Software Lawyer Warning for Web Developers!
Building your corporate or personal wordpress website can be fun and good for business. Adding “plugins” are something that just about every web developer or websmaster has to do to make a great functional wordpress website. But each of these plugins are made by different companies, and each has their own end-user licensing agreement. Failure to follow these rules can result in a illegal copyright infringement demand letter, or worse yet, a federal copyright lawsuit.
Plugin case example
On this website I have a “contact form” plugin. This is the form that is at the end of my blogs that allows you to send me an email if you want to contact our law firm. This plugin is great, but while I was looking at the licensing page I saw the following (which is not a big deal to me because I only manage this one website):
“Our license agreement says: “One plugin can be installed on one single domain and its subdomains”. You can use one Pro plugin for one domain only. When you are using Pro plugin on a different WordPress website, it is considered to be illegal use. If you would like to use the plugin on another website, you should remove plugin from the old website and only then install the plugin to a new one. The license key is connected to the domain URL specified during the purchase.” What can happen is when you upgrade to their “Pro” version, you can download a .ZIP file, and this file can then be installed on other versions of wordpress the user might be running. For example many websites like godaddy, bluehost, and hostgator allow users to have multiple domains and multiple websites (many bloggers have multiple websites). But this contact form plugin (and the upgrade) should not be used on multiple websites at risk of facing a federal copyright action.
Adding WordPress Plugins – Dashboard
Make sure you are saving all of your licenses and receipts!
As a web developer, CIO, CTO or other person in charge of the software asset management at your company, you need to MAKE SURE you are keeping software receipts for everything you are buying. This can mean a lot of different software programs, plugins, or other intellectual property that you are licensing from another company. When you buy a new product, TAKE THE TIME to print out the email and put it in a folder confirming what you paid, when you paid it and having that proof of purchase.
“PROOF OF LICENSE. a. Genuine Proof of License. If you acquired the software on a disc or other media, your proof of license is the genuine Microsoft certificate of authenticity label with the accompanying genuine product key and your proof of purchase. If you purchased and downloaded the software online, your proof of license is the genuine Microsoft product key for the software which you received with your purchase and your proof of purchase from an authorized electronic supplier of genuine Microsoft software. Proof of purchase may be subject to verification by your merchant's records.”
So you have to keep in mind that IT'S A JUNGLE OUT THERE and companies are working hard to protect their intellectual property rights, and you do not want to have your company known for being a “software pirate.” At the end of the day, there could be costly fines, fees, and penalties levied against you, especially if willful copyright infringement is shown. We can help both companies needing to protect their rights, and those accused of copyright infringement (many times of which the software companies are making unreasonable demands.
Contact an Intellectual Property, Software Licensing & Internet Lawyer
We help firms obtain and protect intellectual property rights on the internet and develop software licensing agreements. We can also assist with federal copyright infringement, developing software licenses and terms of service, serving as your DMCA agent and handling other new media legal issues. Contact us at (877) 276-5084, or, you can use the CONTACT FORM BELOW that we are talking about!!