What is Software License? Definition


A software license is defined as the legal contract between the licensor (author) and the purchaser of a piece of software that establishes the rights of the purchaser. A software license agreement details how and when the software can be used, and sets forth any restrictions placed on the software.

In some software applications, the source code is available to end users, while other licenses only give the user the right to use the executable program. Some software programs include the license when the application is purchased. Free-to-use applications allow the user the right to modify and redistribute a software application.


software license determines how an application can be distributed and used. Depending on the software license, end users have rights to copy, modify and/or redistribute an application.

Types of software licenses

There are a variety of types of software licenses , which can be classified into:

  • Individual: License for the installation of a single computer.
  • OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers): Software license that is already installed on the hardware.
  • Named User License: Software license for a specific user.
  • Volume: Type of the license to support multiple users.
  • Client Access License (CAL): License that gives the user the right to access the services of the server.
  • Trial License: License for trial versions of software.
  • Enterprise (perpetual): License that does not require renewal and is for life.
  • Concurrent license: Software license that can be accessed by a specific number of users at the same time.
  • Free License: License for freeware software (free software).
  • Enterprise Subscription: License that requires renewal for each specific period.
  • Locked Node: Type of license for workstations with specific configurations.

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