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By Nick Harris 

A continuing challenge for CAD, BIM and IT Managers is ensuring that their organisation is using software in a compliant manner. Almost all commercial software vendors grant you a licence to use their products on your computers in accordance with the terms and conditions of the licence. To be compliant you are required to install and use the software strictly within those terms and if you don’t you may be liable for penalties, enforceable within UK law. Autodesk has had a zero tolerance approach to non-compliant use of its software for a number of years. It argues that it provides sufficient licencing options to satisfy the needs of most organisations and that it is clear about the terms of each of the options.

There have been a number of high profile Autodesk compliance investigations over the last ten years and large organisations have been found to be non-compliant, sometimes to a significant extent.  It is easy to assume that non-compliance is a result of wilful piracy or uncontrolled over installation but these factors are actually the exception. In most cases the cause is a misunderstanding of who can use each licence purchased by an organisation and where. Usually an Autodesk licence can only be used by an employee of the organisation that purchased it, on a computer owned by that organisation and in the country or region that organisation is based. In the past it was permitted to install and use standalone licences on only one computer. Furthermore, network licences could not be shared with other companies or even offices in a different region of the same company.

Fortunately, now when you subscribe to an Autodesk product the rules are clear and there is more flexibility around how licences are assigned. With the new, named user approach, it is much clearer how licences are assigned, with less opportunity for misuse. The emphasis is now on complying with the rules on how a named user is established and their entitlement for installing and using the software. These rules include:

  • Each Named User must be identified by a unique user id, and be individuals, not groups or generic logins.
  • Each unique Autodesk ID may only be used by the Named User and may not be shared with any other individual.
  • If more people need access, the customer must purchase additional seats.
  • Named User has access to product and Cloud Services where applicable.
  • Each license seat is assigned to a Named User.
  • Named User privileges may be reassigned as needed.
  • Desktop Subscription limits usage to 1 Named User per seat for up to 3 machines.
  • Software will work offline for up to 30 days. After 23 days customers will receive a notification to connect to the internet.

For the administrator it is important to note that the last point which describes how the installed product checks the assigned subscriber’s entitlement at regular intervals. If the entitlement has expired or been removed the product will no longer function. If you have decided not to continue subscribing to that particular product or you have reassigned the licence to a different user, the original user will be prevented from using the product and therefore remain compliant.

Monitoring is now much easier with Autodesk Account web portal providing a single place to view, amend and assign licences. In the next edition I will look at how the portal can support your organisations software compliance policy.

For further information on this article please contact your Account Manager or call our Sales Team on 01784 419922 or email sales@cadline.co.uk​​