Software Licenses

Different Software Licenses Explained

At it is up to the buyer and seller to negotiate the terms of the sale and what parts of the business is being sold (e.g. Full transfer of rights, or license to use in derivative works).  Below we’ve outlined some of the common licenses that have been used within our marketplace to buy and sell apps and websites:

Full Transfer of All Rights and Code This involves the current owner de-listing their app and then allowing you to realist under your own developer account.  With this license you become the full and exclusive owner of the new app.  You will own all the rights to the code and application including the users, brand, and revenue streams.  This is often the most expense type of license that can be purchased.

Distribution License – Determine the conditions under which a license holder can distribute the code.

  • No Distribution – No distribution of code or binaries is allowed. Code can be hosted on license holder’s servers / sites.
  • Binary restricted – Distribution in binary / object form only is allowed.
  • Sublicensable – Code can be distributed in code or binary form.

Derivative works – Allowing license owners to create derivative works means permitting them to modify the software to fit their needs.

Distribute derivative works – In addition to allowing the creation of derivative works, you must decide whether you allow license owners to distribute a modified version of your software (as part of a greater work). This option is only available if you allow distribution of the code (sublicensable license).

Commercial use – Decide whether you would prohibit license owners from using the licensed software in any commercial capacity. Allowing commercial use grants license owners the right to use it in a commercial capacity, royalty free.

Attribution – You can require that an attribution to you would be made whenever the software is being used. You’ll want to specify how the attribution should be made (for example, a link back to you from a site running the software).

Extent of license – You can determine the extent for which the licensed software can be used, by the number of sites / servers it runs on.  You can use this option to create two pricing options that differ only by the number of sites / servers the software can be used on.

Assignable – Whether the license holder can be reassign the license to another person / entity (either by giving it away or selling it).

Re-Skin App (White Label License) – License to reskin the application and re-brand it using a “white label” license.  This is another common type of license sellers give to new buyers.  It allows them to purchase a fully approved app and basically remove any of the graphics, sounds, logos, etc to build a new app that you can then market and sell as your own business.

Service and support – By default, we don’t require developers to provide support for sold components – other than that it works as advertised. This does not prevent you from providing such support, however it is up to you whether to legally bind this support to the license. If you choose to provide support, please specify the terms and extent of such support (default is 6 months support after date of purchase).

Trademarks – If your software contains any trademarks you own (a logo for example) and it is part of this license you’ll want to specify this in the description as it may add more value to your business.

Patents – If your software contains any patents you own you should specify in the description and whether or not you will allow license owners to make use of the software without breaking patent laws.

Trade secrets If your software contains any trade secrets that you want to prevent license owners from disclosing to 3rd parties you’ll want to be clear and concise in your description and in any terms you negotiate.

License of app components for use in other apps – We are starting to see more and more developers license only parts of code they’ve developed for re-use in other works.  This helps save many programmer hours of development time and help other developers get high quality code without having to “re-invent the wheel”.  If you are only selling rights to specific app components please detail so it is clear in the description.

Additional terms – If you have unique additional terms or different types of licenses to offer you’ll want to negotiate and set the terms clearly in writing and help from legal professional where required.

Other licenses – If other works (such as open-source libraries and plug-ins) are included in your software or your software is derivative of such works, please specify all such works and their respective software license.

Again these are just some ideas and it is up to you and the seller to negotiate the terms, license types, and final price of the sale.  We highly recommend seeking advise from your attorney when developing any terms to help you be able to easily enforce.  You’ll want to do your own due diligence before agreeing to transfer any rights or funds to buyers and sellers and follow all the rules of our marketplace.  Read our FAQ for answers to other commonly asked questions.


About SellMyApplication:

 How it (SMA) was founded in 2010 by a small group of app developers based out of Boston, MA USA.   We were first to market with the idea of creating a mobile app marketplace for mobile app businesses.  Our site is focused on connecting developers interested in buying, selling, trading, or licensing apps they’ve written.  SMA has quickly become the leading marketplace with thousands of registered developers and millions of visitors every year.

With you’ll be able to reach a highly targeted audience of app developers, entrepreneurs, and users interested in purchasing code to improve existing projects or expand their reach across to new customers.  Read our FAQ to get started.

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