Legal Question in Technology Law in Minnesota

I am freelance cartographer and I am interested in purchasing a software and data product. One of the clauses in the product's license agreement is as follows:

"Except as provided herein, Licensee shall not sell, rent, lease, sublicense, lend, assign, or time-share Software, Data, Web Services, or Documentation. Licensee shall not act as a service bureau or commercial application service provider (ASP) that allows third-party access to Software, Data, Web Services, and Documentation. Licensee shall not use Software, Data, Web Services, or Documentation for a site or service and operate the site or the service for a profit or generate revenue through direct or indirect methods (e.g., advertising or by charging for access to the site or service)."

If I have read this correctly, I cannot use the software or data to create maps for sale to third parties or maps that I display on my own commercial website. Yet this company is one of the principal software providers for professional cartographers like myself, and we are mostly in the business of selling the maps we create to others (who, in turn, often use them to generate revenue). Other parts of the license agreement allow for commercial use of the software and data in specific circumstances (proper source attribution, etc.). So is it possible that the "except as provided herein" clause at the beginning of the paragraph applies to the entire paragraph?

Asked on 6/14/11, 4:12 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Ross Brandborg Brudvik Law Office

I read this clause as prohibiting you from using the software integrated in a web site or for rent to allow other people or companies to use the software licensed to you for their purposes. In other words don't copy and give away/sell this software.

I don't read anything prohibiting you from making your own maps and then doing what you want with your creation. I hope this helps.

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Answered on 6/14/11, 4:29 pm

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