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Can a company install more than one copy of yEd for free?

0 votes

The license (https://www.yworks.com/resources/yed/license.html) says that "The Licensee is granted a ... right to install one copy ...".

The obvious way to understand this statement is that a company or university may only have one copy of yed installed in total to benefit from the free license and needs to buy a commercial license if more than one employee is using it. However, I cannot find licensing or pricing information for this case on the website?

asked Sep 14 in Help by anonymous

1 Answer

0 votes

The licensee as referred to in the yEd Software License Agreement means an individual person not a company or university. So, if someone downloads and installs yEd manually, he/she is the licensee and may use yEd. If five people in your company do that (i.e. everyone downloads and installs yEd manually), then there are five yEd licensees in your company and all five may use yEd for free. However, if you require yEd to be made available in any other way like e.g. through a central software delivery system, you will indeed have to negotiate a custom license agreement. Please contact the yWorks sales department - sales(at)yworks.com - to negotiate such an agreement.

answered Sep 14 by thomas.behr [yWorks] (96,330 points)
edited Sep 14 by thomas.behr
Are you sure? Shouldn't it be that the licensee is the company or the university, not the employee as an individual person, if an employee installs the software as part of his job on a computer owned by the company?

Everything else would have quite strange consequences. Say I use yEd at home for private, educational purposes, then my employer asks that I use yEd in my job. So I have to delete my copy at home because I would otherwise have two copies? Or could I have two jobs, both employers requiring me to install and use yEd on their respective computers?

The license doesn't clearly define who the licensee is. I think it should be clarified in the license that a company may have any number of installations as long as they are installed and used manually by individual employees, and that employees may have their own copy at home for personal use. Otherwise companies cannot safely use yEd.

It is quite clear from the license that a central software delivery system is not permitted; that's not part of my question.

Re:

Are you sure?

Yes, I am.

Re:

Shouldn't it be that the licensee is the company or the university, not the employee as an individual person, if an employee installs the software as part of his job on a computer owned by the company?

No. Unless you (or rather your company, university, institution, etc.) negotiate a custom license agreement, yEd licensees are individual persons.

Re:

Everything else would have quite strange consequences. Say I use yEd at home for private, educational purposes, then my employer asks that I use yEd in my job. So I have to delete my copy at home because I would otherwise have two copies? Or could I have two jobs, both employers requiring me to install and use yEd on their respective computers?

I can understand your reasoning, but nevertheless that is the way it is.
If you install yEd on your computer at home and on your computer at work, you are violating the yEd Software License Agreement. If you have two jobs and both of your employers require you to install yEd and you do install yEd on two different computers, you are violating the yEd Software License Agreement.
In such a case, you could ...

  • ... get one or both of your employers to negotiate a custom license agreement or
  • ... install yEd on a laptop (and on that laptop only) which you can carry to both of your work places or
  • ...

Re:

The license doesn't clearly define who the licensee is. I think it should be clarified in the license that a company may have any number of installations as long as they are installed and used manually by individual employees, and that employees may have their own copy at home for personal use. Otherwise companies cannot safely use yEd.

Again, I can understand your reasoning and maybe some day the yEd Software License Agreement will be changed towards this end - but I doubt it. As it stands, a yEd licensee may (download and) install one copy of yEd.
If your company thinks yEd is a great tool to use (and it is), but does not agree with the restrictions put forth in the yEd Software License Agreement, your company will have to negotiate a custom license agreement.

Re:

It is quite clear from the license that a central software delivery system is not permitted; that's not part of my question.

Fair enough.

Thanks for your reply.

You say "yEd licensees are individual persons" but a court would most likely decide otherwise, because the license doesn't say who the licensee is and I doubt that a court would see an employee acting as part of his job as a licensee. In that case it is clear that a company cannot use more than one copy, which means that a company needs a custom license in basically any case.

If, on the other hand, your interpretation would hold ("If you install yEd on your computer at home and at your computer at work, you are violating the yEd Software License Agreement"), effectively no company can safely use yEd without an extra license because their employees might have other jobs requiring them to use the tool or other copies at home.

You say "I understand where you are coming from". I am not sure what you mean. This is not a fictitious problem. I am using yEd as part of my PhD research and now I would like to recommend my employer to let me use the tool. Now you say I cannot do this without the employer getting a special paid license -- because I already use it for educational purposes. The employer is punished because I use the tool for my education. That's simply absurd.

Installing on a laptop to carry to two workplaces is a purely theoretical possibility. No employer would allow their laptops with confidential company data on it to be used for working at a different employer.

I think what this boils down to is simply that commercial use of yEd for all practical purposes requires a company to buy a special, paid license and the standard license is not working properly for that.

If this is your intention, you should clearly state this on your website and in your license. If this is not your intention, you should update the license to clarify that if yEd is used for work for a company, the licensee is the company and it may have one copy per employee, regardless of other copies these employees might have at home or use for jobs at other companies.

Re:

You say "yEd licensees are individual persons" but a court would most likely decide otherwise, because the license doesn't say who the licensee is and I doubt that a court would see an employee acting as part of his job as a licensee. In that case it is clear that a company cannot use more than one copy, which means that a company needs a custom license in basically any case.

If, on the other hand, your interpretation would hold ("If you install yEd on your computer at home and at your computer at work, you are violating the yEd Software License Agreement"), effectively no company can safely use yEd without an extra license because their employees might have other jobs requiring them to use the tool or other copies at home.

This discussion is moot. I am presenting the official interpretation of yWorks GmbH in this regard, not my personal opinion.

 

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You say "I understand where you are coming from". I am not sure what you mean.

I edited my previous comment to read "I can understand your reasoning, ..." to clarify my meaning.

 

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The employer is punished because I use the tool for my education.

Your employer is not punished in any way at all.
yEd is provided free-of-charge under certain terms. These terms are defined in the yEd Software License Agreement. If you cannot meet these terms for any reason, you have a choice between not using yEd or negotiating a custom agreement. This nothing special to yEd - all software license agreements work that way (except the free-of-charge part, of course).

 

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I think what this boils down to is simply that commercial use of yEd for all practical purposes requires a company to buy a special, paid license and the standard license is not working properly for that.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion. A lot of people are fine with using yEd only at work or only at home.

 

Re:

If this is your intention, you should clearly state this on your website and in your license. If this is not your intention, you should update the license to clarify that if yEd is used for work for a company, the licensee is the company and it may have one copy per employee, regardless of other copies these employees might have at home or use for jobs at other companies.

The yEd Software License Agreement does state very clearly:

The Licensee is granted a non-exclusive and non-transferable right to install one copy of the Software and use it as an application.

I understand that you do not like the implications. I understand why you do not like the implications.

However, it seems to me that you do not understand that the fact that you get one copy of yEd free-of-charge is no grounds to argue that you should get additional copies free-of-charge as well.

"official interpretation of yWorks Gmb" There is no such thing as an official interpretation, except those made by courts. And your interpretation clearly would not hold up in court. Installation is done as part of the job; the computer is owned by the company (not under control of the user, so he legally cannot ensure to meet the obligations of the license); the employee acts on behalf ot the company. If your interpretation is supposed to have legal effect, it needs to be in the license itself, not hidden as an interpretation ("official" or otherwise) in this Q&A forum.

The problem is this: Let's assume yWorks goes into bankruptcy one day. It is a substantial risk. The liquidator is now forced to use all opportunities to get money out of the company. Every sane liquidator would now go for the obvious interpretation (instead of the one you put forward here): Look for companies who have installed more than one copy (easy to do, since the software sends frequent pings to you to check for updates), and sue these companies for breach of the license, and bill them for their copies (at a high rate, because those copies were illegal).

"A lot of people are fine with using yEd only at work or only at home" It is not about people, but about companies. A company cannot safely use yEd with the standard license because it cannot ensure the "official" interpretation would be respected by liquidator and, even if, it cannot ensure that their employees don't have additional copies. Companies who still rely on the standard license have not read it or not understood its implications.

And just see the signals you are sending: A private user of yEd would be an obvious recommender of yEd to a company,.  But if the company has to pay in this situation, he'd be very reluctant to make that recommendation.

"state very clearly" I doesn't state at all, let alone clearly., that a licensee cannot be a company, only an individual.

"I understand that you do not like the implications"  No. As already said, the implication is that, for all practical purposes, a company cannot use the standard license. It needs to buy a special, paid license. I'm not criticizing this implication, I'm criticizing that the website doesn't clearly say so. In fact, it doesn't mention anything about paid licenses. It should do and should say when those are necessary. I find it quite odd that there's nothing at all on the website about this. Doesn't your company want to sell licenses and make money?

Re:

..., a company cannot use the standard license.

Finally something we agree on - but I already told you so in the very first sentence of the very first answer to your original question:

The licensee [...] means [...] not a company or university.

OK, so please clearly state on your website as well as in your license:

- The license is not valid for institutions (like companies or universities), and can only be usd for personal purposes by individuals
- if an institution wants to use yed, it must buy a paid license
- Preferably include pricing information for such paid licenses and instructions on how to obtain one.

I simply don't get why these crucial facts are not clearly stated anywhere.
These "facts" are not stated clearly anywhere because neither of them is correct.