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  • What is Software Licensing?
  • What are Software License Laws?
  • Which Specific Laws regulate software Licensing?
  • What is the Importance of Software License?

Enabling an individual or gathering to utilize a bit of software will be Software licensing. Almost all applications are licensed as opposed to sold. There are a wide range of sorts of software licenses. Some depend on the number machines on which the licensed program can run though others depend on the quantity of clients that can utilize the program. Most PC software licenses enable you to run the program on just a single machine and to make duplicates of the software just for reinforcement purposes. A few licenses additionally enable you to run the program on various PCs as long as you don't utilize the duplicates all the while. A software license (or software license in region use) is a legitimate instrument administering the utilization or redistribution of copyright secured software.

What is Software Licensing?

A software license is a legal instrument usually by way of contract law, with or without printed material governing the use or redistribution of software. Under copyright law all software is copyright protected, in source code as also object code form. The only exception is software in the public domain. A typical software license grants the licensee, typically an end-user, permission to use one or more copies of software in ways where such a use would otherwise potentially constitute copyright infringement of the software owner's exclusive rights under copyright law.

Software licenses are categorised as following-

  • Proprietary software is software which is the legitimate property of one party. The terms of utilization for different parties is characterized by contracts or licensing agreements. These terms may incorporate different benefits to share, adjust, and utilize the software and its code
  • A free software license is a software permit which gifts beneficiaries rights to adjust and redistribute the software which would some way or another be denied by copyright law. A free software permit awards, to the beneficiaries, flexibilities as consents to change or disperse copyrighted work.
  • Open source software alludes to any program whose source code is made accessible for utilize or change by clients and is made unreservedly accessible. Open Source empowers the clients to see and adjust the source code.

What are Software Licensing Laws?

There are no specific laws on software licensing in India. A computer Software Contract is governed by the principles of Indian Contract Act,1872. If the software is taken as goods then The Indian Sales of Goods Act,1932.
In the case of TCS the Apex Court considered computer software as goods. Even Intellectual Property once put into a media such as CD or DVD is considered as goods.

Specific Laws regulate software Licensing

Software licence are regulated by the Copyright Laws, Contract Laws, & the Trade Secret Laws.

  • Copyright’s Law – it has been framed in accordance with the changes demanded by TRIPS.
  • Contract Law- breach of contract under section 75 can secure the infringement under software licensing agreements. The infringement of the states of license is however subject to translation and rationale. The licensor however can secure such license by explicitly giving the terms and conditions under the assertion identifying with the rights and liabilities of the licensee and licensor himself. Just issue common in the viable market is the "standard terms" of the license which the licensee frequently overlooks while tolerating the license before downloading the software. The Indian courts have a cracked sentiment with respect to these STANDARD TERMS. Some have favoured the merchants and some have favoured the licensee
  • Trade Secret Law talks about protection of undisclosed information
  • Income Tax- software licensing, income emerging from permitting 'right to use' of Indian software purchasers is really offer of copyrighted article which does not include exchange of copyright and such receipt isn't royalty under Sec 9(1)(vi).

Importance of Software Licensing -

Businesses must be savvy in the licenses they purchase to ensure firstly they are using software legally and secondly, they aren’t paying for licenses that aren’t being used. By acquiring too many software licenses you’re wasting company resources, without enough you leave yourself liable to a potential lawsuit (which is quite costly). Finding the right license agreement can also make it easier to manage software in your company.

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