Attorney Steve® Software Audit Essentials – Autodesk Licensing Schemes
This blog addresses question I get quite frequently when representing companies in Autodesk audits (whether internal or letters received from their main intellectual property law firm Donahue Fitgerald, LLP
Autodesk Licensing Issues.
There are different licensing layouts according to Autodesk website
Stand-Alone License Share
“A stand-alone license authorizes a single user to install and use the specified Autodesk product on a single computer. See Software License Agreements for information specific to your software. Stand-alone licensing allows you to use your Autodesk product in trial mode for a specified period, usually 30 days, from the first time you start the product. For a product suite, the trial period countdown begins when the first product is started, and it applies to all Autodesk products in the suite. You can activate your license at any time before or after the trial period expires. The stand-alone licensing process (including multi-seat, stand-alone) creates a license file, known as a trusted storage file, and makes a minor change to the computer's file system. The license file and related changes remain on your computer when you uninstall your product. If you reinstall your Autodesk product on the same computer, the license remains valid, without the need for reactivation. The trusted storage file has a format such as adskflex_00691b00_tsf.data.”
“It contains all activated stand-alone licenses on the computer. If this file is deleted, all licenses must be reactivated. The need for license reactivation can also be triggered by a significant change to the computer hardware or network identity. This occurs because each time a stand-alone product is launched, the system checks a number of attributes of the computer and compares these with values in the trusted storage file. Some of the values compared are as follows: Hard disk or file system Display or graphics card BIOS serial number and version CPU information RAM size Network card address Some changes to these values are tolerated, but a major change results in a validation failure, and the license must be reactivated. So a change such as replacement of a hard drive or network card can require license reactivation. To prevent a validation failure when changing hardware, use the License Transfer Utility to export the license from the computer before the change, and then import the license back to the computer after the change.
“For more information, see the section on single computer (stand-alone) installation. Return to Top Multi-Seat, Stand-Alone Licenses A multi-seat, stand-alone license allows you to use a single serial number and product key to run one or more Autodesk products on a specified number of computers. As with a single, stand-alone license, products activate automatically when started for the first time if an Internet connection is available, and if the serial number and product key combination is registered correctly with Autodesk. A multi-seat, stand-alone license can be deployed efficiently to multiple computers on a network from an image created by the Create Deployment option in the installer. For more information, see the section on multi-seat, stand-alone installation.”
INCLUDED IN SUBSCRIPTIONS WITH SINGLE-USER ACCESS
A subscription with single-user access is a good choice for organizations that need one or more stand-alone licenses. Stand-alone licenses are then assigned to individual users. These subscriptions cost less than subscriptions with multi-user access.
You can sign in to your Autodesk Account from anywhere and download and install the software assigned to you from any device. So, for example, you can use your Autodesk product on your work computer and also on your personal computer at home.
Users must connect to the internet every 30 days to validate their Autodesk ID, but with the exception of cloud-based services, the software works offline for up to 30 days
A network license allows a number of users on the same TCP/IP network to share access to product licenses. The Network License Manager (NLM), installed on one or more servers, controls the distribution of licenses to users. When you start an Autodesk product, it requests a license from the license server through the network. If a license is available, NLM assigns a license to the computer, and the number of available licenses on the license server is reduced by one.
When you exit a product, the license returns to the NLM. If you run multiple sessions of an Autodesk product on an individual computer, only one license is used. When the last session is closed, the license is released.
The following three items manage the distribution and availability of licenses:
- License manager daemon (lmgrd or lmgrd.exe) handles the original contact with the application, and then passes the connection to the vendor daemon. By using this approach, a single lmgrd daemon can be used by multiple software vendors to provide license authentication. The lmgrd daemon starts and restarts the vendor daemons as needed.
- Autodesk vendor daemon (adskflex or adskflex.exe) tracks the Autodesk licenses that are checked out and the computers that are using them. Each software vendor has a unique vendor daemon to manage vendor-specific licensing. Note: If the adskflex vendor daemon terminates for any reason, all users lose their licenses until lmgrd restarts the vendor daemon or until the problem causing the termination is resolved.
- License file is a text file with a .lic extension that authorizes the use of the network license on specific server hardware. This file is provided by Autodesk.
INCLUDED IN SUBSCRIPTIONS WITH MULTI-USER ACCESS
A subscription with multi-user access is a good choice for teams of users, allowing the use of Autodesk products up to a maximum number of users, or seats, connected to a server network. Network licenses are shared, so individuals do not need to be assigned access.
The products can be installed on as many devices as you want, but you can use the product simultaneously only on the number of purchased seats. For example, if you have 6 subscription seats and 8 users, all users have access, but only 6 can use the product at any one time. Because you can install the products on more systems than the number of seats purchased, you get true floating licenses across your organization.
Network licenses do not require an internet connection to activate or use.
Trial A trial license lets you run a product or suite in trial mode for a specified time period (usually 30 days). The trial period starts the first time you launch the product, or one of the products in a suite. You can activate and register the license at any time, before or after the trial period expires.
Perpetual This license allows permanent, non-time-limited use of an Autodesk product.
Term Extendable This license grants access to an Autodesk product for a limited time. The term can be extended at any time.
Term Non-Extendable This license grants access to an Autodesk product for a limited time, which cannot be extended.
License Usage Types
All license types are available as stand-alone and network except for the Student Portfolio license, which is available as stand-alone only.
Commercial A license for a product that was purchased commercially.
Not for Resale A license for a product that is not sold commercially.
Educational A license designed specifically for students and educators or educational institutions.
Contact an Autodesk Audit Law Firm
We can help companies both large and small who are facing Autodesk software licensing issues. We are the leader in handling these audits in the United States and we have helped companies across the United States get these issues resolved in a quick, and confidential manner. If you have received an audit investigation letter, call us at (877) 276-5084 for a no-cost initial consultation. We offer low flat rate legal fees to handle these cases.