A Software License is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions for the use and distribution of software.

End-users are typically granted the right to make one or more copies of software without infringing on third-party rights. The license also specifies the obligations of the parties to the license agreement and may impose limitations on how the software can be used.

Software licensing terms and conditions typically include fair use of the software, liability limitations, warranties, and disclaimers. They also include safeguards in case the software or its use violates the intellectual property rights of others.

Software licenses are typically proprietary, free, or open-source. 

What are the various kinds of software licenses?

There are two types of software licenses, which differ according to how they are viewed under copyright law.

  • FOSS (free and open-source software) licenses are frequently referred to as open-source. Along with the software product, the customer has access to the FOSS source code. The customer is usually permitted to modify the software using the source code.
  • Closed source is another term for proprietary licenses. Customers are given an operational code. This software cannot be freely modified by users. These licenses usually also prohibit reverse-engineering the software’s code in order to obtain the source code.

Why are software licenses important?

A software license defines the rights of all parties involved in the software, including the author, provider, and end-users. It defines the software company’s relationship with users and explains how they are protected.

How do license agreements safeguard developers?

  • They use copyright laws to protect developers’ intellectual property and trade secrets.
  • They restrict what others can do with the protected software code.
  • They limit the vendor’s liability.

How do license agreements safeguard users?

  • They specify what users can do with software code that was not written by them.
  • They define how users can stay in compliance with software licenses, avoid infringement claims, and limit their legal liability.
  • They assist users in maintaining good relationships with software developers and vendors.
  • They prevent license overspending by establishing clear parameters for how many licenses an organization requires.

Student Software License

The student license is a single license that allows only one user to use the software for purposes like personal training, academic uses and others. The student license is valid only for certain days generally after activation and must be extended if needed.

Software usage and software licensing

In situations with using the University’s software and software licenses, students must comply with copyright, special conditions for copyright holders, the University’s internal policies and rules, and the conditions published on the University’s Student Software Server or similar portals. Commercial use of the University’s software and software licenses is not permitted. Software and license codes must be managed in such a way that unauthorized use is avoided. Upon completion of studies, all software provided by the University must be uninstalled.

Software License Management

  • When purchasing a single or multiple software, existing agreements, terms, and conditions must first be reviewed on the website’s common licence pages of the software.
  • The use of open software should always be considered by students.
  • Wherever possible, the software (especially the one meant for students) should support open standards.
  • Individual software purchases must be managed by the department/Local unit’s Licensing Manager.
  • Purchases must be made in accordance with internal framework agreements or, if applicable, government framework agreements. When signing major agreements, ‘blanket’ site licences should be obtained where administratively and financially feasible.


Licensing software protects both the software company and the end-user. Unlicensed software is illegal and can cost you money and time. It could also have a negative impact on productivity and efficiency.

If you work for a company or organization, having a software licensing policy in place and discouraging the use of unlicensed software in writing can be beneficial. Being smart about software licensing can help you succeed and save you a lot of headaches in the long run.