Increasingly, software publishers are looking for new tools and processes to assist them in their license-enforcement programs. While such efforts are understandable to a degree, they sometimes can include methods that are somewhat dubious at least from a customer-relations perspective, if not from a legal perspective. One provision from Adobe’s most recent end-user license terms provides a good example. (The full EULA is available here.)
Section 14 of the EULA includes the following language:
Those terms raise a host of privacy-related concerns, especially for businesses that may store sensitive, personal information (such as the kinds of information covered by HIPAA, for example) on the same systems where the Adobe software is installed. Depending on the scope of Adobe software usage and on the architecture of affected IT systems, many businesses may want to consult with counsel to determine whether contemplated and ongoing use of Adobe products licensed under the above terms may be in conflict with relevant contractual or regulatory obligations. It also is important to keep those provisions in mind in the event of an audit, since Adobe previously may have received software-inventory information that could be in conflict with information reported during the audit.