‘I Agreed!’ — Wait..! For What?

If you have your own PC you know that when we install a software we have to confirm that we agree for their license agreement. Not only in that, but also for some updates happened in our software also ask us to confirm our obligation for their agreements. Most of the time, since we are in so much hurry to install or update our software we don’t really pay much attention to what that license agreement is about or what it says. So far, you may have not run in to any trouble with this ‘I agreed’ process. But you should know that this can be very crucial situation at any movement.

So… With today’s article we are going to discuss about what is a software license, what are the types of software licenses, copyright low, ownership vs licensing and much more to broaden your knowledge about what is going on under the hood with this ‘I Agreed’ process.

What is a Software License?

A software license is a legally binding agreement that outlines the terms and conditions for the use and distribution of software.

Most software is licensed but not sold, means that the end user must adhere to certain terms. The terms and conditions are frequently specified in the software License Agreement, and they typically include regulations and limits on how to use the software.

The Program License Agreement generally specifies how long you may use the software for , how many machines you can install it on, what sorts of usage are authorized (e.g., educational vs. commercial use), and limitations on reverse engineering, selling, or transferring the software.

Software licenses usually grant end users the right to make one or more copies of the software without infringing on third-party copyrights. The license also outlines the obligations of the licensees and may set limits on how the program may be used. Program licensing terms and conditions often contain provisions for fair use of the software, limitations of liability, warranties and disclaimers, and safeguards in the event that the software or its usage infringes on the intellectual property rights of others.

Types of Software License

Public domain.

This is the most permissive type of software license. The term “public domain” refers to a work that This is the most liberal software license kind. When software is released into the public domain, anybody can alter and use it without restriction. However, before incorporating it into your own codebase, you should always ensure that it is secure. Code that does not have an explicit license is NOT automatically released into the public domain. This comprises code snippets gleaned from the internet.

Permissive.

Permissive licenses are also referred to as “Apache style” or “BSD style” licenses. They provide just the bare minimum of restrictions on how the program may be changed or disseminated. This is the most common form of software license used with free and open source software. Aside from the Apache License and the BSD License, the MIT License is another popular version.

LGPL

The GNU Lesser General Public License allows you to include open source libraries in your software by linking to them. You may distribute your program under whatever license you choose, including a proprietary license, if you just build or link an LGPL-licensed library with your own code. However, if you change the library or transfer portions of it into your code, you must distribute your program under terms comparable to the LGPL.

Copyleft.

Copyleft licenses are often referred to as reciprocal or restricted licenses. The GPL is the most well-known example of a copyleft or reciprocal license. These licenses let you to change the licensed code and distribute new works based on it, so long as you release any new works or adaptations under the same software license. For example, the license for a component may state that the work is free to use and distribute for personal use only. As a result, any derivative you produce would be restricted to personal use only. (A derivative is any new program that you create that includes the component.)

In here software’s users would also have the ability to alter the code. As a result, you’d need to make your own source code public. However, disclosing your source code may not be in your best interests.

Proprietary.

This is the most restrictive form of software licensing. The concept is that all rights are reserved. It is commonly used for proprietary software that cannot be changed or shared.

Purchasing numerous licenses for various persons may be costly. However, multi-user packages or volume licensing are typically available, which may save you time and money.

What is Copyright low?

Copyright low is a set of rights that automatically vest in the creator of an original piece of authorship, such as a literary work, music, film, or software. These rights include the ability to reproduce the work, create derivative works, distribute copies, and publicly perform and exhibit the work.

Of course, there are some restrictions on the rights provided to copyright holders. Under certain conditions, anyone may use a work without obtaining permission from the copyright owner or paying the copyright owner to do so.

Software licenses and rights granted in context of the copyright according to Mark Webbink — from Wikipedia

What is Software Piracy?

Software piracy is defined as the unauthorized copying, installation, use, distribution, or sale of software in any manner other than that specified in the licensing agreement. The software business is suffering massive financial losses as a result of software piracy. End-users and dealers are both guilty of software piracy.

If you want to know how serious this situation is following article is highly recommended. Statistics from the Business Software Alliance show that 42 percent of software installed globally is not properly licensed, resulting in lost revenue of over $63 billion.

Ownership vs Licensing

Ownership means having complete control over the program and code. The original inventor has granted you complete rights.

Licensing is the authority granted by the program’s owner to do specific activities with the software, as specified in the licensing agreement.

A software license allows you to utilize a software product. It also controls software use, as do copyright laws, which prohibit illegal distribution or replication of software. A license may also specify, among other terms and conditions, whether you may install the program on more than one computer and if you can make backup copies of the software.

Even free software, often known as freeware, may come with a license that limits how it can be used. This is usually done to prevent a user from modifying the program in order to resell it.

You don’t actually own the software. That ownership rights belong to the software company, and you’re still limited by the terms and conditions of the license.

How to Choose the correct Software License

Before downloading software, consider what you will use it for, how you will use it, and how many machines you will use it on.

When acquiring software, attempt to purchase via legitimate channels and websites. Most respectable software businesses provide customer support lines or trialware that you may try before purchasing. Don’t put your faith in an offer or a website just because the price is reduced. If the price appears to be too good to be true, it most often is.

Take the time to thoroughly study the software licence agreement and comprehend all of the terms and restrictions. Keep an eye out for any unexpected limitations or requirements.

Remember, even free and open-source software can include obligations for reuse!

Why we need to use license software?

  1. You will receive technical assistance using authentic software, providing a dependable support system.

2. You receive complete instructions and documentation with the product, which clarifies your usage rights.

3. You have access to updates, upgrades, and security fixes to better meet your technological demands and improve your computer experience.

4. You prevent needless IT and cyber security threats to your PCs and network, as well as the loss of sensitive company information.

5. If you use pirated software, you may face legal or criminal liability under copyright laws, which might harm your reputation.

So.. I hope that now you have a clear understand about what actually this license agreements do and why we need it. Next time, without doing it automatically, take your time and let yourself know what your are doing by pressing ‘I Agreed’. Remember that this is something about your reputation and professionalism! So be careful! Be genuine!

Written by,

R.A.W. Lalendra Bsc

(hons) Software Engineering undergraduate

University of Kelaniya Sri Lanka

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