Cloud Provisioning's Unsettled License Issues
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There are many aspects to the software market and they don't always keep in step. One glaring example: while there has been a major rush to virtualization, licensing terms and language hasn't exactly kept pace with the innovation and adoption. Could you get in trouble for deploying a virtual environment? CIO Update has the details.
Of all the perceived barriers to the widespread adoption of computing in the Cloud, the meddlesome issue of software licensing is rarely discussed. Leave it to legal, is the prevailing mindset, but licensing is no longer just a legal issue. Increasingly, to avoid violating detailed agreements, IT needs at least a cursory knowledge of the problem.
"The violation of agreements comes usually with large-scale enterprise seat licenses, but it is less of an issue than many people think―unless the underlying agreement only permits a copy of the software to be on a server (or servers) in the office of the company (that is, the licensee) or under the control of the company," said James Roberts III, managing partner at The Global Capital Law Group.
Just from Roberts' wording of the issue (and, yes, he's a lawyer), you can already start to get a sense of the legal thicket you're wading into as you embrace virtualized environments and new computing models. "The bigger issues arise with the data, especially when it is third-party data," Roberts added.
How, exactly, do you craft a license to handle data you have the right to use but you don't actually own? And what constitutes ownership of data, anyway? As a reporter, I deal with an issue related to this all the time: copyright law. If I've observed some fact from an analyst report or I've culled it from researching another publication, and I remember that fact later when I'm writing my own story and use it unattributed, am I violating copyright law?