What is the legality regarding a software license agreement for commercial use? 2 Answers as of June 16, 2011

I am freelance cartographer and I am interested in purchasing a software and data product. One of the clauses in the product's license agreement is as follows: “Except as provided herein, Licensee shall not sell, rent, lease, sublicense, lend, assign, or time-share Software, Data, Web Services, or Documentation. Licensee shall not act as a service bureau or commercial application service provider (ASP) that allows third-party access to Software, Data, Web Services, and Documentation. Licensee shall not use Software, Data, Web Services, or Documentation for a site or service and operate the site or the service for a profit or generate revenue through direct or indirect methods (e.g., advertising or by charging for access to the site or service)." If I have read this correctly, as a result of the third sentence, I cannot use the software or data to create maps for sale to third parties or maps that I display on my own website that generates revenue through advertising. Yet this company is one of the principal software providers for professional cartographers like myself, and we are mostly in the business of selling the maps we create to others (who, in turn, often use them to generate revenue in various ways). Other parts of the license agreement allow for commercial use of the software and data in specific circumstances (proper source attribution, etc.). So is it possible that the "except as provided herein" clause at the beginning of the paragraph applies to the entire paragraph?

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Intellectual Property Center, LLC
Intellectual Property Center, LLC | Ak Shaf
Software license agreements are legal documents which govern the use of the product. If the product is licensed with a non-commercial use, they probably will entertain an offer for a commercial license. Usually, it is simply a cost difference. I would suggest contacting the software company and see if they will sell a commercial license or grant you a license for commercial use. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 6/16/2011
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
This is purely a matter of contract interpretation. My best guess is that the contract prohibits your use of the software for commercial production and sale of maps. The except as otherwise provided clause probably does not help you.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/15/2011
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