We have recently seen an uptick in Oracle audit inquiries from clients, with a host of questions regarding customer rights and obligations. There have been numerous different claims from Oracle regarding licensing policies and associated contractual rights and obligations. Each customer situation is unique and requires careful reading and evaluation of the specific licensing agreement and associated documents executed between the parties.
As part of our research to address these customer inquiries, we decided to go beyond our clients’ current executed license agreements to see what changes Oracle may have made to their template license agreements that may support some of their recent positions. But upon going to Oracle’s contracts page located here and clicking on the OMA or OLSA, we were unable to download a copy of the current agreements at the time of publishing this post. All that is available for download are other documents referenced in the respective license agreements, but not the license agreements themselves which have previously been available for download.
What does this mean for Customers?
It could be that Oracle is in the process of revising its template license agreements and will be making available for download the new templates in the near future. There have been many ambiguities regarding whether or not Oracle licensing policy documents are part of customer contracts, so we would not be surprised if new versions expressly incorporate these licensing policies into the template agreements. Most likely this would be a link to a page containing Oracle’s latest licensing policies, thereby allowing Oracle to modify its policies whenever it desires and having such new policies modify customer’s licensing agreements. While this is mere speculation at this point, we have seen other software vendors utilize similar practices in the past. If this turns out to be true we will be certain to comment in greater detail in future posts.
It could also be that Oracle has decided to no longer publicly publish its template license agreements, and will only share with customers at the appropriate time during a sales cycle. This could also allow Oracle to provide customer specific modified license agreements that customers would then not be able to compare to the template agreement to identify any potential modifications. Again, this is only speculation, but one can easily see the potential benefit to Oracle in no longer providing this previously afforded level of transparency.
As soon as we learn more we will be sure to post about it. In the meantime, should you have any opinions or information you would like to share, please do so by posting a comment. You may also contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would prefer a more discrete discussion regarding your specific circumstances.