Open source software licensing: boon or bane?

By Shalika Bhalla, Lall Lahiri & Salhotra

We are all mindful of warranties and guarantees while shopping for gadgets. However, this does not seem to extend to licences. Today even the purchase of a simple mobile phone requires the possession of a licence to use various uploaded software. Although people say they buy software, they are actually purchasing a licence rather than the software itself.

Software usage requires compliance with copyright law. Users must have permission to use or copy software. This comes from the licence agreement, which allows the licensee to use the software while not infringing copyright.

Shalika Bhalla,Associate,Lall Lahiri & Salhotra
Shalika Bhalla
Lall Lahiri & Salhotra

As the scope of software products expands, so do the challenges faced by the industry – more network environments, greater competition, increasingly dominant players, substantial price cuts and lower margins. Two separate reports by Gartner give revenues from software as a service as US$7.5 billion and in spite of the recession the industry saw quarterly revenues climb by 41% in the fourth quarter of 2009. Changing business models and the internet have impacted the industry resulting in more flexible software licensing arrangements.

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Shalika Bhalla is an associate with Lall Lahiri & Salhotra where she specializes in trademark opposition and cancellation work.


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