Changes in Software Licencing

Author: Kieron Doyle

Its fair to say that as recently as 10 years ago, licencing laws from software vendors large and small were often not taken seriously by businesses and other consumers. Licencing was either misunderstood or ignored by many to the immense frustration of software companies and we have seen many changes over recent years to prevent or penalise the misuse of software and to address the loss of income, inadequate records and lack of licencing awareness from consumers that has plagued the software companies.

The attitude of many businesses and other organisation was overly relaxed when it came down to whether they were compliant with licencing regulations. Users often misunderstood what was required of them to legitimately have the rights to use software, or they chose to push these requirements to one side due to the weak policing of licencing laws. Consequently, there has been a great deal of effort from the software companies to protect their own interests and their future revenues.

Actions taken by software houses include the following :

Time-locked licence keys

The use of time-locked licence keys, so that the software ceases to function beyond the agreed end date. These are typically annual agreements that are easily renewable.

Clearer messages

The much clearer message through marketing, advertising and clearer licencing terms that there will be substantial fines or even imprisonment for the Directors of non-compliant businesses and other organisations who abuse licencing laws.


The visibility by major software houses as to what is being used out there and the demands from them to submit their current licencing estate details and be accountable for discrepancies with little leeway for excuses or delays.

Cloud licencing

The focus on Cloud licencing and the immense growth of this sector. This is attractive to end users on the basis of spread cost, maintaining current versions, support and almost total up-time. Software houses gain through licence control, visibility, recurring revenues, price setting and cross-selling to their growing subscribers.

There have been areas with licencing which have been unclear and licences have been bought and used which are not legitimate for the platforms, sectors and network configurations that some users have in place. Getting this right and then maintaining the correct licencing year on year as numbers within organisations change is best managed by a good IT partner who has the knowledge, skills and audit tools to advise.

If you need any help or advice on licencing, then please do contact our IT experts at Hampshire Business Computers and we will work together with you to keep your business compliant.

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