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A software license is a contract between an end-user and a software manufacturer relating to ownership, authorised used and software redistribution. A software license clearly defines the liabilities as well as the rights of the parties to the software license agreement. A software license agreement even provides terms and conditions for legitimate use of software.

Proprietary software license

Proprietary software license/ ownership stay with the software publisher, hence the name. This means that end user of this license only enjoy restricted rights. This software license also has limitations on the number of installations allowed usually, they be can installed only on one computer.

Proprietary software is also known as ‘closed source software’ because source code of this kind of software license is not available.

Proprietary software licenses can be found in the following terms:

  • Original equipment manufacturers(OEM)
    Under this kind software comes attached with the hardware. Therefore this means that OEM licenses are non-transferable.
  • Full package product(FPP)
    It is a ready to use off-the-shelf software that has been designed for mass market which is available for purchase at retail stores or online. Therefore it can be installed just in one computer but it is transferable. FPP can be transferred to another computer but only after its removal from the prior computer.
  • Volume licensing
    This type of proprietary license facilitates purchase of multiple licenses through a single agreement. Volume licensing is most favourable in business and it benefits such as discount, volume and fixed payment plans.

Freeware software license

This software is available ‘free of cost’ to the users. Users can download it free of cost from internet without paying any fees. There is no limitation on the number to download freeware. However, freeware software is different from free software. If we talk about freeware software it is free of cost whereas free software is free of copyright. Therefore freeware software is the only software that is cost free but not copyright free.

Shareware software license

Shareware software is commercial software. This software provides user with a free trial period like 30 days or 60 days and then the user gets deactivated. After the trial period is over user gets deactivated. End user has to pay in order to use that software. Therefore this software is also termed as ‘try-before-you-buy’ software license.

Shareware software license can be found in various forms:

This is software that contains advertisements in the program which helps the software developer in generating revenues.

This software nags, begs, annoys, alerts or remind users to upgrade or buy the premium software by constantly popping up on windows. This is also known as nag screens during the use of the software or at the or at the time of quitting and starting the software. Hence nagware can also be termed as begware or annoyware.

Demoware gives the user a trail version or we can say demonstration of software. A demoware is provided in two forms:

  1. Software limited by functionality is known as cripple ware.
  2. Software limited by trail period is trail ware.

If we talk about these two software trailware is a software that is available to the end users with all its features. These features are available only for a limited period of time and then it expires whereas a cripple ware does not expire. On the other hand crippleware restricts performance of certain functions that could be used if its paid counterpart.


In this type of shareware premium version of the software is chargeable and the non-premium version is not chargeable. In other words freemium offers the users both premium and free services. This means that user can have basic and simple version of the software without any charge or cost. But in order to have upgraded version of the software and enjoy special features the user is required to pay subscription fees.
Examples of this software can be onedrive, jiosavan and so on.


If we talk about donationware license, end users can have it available free of charge or end users can obtain it without paying for the license. However, this software requests for the donation to be paid to a charity of his own choice or to the software developer. Irrespective of the choice made by the user they get to enjoy the unrestricted software or we can say they get to enjoy fully functional software. Therefore donation is optional.

Bespoke software license

Bespoke software is a software which is customised or tailor-made that satisfies the needs of the customer. Bespoke software is developed to carter to specialised needs of the individual. If we think from the commercial prospective a bespoke software helps business in maintaining a competitive advantage over rival companies, since this software is designed with a specific purpose that is to align with and improve the customer’s requirement. Further if we talk about bespoke software, a bespoke is less susceptible to cyber-attacks like hacking   since the security code is not disclosed to the users unlike most commonly used ready-made programmes.

Opensource software

An opensource software is a software where the source code of the software is available to the users and the public is free to reuse, change, modify and distribute the code.

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