We all know about the restrictive clauses in the shrink-wrap and click-wrap licence agreements accompanied with most software purchases (read “rentals, as most of these are rentals as per the agreement and not outright purchase, even though the link / button said ‘BUY / Purchase’ on the website).
In this article I want to expound on 2 more items usually included in these licence agreements that need some thought before you buy (read “rent”) the software:
1) Extended inspection and audit rights – These rights grant the software company the right to inspect your IT systems and related peripherals for any breach of licence terms while you are using their product, This means they can come and check your confidential data as well. (seriously risky). Many institutions and businesses have settled such disputes with out of court settlements as the potential hassle and risk of information is high.
2) Liability to penalties from third parties – While you are using the product of the software company, you may also be penalized by a third party which thinks their intellectual or other rights, property, etc has been misused by the software vendor in commercially selling the software and you using it for your business. In many cases, the liability to the vendor is restricted by a disclaimer in their licence agreement and thus you (the end consumer) becomes the target of an expensive individual or class action to indemnify the supposedly aggrieved third party.
So what to do? How to be safe from these hassles when buying / renting commercial proprietary software.
Well, the best defence is to only use those proprietary software which have been in the market for a while and being used by many other people / organizations.
Or better yet, as far as possible, move to open source software. These days we have open source operating systems, office suites, graphic applications, and what not.
I have been using open source myself for last 3 years and works like a charm, Of course you may not have the latest apps all the time, but then you can’t have everything my love.
let us be at peace with tech universe