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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    May 2006
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    Accepting licenses on behalf of clients

    Does anyone know how accepting licenses on behalf of clients works in the UK?

    It occurred to me on any given project I will use JavaScripts (JQuery, Modernzir, etc) with various licenses (usually permissive ones like MIT, BSD or Apache). That will run on LAMP which although open source and free are restricted by licenses. Even on a small site there may be 1015 licenses I agree on without explicitly asking the client who ends up with a site and is bound by those license. What are the laws here? Is it just assumed we provided them with a working site within the law that they can use to do what they paid for (e.g. sell products)?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Mentor silver trophybronze trophy
    Mikl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Edinburgh, Scotland
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    A licence is essentially a contract between two parties. If you accept the licence (e.g by clicking on a tickbox, or proceeding with a download), then you are one of the parties to the contract. The other party is the person who is granting the licence.

    Regarding the question of whether you are acting on behalf of your client in accepting the licence, that is a matter between you and the client. If the client instructed you to use a tool that was subject to a licence, or if you recommended to the client that you use the tool and the client agreed, you could argue that you were acting on the client's behalf, in which case it would be the client that was the party to the contract, not yourself.

    In other words, it would depend on the circumstances of the specific case. Ultimately, it would be up to the courts to decide.

    Really, this type of licence is no different from any other contract. Suppose you walked into a shop and bought a filing cabinet to use in a client's project. Would you be acting on behalf of the client in making that purchase? The same sort of test arises with software licences.

    Mike

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    UK
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    Ensure your contract allows for you to accept licenses on the client's behalf. Where registration is required (e.g. when purchasing a license for them to use on their site), ensure that you enter your client's details as the licensee, not yours. If that isn't an option, get your client to buy it for themselves.


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