Software license agreements: how to protect your keys?
Grant of the software license is very similar to granting your keys and getting reward. But do you really grant to everyone your keys? Of course not. Even if you are granting your keys to someone, you are giving them with some conditions. So what can be those conditions? The general questions, to which you should answer to, are whom you are giving your keys and what those conditions are.
Question №1: Whom
End-users: the people who can use your keys, and cannot give them to someone else.
Resellers: Those are people who can use your keys, make copies of them and sell to others.
Developers: you are giving your keys to key masters, who are making brand new keys from your old-fashioned keys.
Modifiers: people, who modify your keys, give it back to you or resale to someone else.
Everyone: You make a beautiful marketing of your keys and say publicly the place of your keys, so everyone can take your keys and pay for it (open source code agreements).
This is just part of the “whom” questions.
Question №2: Conditions
Exclusivity: you are granting your keys to one person and one person only. You cannot duplicate and give someone else.
Revocability: You are granting your keys with a condition that you can or cannot take your keys back and the conditions of returning the keys.
Perpetuity: you are granting your keys with some terms or without. Meaning you are either setting time of returning the keys or the keys remain at the disposal of grantee for perpetual.
Transferability: your keys can be transferred to others by the person, whom you gave your keys.
Sub-licensable: when your keys can or cannot be licensed to others. This means that there are two keys: the original one and a sublicense between the key holder and the one whom your key holders grants license.
There are number of other types of granting your keys, which are essential for your business. This is a business when just one word can interrupt your business totally. So whenever you are having similar issues, go to the people who know best the ways to keep your keys safe: to lawyers.
Senior Associate - Davit Amiryan