On this page you will learn:

- That software and a licence are different

- The causes of such confusion

Software is not the same thing as a software licence
It is a simple point, but many do not appreciate the difference between software and a software licence. 

The consequences of not recognising the distinction correctly can be catastrophic.

We meet people every day that are convinced that because software is installed and running, it must be properly licensed, otherwise it would not be there or would not work.

It is this assumption that has led to many organisations having to spend huge amounts of time taking corrective action and having to fork out many tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds in unbudgeted licence purchases.

What causes the confusion?
Without a doubt, the software publishers have caused all the confusion and these are some of the reasons why...

An activation key or code is not a licence
When you procure software media either on a CD or as a downloaded file, usually you will be required to enter an activation code at some point of the installation.

Even if it is called a licence key, it is not the licence but the key that will allow the software to install or activate so it can be used or accessed.

We cover this in more detail on the next page - Licence/Activation keys...

I Agree
Anyone who has ever installed software onto a machine will have had to click 'I Agree' to the licence Term's and Conditions for it to install.

Just because whoever installs software agrees to the terms and conditions of that licence does not mean that it is properly licensed.

But they are then legally bound to ensure that the proper licence does exist.  Which is why there is always a check where you have to 'I Agree' to the licence contract for the software to install.

Implicitly linked software licences
Some software vendors restrict your ability to install software by implicitly linking the software and an actual licence, hence you cannot physically install the software a greater number of times than the licence grants because the licence is mechanically linked to the install process.

Many think this is a great way of doing things, because obviously you can never be non-compliant, unfortunately this is not the case for all software.  

Of course it is managing that situation that is central to SAM and we will cover all aspects of this question in the following chapters.

We now look at Licence/Activation keys in more detail...