License agreement/information?

Subject: License agreement/information?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 May 2003 08:54:55 -0400

Ashley Hoskins reports: <<I am currently working on a manual for a parking
and facility management software package. I am starting to think about the
licensing agreement information that I will include in the front of the
manual... I know what we did at my last job, but I do not feel that it is
ethical for me to use that agreement as a template for this job>>

It's probably ethical to use it for inspiration--since in theory, any
competent lawyer would come up with the same list of clauses and express
them in more or less the same way--but it's certainly not legal to copy the
previous version. Unless the previous job's template came from a public
domain source (e.g., a legal "clip art" gallery <g>), it's copyrighted by
the author or publisher and can't be used without their permission.

<<I am sure our attorney will also play a role in this effort.>>

The only safe way to proceed in legal matters is to hire an attorney. You
can, however, save on very expensive billable hours by photocopying a few
licensing agreements from the software and hardware manuals on your desk,
and highlighting the sections that definitely or maybe apply. Strike out the
sections that you're reasonably certain won't apply. (Ideally, ask for a
senior manager to review your efforts.) Hand these papers to the attorney
and forget about it. Not your problem anymore.

--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada

"Wisdom is one of the few things that look bigger the further away it
is."--Terry Pratchett


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