What is a software beta test?
A beta test is when you have third parties test your software in its final development stages before releasing the software. Unlike earlier testing, these third parties are usually not your software developers.
During beta testing, you’ll be able to identify and patch bugs, address incompatibility issues, fine tune software usability based on beta tester feedback, and other tweaks for items that were missed during earlier stages of development.
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What is a software beta test agreement?
It’s a written contract that spells out the terms and conditions under which a beta tester can use the software. This agreement is sometimes referred to as a “beta test license” or similar language.
What are the key parts of the contract?
Your software beta test agreement’s terms should include the following.
1. License. The contract should identify the scope of the beta test software license. For example, the license will be non-exclusive and revocable. The agreement should make it clear how long your beta testers can use the software. For example, when the testing period ends, does the right to use the software’s beta version also end or can testers continue to use it?
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2. No Conflicts. The contract should require the beta tester to represent that the tester does not have a conflict of interest. For example, you probably don’t want one of your competitor’s employees having access to a beta version of your software.
3. Reporting and Feedback. Your software beta testing agreement should describe the information collected from the beta testers, any automated reporting that the software will do for bugs and other problems, and any duties by testers to provide additional feedback beyond the automated reporting.
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4. Intellectual Property Ownership. Your contract should make it clear that your company owns the software that is being beta tested. If there are any restrictions on the use or distribution of the software, the agreement should clearly identify such.
5. Confidentiality. The beta testing software agreement should stress the importance of protecting your confidential information and an agreement by the beta tester not to share such information with others.
6. Disclaimers. You should include disclaimers in order to limit potential liability to your beta testers if something goes wrong during testing. This includes disclaiming certain software warranties.
7. Beta Updates. If you are patching the beta version and providing manual or automated beta updates for the testers to use, the agreement should cover these updates.
Where do you get a software beta testing agreement?
If you want to protect your software during beta testing, you should retain an experienced app attorney to prepare your software beta testing agreement.
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