With the growth of technology, it has become extremely important for companies to take advantage of various software to improve business processes. As a result, companies have been licensing software from different developers. The software tends to be very expensive, and it is important for both the licensor and the licensee to protect their investments. Software vendors use escrow agreements to protect both their interests and those of the licensee. Software escrow involves depositing the source code of the particular application with a third party. The third party is identified as the escrow agent and should have no ties to either the licensor or the licensee. Either the buyer or software vendor can introduce the escrow agreement to protect their interests.
Software is available in two formats, that is, the object code format and source code format. As a licensee, you only get the object code format while the escrow gets the source code for safe keeping. The benefit of doing this is that the licensee is guaranteed the continuity of the software maintenance. This is very important for the licensee since the software may be a key part of their business and this cushions then from possible losses. Escrow services are very important because they protect the businesses from the bankruptcy of the developer by ensuring that the source code is available for updates and routine maintenance. Under the escrow agreement, the developer, has the responsibility to maintain and offer support to the licensee based on the agreed terms and if this is not fulfilled, the licensee has the right to acquire the source code.
Besides protecting the rights of the licensee, the escrow agreement is key to protecting the intellectual property of the developer. The software industry has so many people who lack the creativity to create something new which discourages the developers from sharing their source code with the licensee. The software escrow agreement has various terms and conditions that bind both the developer and the licensee. Each of the parties in the escrow agreement has obligations to fulfil. When one of the parties fails to meet their obligations as stated in the agreement, various penalties apply. The source code escrow agreement outlines possible use or transfer of the source code which is key in protecting the rights of both parties.
Apart from storing the source code, the escrow agent has to authenticate the source code. It is also the role of the escrow service to ensure that the software is in good shape and that it offers optimal performance to the licensee. It is always advisable for a licensee to use escrow services if the software supports a vital function of the organization or has a direct impact on the revenue. If the cost of acquiring the software is very high, the licensee is also advised to make sure that they use an escrow agent.