INTUG/BELTUG have worked for the past several months to prepare a proposal for a Code of Conduct for software publishers. This proposal for a Code of Conduct defines a set of acceptable practices for software publishers’ behaviour and covers contractual, technical, lifecycle and software audit conduct rules.
With so many questions from all kinds of businesses regarding software license management and software audits, it is time for business users to combine their efforts. For many years, EuroCIO has been active on the software license issue, including organising meetings with software vendors to discuss concerns. That is why EuroCIO supports this proposal for a Code of Conduct. EuroCIO and its members urge software publishers to accept these principles and behave accordingly.
In today’s fast moving software world, companies and public services share an increasing unease when it comes to managing their software assets. Software vendors release software products supported by sophisticated and complex license models and agreements. Furthermore, they seem to be either unable or unwilling to provide their customers with proper controls to ensure that they do not use the software in a manner not in line with these complex license specifications.
Typically, the software publishers poorly label the software, while the customers are not provided with accurate tools and guidance to proactively manage their software estate. Nor are customers given the clarity and transparency they need on the level of software licensing programs governing the use of the licensed software. In many cases, customers accept terms and conditions to contracts in which the embedded (future) license consequences are not properly understood. As a consequence, many software customers have poorly controlled the deployment of software, and have difficulty in managing their software audit functions.
The ultimate goal of the proposal for a Code of Conduct is for software vendors to provide legal certainty and unambiguous software licensing contracts with a clear definition of responsibilities for both software vendors and customers. The 21st century will be known as the digital era. Already today, we see exponential technology growth transforming every sector and industry. IT technology has become an important factor for economic progress and development. Complex, unbalanced and ambiguous software license contracts are a roadblock to unleashing the full potential from our society’s digitalization.
This is an issue that must be tackled on the international level. The proposal for a Code of Conduct was presented at the SAMs Europe 2015 meeting for Software Asset Management, in Berlin, September 2015, and was very well received. We are now working with the European Commission and European Parliament to get their support.