How can software license agreements help protect my software?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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A software license agreement offers a contractual remedy against the user for failing to comply with any provision in the agreement. This is in addition to any other legal remedies that may be available, such as those under copyright law. A software license agreement should set forth the parameters and restrictions on use of the software. They are also important to limit the software owners’ liability for use of the software, which can significantly lower the site’s risk of doing business.

These agreements can also waive legal warranties, which are implied into the sale of software including warranties of non-infringement. Finally, the agreement can state the venue for any litigation, which can save future costs if disputes arise. Click for more information on the clauses and these contracts in detail as well as forms to cover these situations.

Primary Purpose of Software Licensing Agreements

The primary purpose of licensing agreements is to help customers understand the difference between using the software and owning it. When software is licensed out, the purchasers do not fully own the software. By offering a contractual remedy for license violations you are creating an added bite should your purchasers choose to violate your parameters for how customers can use the software you created and copyrighted.

Additionally, the licensing agreement will offer greater specificity to your customers as to what they are and are not permitted to do with your software. Examples of licensing limitations include limiting the amount of computers that the software can be downloaded onto, limitations on accessing the software’s code, preventing customers from selling or transferring your software to other businesses, and limiting the amount of tech support they can do on their own versus what they must contact you to complete.

Getting Help Drafting a Software License Agreement

If you are considering licensing out your software to buyers, contact a copyright attorney about drafting a software license agreement in order to protect your creation. 

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