The license agreement is the most widely used instrument for the software’s marketing. This is an atypical contract, as the law does not regulate it, it is bound by consent and generally requires a payment. Through this transaction the licenser grants the licensee the right of the software for a period of time, either definite or indefinite, and through a royalty payment.
The shrink-wrap licence
Amongst the various types of licences, one of the most prevalent is the so-called “shrink-wrap licence”, this is in order to speed up the marketing of the software and because of the impossibility of using the written form for the related transactions. In this case the licenser/producer packs the support containing the software in a wrapper showing on the outside the general conditions of the contract, and the same contract is concluded at the time the user actually opens the wrapper without the necessity of any signatures.
Regarding the contract’s content, there are various kinds of contracts, there are those where the right of utilization is given for a definite or indefinite period of time on payment of royalty, either annual or a once off sum; “test” contracts, with which the use of the software is given to the licensee, on a trial basis, for a certain period of time, during which he will evaluate whether to buy it or not, whilst at the deadline, should he want to continue using it, he could only on payment of the total royalty.
The open source
Another type of licence contract is the open source, through which the licensee has the right of access to the source code of the software, of modifying it to create other programs and make copies both of the original software and of the program reprocessed by him for their distribution, even requiring royalties.
The oem licence
One of the most convenient software’s licensing agreement, from an economical point of view, is the OEM licence contract, which is automatically concluded with the purchasing of the hardware where the program has been installed. The main characteristic of this contract is of being directly connected with the purchased computer. In fact, some software producers have made an agreement with the PC (knows as OEM, Original Equipment Manufacturer) producers, to which the authorization is granted, to install on the hard disk of their computers their operating systems, which, however, cannot be sold separately from the hardware. It is always a good rule knowing what the licence content is before buying a product, even if this is actually imposed by the seller, therefore the only choice is whether to accept it, or not to use the software.
The ad-hoc licence
The software producers often need to prepare ad hoc licenses or sign specific contracts with their own developers, in order to be certain to have all rights on the programme and to be able to distribute it without inconveniences. These kinds of contracts must be examined and written individually for each single case. On this site an on-line service is available for the costs evaluation, it is totally free of charge and it allows having an approximate estimate of the expense necessary for the deposit.