Software licensing, especially in larger organisations, can be a very confusing, time consuming and, when not thoroughly grasped, very costly process. Companies don’t often realise the importance of getting a clear and accurate view of their software estate. They remain uninformed about the potentially heavy financial penalties that can be extracted by software vendors when software assets are mismanaged. Poorly managed licence estates are dangerously exposed to compliance checks from vendors; under-licensed companies can attract huge penalties that are unexpected to the.
The Campaign for Clear Licensing (CCL), is a global organisation set-up to provide protection for companies that purchase software from vendors and resellers. The CCL provides protection from the costs associated with less-than-transparent licensing in enterprise operations. It was noted that software vendors had excellent trade organisations such as BSA, SIIA, and FAST looking out for their own concerns, but there was little protection and oversight for software purchasers, and so CCL came into being.
Although CCL highlight that it’s the responsibility of software purchasers to know their licensing position; it fights for companies to not be unduly punished for operating under-licensed technology.
The CCL has four objectives:
1. To bring clarity to the software licensing market – software licensing can be very confusing and, generally, this confusion works in the favour of software companies by imposing fines.
2. To highlight absurd, confusing, unrealistic, or uncompetitive licensing terms – the more confusing, unrealistic, or uncompetitive the licence, the more profitable it is for the software manufacturer.
3. To stamp out unprofessional selling tactics – confusion leads to unprofessional and abhorrent selling practices. Although not illegal, they are highly questionable on a moral compass.
4. To promote and reward clear licensing terms – clear licensing terms lead to good practice and should be noted, highlighted, and rewarded.