One of the most common areas of disagreement in software development (customer and developer) and app sales (app owner and purchaser) is the software license scope.
Now if you’re granting the license (the licensor), you want the license to be narrowly tailored so that the recipient’s rights are minimized. On the flip side, if you’re receiving a license (the licensee), you want to get as many rights as possible.
Unfortunately, both licensors and licensees rarely think this through prior to app development or the sale of a software license. The consequence of this lack of attention to an important detail is that neither party understands who owns what and can do what with the application.
Just leaving it to the lawyers to figure out is punting on the responsibility to identify what you actually want (and don’t want) out of a software licensing deal.
So, what’s the solution?
New App License
If a license hasn’t been issued yet, set your goals for the software license.
- What are you trying to accomplish with the app license?
- What are you trying to avoid?
- What rights do you want to have?
- What rights should the other party have?
- What should the other party not be able to do after the license is granted?
- What should you not be able to do because of the license’s restrictions?
And once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to get an experienced software lawyer involved. Explain to him what you want to accomplish and then let him put it into legalese that meets your goals and legally protects you too. This draft software licensing agreement is the starting point for getting what you want.
Changing An Existing Software License Scope
What if a license has already been issued but one or both parties is unhappy with the status quo?
Identify the points of contention between licensor and licensee.
Then discuss these issues with an experienced software attorney who can advise you how to resolve them.