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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

We are a small but global group of companies. We have an office in the USA and we have a dollar account. How legal is it to buy USA softawe for use in the USA and UK? We use Citrix XenApp/Terminal Server so it's all rather grey to start with.

Primarily, it's Adobe software which for reasons better known to Adobe (greed?) costs the same in dollars as UK pounds. So you can buy Adobe Master Collection for $2,499 but it costs the same in pounds - but import would be be nearly £1,000 cheaper.

Cheers, Rob.

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marked as duplicate by Iain Jan 28 '12 at 20:32

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What does Adobe's sale support have to say about this? Is the software running on the Terminal Server? There are probably additonal licensing considerations if it is, regardless of where the users are located. –  shufler Aug 13 '09 at 15:47
    
Adobe sales know even less about terminal server than their support which is not saying much. Actually, the Adobe stuff would be running locally outside of TS. –  Rob Nicholson Aug 17 '09 at 10:41

6 Answers 6

It depends on the software and the license agreements, but it many cases it is legal. Similar to you, we have offices in many countries and often we make our purchases in the US due to the lower cost.

I can't comment on importing specifically to the UK though.

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The most restrictive export laws that I've seen is centered around strong encryption. The US Government doesn't want strong encryption to get to the wrong place.

Take a look over here for an interesting overview.

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I'm UK based, it's legal so long as you pay import duty and VAT on the software.

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But this would be a purchase by a US company for use within a global group. Sure, they would have to pay local tax but import duty is rather grey IMHO –  Rob Nicholson Aug 17 '09 at 10:40
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You might want to check the "second-hand" rules for VAT / duty; you could buy the licences in the US, use them for some minimal period and then sell them from the US parent to the UK subsidiary. Talk to a tax lawyer, but you can almost certainly make some savings there. –  Richard Gadsden Nov 11 '09 at 17:37

In Ireland, is is also legal to import US software. You just have to pay and duties and, of course, VAT.

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Lots of software licences prohibit you from doing this. You need to check the individual licence because breaching the terms is as bad as using a pirate copy.

The typical Adobe licence has no further restrictions than the standard US export banned countries.

http://www.adobe.com/products/eulas/

Also bear in mind that you may have activation/support/content issues with it being out of its natural region. They are not always identical worldwide.

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As Adobe support is a useful as a chocolate fireguard, lack of support is the least of our worries :-) –  Rob Nicholson Aug 17 '09 at 10:42
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Lots of software licences purport to prevent various things. Many jurisdictions restrict what precisely can be done through a software licence; in many cases some of the provisions of the licence are unenforceable because of local laws. If there is a provision that you think is unreasonable, it's well worth asking a lawyer whether it's enforceable. Licensors often keep provisions in that they know are unenforceable because many licensees still abide by them without knowing they don't have to. –  Richard Gadsden Nov 11 '09 at 17:35
    
In the UK contrary to what another poster has written this falls under copyright. Breach of the terms is breach of copyright. The unenforcable points only relate to the transfer and acceptance of the terms. There have been high profile cases recently where companies have succesfully used copyright to stop and claim back damages from grey imports. –  JamesRyan Nov 12 '09 at 10:01

Will you be running the app on Citrix XenApp/TS? where is that system based? in the US/UK or both?

Paying import duty and VAT will usually not bring the Adobe software anywhere close to the same cost as the UK edition, but if your running it on a Citrix/TS server (or virtual desktop) located in the US then you can avoid that all together

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At the moment UK based servers. However, we're considering putting in local servers in each country –  Rob Nicholson Aug 17 '09 at 10:43

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