As a software developer, you know how important a good software license agreement can be. Without one, there’s nothing to stop the purchaser of your software from redistributing the products of your hard work with no profits to you. The agreement also protects you from being sued for unlimited damages if your software causes unforeseen problems.
Often called an end-user license agreement, or EULA, a software license agreement is designed to govern the relationship between a software developer and the end user of a software product. Whenever you provide licenses that authorize end users to use your software, it’s a good idea to have this type of contract ready to go, with specific conditions to which the user must comply.
What Does a Typical Software Licensing Agreement Cover?
A software license agreement stipulates your license fee and authorizes end users to use your software, with specific limitations. For example, terms and conditions within the agreement can limit the user’s use and transfer of the software. These contracts typically also include a confidentiality agreement that prohibits the user from reproducing or disseminating the software to others.
Your software EULA may also include warranties, disclaimers, limitations of liability, and indemnity provisions that limit your exposure to damages caused by faulty or damaged software. For example, you may want to include terms and conditions in your EULA that protect you from liability if your software damages the user’s computer or data, or to cover situations in which the user causes consequential damage by using the software improperly.
What Other Types of Agreements Might I Need?
In addition to a master software license agreement, software developers often employ click-wrap end-user license agreements and shrink-wrap end-user license agreements. A shrink-wrap license is an agreement enclosed with packaged software that is typically printed on paper, while a click-wrap license is presented to the user on-screen during installation.
Both shrink-wrap and click-wrap software EULAs govern the relationship between the software developer and end user, and require the user to accept all conditions you impose before they can use the software. Typically, these agreements inform end users that the software is protected by copyright and intellectual property laws, and that it cannot be sold or transferred. Often, such agreements require the user to purchase separate licenses for each user or computer, and define your responsibility for providing replacements and upgrades.
Like a master software license agreement, these types of software EULAs limit your liability for any damages the software may cause.
Where Can I Get These Agreements?
Rather than trying to create EULAs from scratch, or trying to adapt someone else’s EULA to suit their needs, software developers often purchase unlimited-use template software EULAs that can be easily adapted for various software products.
ContractEdge offers a complete package of legally binding agreements for independent software vendors, including a master software license agreement, shrink-wrap and click-wrap software EULAs, mutual non-disclosure agreements, and software copyright assignment contracts.
ContractEdge offers sample contracts to use as a guide. A simple question-and-answer process guides the developer through the process of customizing the contracts, which can be used unlimited times for a single, low price. Once you’ve created your template software agreement, you may wish to run it by a lawyer for a quick review to ensure that it meets any unique requirements you may have.
Whether you’re developing boxed software for retail sale or a highly customized product for a single client, be sure to protect your business assets and the value of your work with an appropriate contract. Doing so reduces your liability and helps you maintain control over the software product you’ve created, even after it leaves your hands.
Writtten by Brenna Lemieux - check her out at Google+ or Twitter