We have all installed software at some point in our lives right? I would be willing to bet there is a very small number of people who have actually read through the End User License Agreement (EULA) when installing. All EULAs have the same clause, “Break this contract and we will take all of your assets (present, past and future), we have rights to your first born, your name, etc… Only install ONCE!”
They can’t do that, can they? No, they can not take your first born child, and in fact they may not even want your children, but they do want THEIR money. Software companies are really pushing hard to prevent software piracy, and with U.S. losses in 2008 estimated by the B.S.A. to be around $9.1 billion dollars it is easy to see why.
The typical EULA states that you are granted use of a license of software and are permitted installations for only as many computers as you have licenses, anything outside of that is a breach of the EULA/contract and can put you in a pretty tight spot.
There are some exceptions to this though with programs like Carlson, Autodesk and others offering “laptop” or “home use” installations. Do not mistake this to mean that you are permitted two installations per license. The EULAs are very specific on how this second computer install is supposed to work. From the Autodesk EULA for example:
You may Install and Access, solely within Your Territory, one (1) additional copy of the Software on a second Computer provided that:
(i) such second Computer is owned or leased by You (and not by another person, such as Your employee, if any);
(ii) such second Computer is either a portable Computer or a nonserver Computer away from Your usual work location;
(iii) the additional copy of Software is Accessed solely for the purpose of enabling You (or Your employee, if any) to perform work while away from Your usual work location;
(iv) the original and additional copy of the Software are used only by the same person, and only one (1) of the Software copies is Accessed at any one time; and
(v) both copies of the Software are Installed and Accessed exclusively with the copy protection device (if any) supplied with the Software.
Software companies understand that we are not all confined to an office or a cube 40 hours a week. Often times we need to work remotely on a computer that is not our normal computer, and they have accommodated for that without forking over more dough. But should you step over that line and install your single license on a few of your other computers the penalties can be far worse than the cost to be legal to begin with.
As of December 1999, the U.S. copyright law provides for the recovery of damages for civil copyright infringement. Recovery includes payment of up to $150,000 per infringed work, destruction of illegal copies, and payment of attorney fees and costs. The law also allows the government to prosecute copyright infringers and provides for criminal penalties, including fines of up to $250,000 and jail terms of up to five years.
I will never get caught though, right? The EULA often times states the right of the software company to audit your licensing. I have heard various stories over the years about disgruntled employees leaving or being let go reporting companies for piracy. Like cheating the house in Vegas, software piracy is just not worth it.
Read your EULAs to find out about benefits like the “second computer” clauses, and make sure you have the right number of licenses for every one using the programs. There are many methods to determine compliancy, and I will be happy to assist in any way I can.