knowledge & insights

The Coalition for Fair Software Licensing Has Launched (and We Couldn’t Be Happier)

We are pleased to inform our friends and clients that the Coalition for Fair Software Licensing has officially gone live. The press response thus far has been gratifying, with outlets such as Bloomberg, The Register and World Time Todays drawing attention to the Coalition for taking on the troubling issues facing software licensees in the current environment. Kudos to our friend and colleague, Executive Director Ryan Triplette, who spearheaded the Coalition after focusing much of her legal career on intellectual property, security and competition matters.

The Coalition describes itself as “part of a large movement highlighting the importance of fair and transparent software licensing terms for cloud services and the limiting impact that certain business practices have on growth, opportunity, investment, and security.” At the core of the Coalition are the Principles of Fair Software Licensing, which were collaboratively penned by leaders within the tech industry with the common goal of spurring “innovation, choice and growth in the digital economy.”

The nine principles (which harmonize fully and completely with Beeman & Muchmore’s many publications and presentations) are:

  1. Licensing Terms Should Be Clear and Intelligible
  2. Freedom to Bring Previously Purchased Software to the Cloud
  3. Customers Should Be Free to Run their On-Premises Software on the Cloud of their Choice
  4. Reducing Costs through Efficient Use of Hardware
  5. Freedom from Retaliation for Cloud Choices
  6. Avoiding Customer Lock-In Through Interoperable Directory Software
  7. Equal Treatment for Software Licensing Fees in the Cloud
  8. Permitted Uses of Software Should Be Reliable and Predictable
  9. Licenses Should Cover Reasonably Expected Software Uses

We would particularly like to commend the Coalition for drawing attention to end-user licensing problems in addition to the manifold anti-competitive concerns that those on The Hill seem innately attracted to. While the latter are certainly important and deserve federal and state level scrutiny, it is the pervasive problem of predatory licensing that Beeman & Muchmore has observed directly impacting the day-to-day operations of our clients. (Should anyone doubt the power of the legislature to curb abusive practices, look no further than the seismic impact of Patent Reform on the Patent Troll calamity of the early-2000s.)

Lastly, we wish to thank the Coalition for reposting an op-ed of ours first published in Real Clear Policy, “Washington Antitrust Efforts Ignore Predatory Practices of Big Software Vendors”. In it, we give our observations on Washington’s latest rendezvous with antitrust legislation and, more specifically, in the technology industry.

Published on 10/10/2022

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