.. nses authorize use at a single site, but are slowly being phased out and replaced by enterprise licenses. Enterprise licenses cover all sites within a corporation because of more virtual computing environments. Node licenses are also slowly being phased out because they are mainly used in a client/server environment , since the licensed software may be used only on a specified workstation in which a user must log on to in order to access and execute the software application. Currently the trend in a network system is to use measurement software, which allows vendors to be more flexible in licensing arrangements.
This management software monitors and restricts the number of users or clients who may access and execute the application software at any one time. This is significant because a user pays only for needed use and a vendor can monitor such use to protect intellectual property. A new type of license that is emerging is known as a, [email protected] license. This type of license work on the basis that it provides to the end user a specified dollar amount of software licenses. For example, licenses for different business application software, so long as the total value in use at a given time is less than dollars. Another type of license emerging is known as a [email protected] licensing, which one license permits software to be used on a variety of different computer systems within a business, instead of buying a different license for each version of the same software used by different systems. The most common type of licensing is known as [email protected], the concept behind this that the licenses terms are deemed accepted once the end user breaks a shrink-wrap seal or opens a sealed envelope containing the software.
A reason for these new types of licensing emerging is that when software licensing was first introduced, the software development firms assumed that most businesses would use the software for a 8 to 10 hour period. Yet, did not take into consideration that with the advancement of technology, more businesses would want a [email protected] license across the world for 24 hours – thus it was not cost effective for the software development firm. A floating license is a license that is made available to anyone on a network. The licenses are not [email protected] to particular workstations, instead they [email protected] to modes on the network. Shareware, freeware and public domain are different type of software available to the end user, and are distinguished by different rules about how programs may be distributed, copied, used and modified.
The term [email protected] refers to software that is distributed at a low cost, but which requires usually a payment after a certain time period and registration for full use. Copies of this software are offered on a trial basis, the end user is free to try a scaled down version of the program. If the end user wants the shareware program, included in the program is information specifying how to register the program and what fee is required. Once registered the end user will typically receive a printed manual, an updated copy of the software (often with additional features), and the legal right to use the program in their home or business. The advantage that shareware has is that it lets the end user thoroughly test a program to see if it=s useful before making a purchase.
The authors of shareware programs retain their copyright on the contents, and as other copyrighted software should not be pirated. Freeware is also distributed at a very low cost and like shareware is found mainly on the Internet. The authors of the freeware program do not expect payment for their software. Typically, freeware programs are small utilities or incomplete programs that are released by authors for the potential benefit to others, but the drawback to this is that there is no technical support. Public domain software is generally found on the Internet and is released without any condition upon its use.
It may be copied, modified and distributed as the end user wishes to do. A license manager is a system utility-like application that controls or monitors the use of another end-user application. It is generally implemented to protect intellectual property (meaning to stop illegal copying) and/or to become more competitive by offering new ways in which to evaluate, purchase and pay for software. Since the license manager controls the number of application users, there is not a need to control the number of application copies. This process lets the end user run one or more applications between machines, without violating the terms of the license agreement.
SPA has created a program that companies can use to help discover and correct problems before they result in legal actions, fines and also negative publicity. The eight point program is as follows: 1. Appoint a software manager to implement and monitor all aspects of company software policy. 2. Implement a software codes of ethics for everyone to adhere to.
The ethics should state that copyrighted software, except for backup and archival purposes, is a violation of the law. 3. Establish a procedure for acquiring and registering software. Determine your companies software needs, evaluate software packages, and also have supervisors approve the plans. Keep the lines of communication open.
4. Establish and maintain a software log. The log should state the date of when the software was acquired, the registration of it, serial number, network version, location of where the software is in use, where the original is, licensing agreement and the location of the original disks. 5. Conduct periodic audits or on a as needed basis comparing the software log and/or other purchase records. 6. Establish a program to educate and train your employees about every aspect of software and its uses.
7. Maintain a library of software licenses and provide users with copies of the agreement. 8. Having done the above seven points, the company can benefit by having obtained software legally, receive full documentation, technical support when needed and also upgrade notices. Patents do not cover specific systems, instead they cover particular techniques that can be used to build systems or particular features that systems can offer. Patent grants the inventor a 17 year monopoly on its use.
Once a technique or feature is patented, it may not be used in a system without the permission of the patent-holder – even if it is implemented in a different way. Since a computer program usually uses several techniques and provides many features, it can infringe many patents at once. A computer program is built out of ideal mathematical objects whose behavior is defined, not modeled approximately, by abstract rules. An example of this is Borland International, Inc. complained in the 1st Federal District Court gave Lotus Development Corp.
the benefit of patent protection to Lotus 1-2-3 menu commands and their order, but failed to require Lotus to meet the requirements of patent law, including novelty, examination and contribution to the prior art. The Supreme Court sided with the 1st Circuit decision that one entity cannot own the user interface to programs. Meaning such as file formats, menu structures and programming languages. Software license agreements emerged as the most popular means of protection of proprietary rights in computer software. They coexist with other forms of intellectual property rights as patent and copyright.
Software license agreements serve several functions in transactions involving the transfer of computer technology. One of the most important legal functions is the protection of the proprietary rights of the licenser in the transferred software. Other functions include controlling the revenue generated by licensed software and determining the rights and responsibilities of the parties regarding the performance of the licensed technology. Issue related to these functions include the applicability of Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code, including offer and disclaimer of warranties, determining the appropriate types of licenses to utilize, such as single users/CPU licenses, Site/enterprise licenses and network/concurrent licenses Trade secret, copyright and patent law are [email protected] forms of protection in the sense that they may exist independently of any underlying business transactions and do not necessarily require any transfer of intellectual property from one party to another. Whereas, the need for a license agreement usually arises as one of the contractual forms of protection when the underlying business transaction involves the transfer of intellectual property, such as computer software.
Transactions involving the transfer of computer software are subject to both federal and state laws. Generally, state law governs contractual and trade secrets aspects of the transaction, while federal law governs aspects related to patent, copyright and antitrust issues. Each state has its own version of a doctrine of a trade secret, the common thread through these state-specific laws is that if you show that you are seriously treated information as confidential and that the confidential information helped your competitive position, you can stop others from using it if the information was improperly acquired by them, and even collect damages from the wrongdoers. A computer is useless without software. The two types of software typically found on a computer are operating systems software and application software. Operating system software [email protected] [email protected] that makes it easier to develop programs for the system by reducing the amount of code that must be written.
The operating system acts as an interface between the computer hardware, application programs and the end user. Application software consists of one or more computer program that fulfill a specific function for the user like word processing, bookkeeping or financial analysis. Two legal cases recently within the last few years has brought to light the controversy regarding the copyright protection of software elements. Until 1992, most of the federal courts followed the decision in Whenlan v Jaslow Dental Laboratory as a precedent of similar cases. Whenlan, a small software company wrote a accounting program for Jaslow Dental Laboratory company.
Jaslow rewrote the software to run on personal computers and proceeded to sell the product. The software was identical to Whenlans in the data structures, logic, and the program structure, except for the source code. Jaslow argued that the duplicated elements were part by the of the idea – not the expression. The court in response felt that the data structures, logic, and the program structure comprised to make a single function of a computer program, therefore copyright protection should be given to those elements also. In 1992, this protection was weakened by Computer Associates v. Altai, Inc.
, when Altai a software developer was accused of copying various modules of a software package developed by Computer Associates which controlled the running of applications on IBM mainframes. The court rejected Whelan=s premise that a computer program embodies one function because programs are made up of sub-routines that contain their own idea. The court recognized this would narrow the scope of software copyright protection and found this in accordance with Congressional intent of computer programs with copyright. This resulted in why currently software copyright is not as broad as it once was. Bibliography: Brandel, William, “Licensing stymies users,” URL:”http://www.viman.com/license/license.html#pol icy”, Viman Software, Inc., 1994. Business Software Alliance, “Software Piracy and the Law,” URL:”http://www.bsa.org/bsa/docs/soft pl.html”, Business Software Alliance, 1995.
Software Publishers Association, “SPA Anti-Piracy Backgrounder,” URL:”http://www.spa.org/piracy/pi back.htm”, Software Publishers Association, 1995.