A former big hitter in the UK channel has been named as the chief executive of a new body designed to give end users a voice in the software licensing world.
Mark Flynn, who has formerly worked for Snow Software, Civica and Bytes, has been handed the reins at the Campaign for Clear Licensing (CCL), which aims to act as a counterweight to bodies such as the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
Flynn argued that for too long, software publishers have had the mindset of "where there is mystery and fear there is money" when engaging with customers.
"This has to stop, but there is a big hole when it comes to the representation of end users in the software market," he said.
"FAST [the Federation Against Software Theft], BSA, SIIA [Software & Information Industry Association] and so on are there to support the cause of the software publishers but no one is standing up for end-user organisations.
"The CCL's mission is to fill this gap, driving down the indirect costs of using commercial software by improving the clarity and usability of software licence terms and developing an industry-wide standard code of conduct for software audits that software publishers, partners and end users comply with."
Having been founded last year, CCL aims to build a constructive dialogue with software publishers and has already met with Oracle.
It also intends to work with the reseller community to further its mission statement of "reducing the indirect costs of using commercial software by improving the clarity and usability of software licence terms and conditions and developing a code of conduct for use by the industry when resolving disputes, including during audit".
Flynn left his previous role as UK managing director of software asset management vendor Snow in April, before that working for various software licensing VARs including Civica, Teksys and Bytes.
FAST chief executive Alex Hilton said the body has "broadly welcomed the CCL since its launch a year ago".
"It is our belief that anything that can help educate consumers of software of their liabilities and licence positions has to be welcomed," he said.
"But I think we also need to be very clear that it is not a simple 'one-size-fits-all' approach when it comes to software licences. It is a hugely complex area in which we are seeing end users demand ever more flexibility when it comes to their licences. Ironically, it is this flexibility that is in turn leading to greater complexity in the market as the vendor community responds to the needs and requirements of the users."
Warren Weertman, senior counsel, EMEA at the BSA, said the BSA welcomes any initiative like the CCL which "helps educate end users about the nuances and complexities surrounding software licensing".
"As an organisation, we always try to educate businesses about the best way to manage their software licenses as we appreciate that it can be tricky, especially when working in a large organisation or if you don't have the right expertise or knowledge," he said.
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