation.

If you have any questions on your license agreement or software use rights, please get in touch.

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