Frustrated with complex licensing?

Licensing-ComplexityAn article published in PCWorld details Tibco’s claim that Bank of America illegally copied US$300million worth of Tibco’s enterprise software for use in a massive IT project at its Merrill Lynch subsidiary.

It is hard to tell the rights and wrongs of this case from the detail currently available in the press, but our belief is that Bank of America would not intentionally do anything illegal and they will be mortified that this has broken into the press as it has.

Too often we see software publishers building land mines into their license terms and conditions that end-user organisations innocently walk into. The CCL wants to know if this is the first time an organisation has fallen foul of Tibco’s complex licensing terms and conditions? Can we share with the world the complex terms that Bank of America have fallen foul of to ensure everyone else that uses their software doesn’t similarly become unstuck?

CCL Guidance on Complex Licensing

Three rules we’d always advise our members to follow in cases like this:

  • If you  can’t measure it don’t buy it. Avoid complex licensing terms – if you don’t understand a software publishers license terms and they cannot show how you’d measure them with every day tools then don’t make the purchase
  • Adhere to SAM best practices. Ensure there’s always good communications – between IT project teams, procurement and the legal team so before you press the go button there are not gotchas with licensing your solution
  • Take the lead with licensing strategy Complex licensing and aggressive audit behaviour can make organizations forget their very basic rights – You are the customer! Look to the future and consider agreements that best suit your requirements and future plans.

The Campaign for Clear Licensing is building a library of complex licensing terms with the leading software publishers to help educate our members of the common pitfalls.  At CCL we believe by only working together as members will we have the voice to make the likes of Oracle, Microsoft, Adobe, Attachmate, IBM, HP and SAP sit up and take notice of your licensing frustrations.

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