Thursday, 20 March 2008

Training Software License Requirements

I received an email from a technical training manager that alerted me to an issue that they had recently run into:
I'm in charge of classroom training for five campuses throughout North America. Our customers use Crystal Reports in connection with our software.

It has been stated that Crystal Reports licensees may not train clients using Crystal Repots from Business Objects without an additional EULA for each and every customer receiving such training.
The issue from what I could read an interpret from various posts (statement, article) is that Business Objects requires Classroom Licensing for third party training organizations to teach using their software. They also are trying to put restrictions on any use of their software in training materials, public presentations, etc. The goal seems to be to: (a) get additional software license revenue and (b) limit "gray market" training and consulting - trainers and consultants who are not officially part of their programs. Note: they included not allowing non-certified training organizations to include screen shots in their training materials.

I'm actually not that familiar with the issues here and don't know how software companies generally handle this. I would certainly suspect that there are lots of software companies who would like to control this much like Business Objects. I've talked to a couple of friends at software development companies here in Southern California and they didn't have answers for me.

I'm curious - is this the norm? Is it okay for a software company to establish its policies and try to generate revenue by controlling who customers use for consulting and training? Where do you draw the line?

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