What Proof of Entitlement means for IBM Software
The software licensing documents that you receive with your IBM software contain important information related to the use, management and transfer of the licensed programs. These licensing documents that should be taken into account to have an effective license position include both private (offline) and public (online) sources relevant to ensure your Proof of Entitlement is up to date.
Private Proof of Entitlement
Proof of Entitlement represent any document or record that has been made available only to you, following the purchase of a software license.
1. International Product License Agreement (IPLA) – is the type of agreement IBM uses to license software distributed worldwide. The IPLA, including the License Information (LI) documents, grants customers a non-exclusive license to use the IBM software. All software under IPLA has warranty.
IPLA applies to IBM software products such as Data Management Tools, Application Development Tools, Systems Management Tools and IBM software products for a host-based Linux environment, such as WebSphere Application Server for Linux on System z.
2. International License Agreement for Non-Warranted Programs (ILAN) – is similar to IPLA, but it is used for IBM licensed programs for which customers chose not to have a warranty.
3. International License Agreement for Evaluation of Programs (ILAE) – provides a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use a program only for internal evaluation, testing or demonstration purposes, on a trial or “try-and-buy” basis. The evaluation period begins on the date that the licensee agrees to the terms of the Agreement and ends upon the earliest of a) the end of the duration or b) the date specified by IBM in either the License Information or a transaction document or on the date the program automatically disables itself.
4. International Agreement for Acquisition of Software Maintenance (IAASM) – is an agreement that describes the terms and conditions under which software maintenance is provided. Based on the maintenance agreement, the customer will be provided defect correction information, program updates and technical assistance.
5. International Passport Advantage/ Passport Advantage Express Agreements (IPAA) – are contracts between IBM and customers for a combined software license acquisition, Software Subscription and Support, IBM Appliances and IBM SaaS subscriptions. Under the Passport Advantage agreements, IBM provides the customer a way to obtain authorizations to use, update and support selected programs at volume pricing. A customer can order a single platform or multiple platforms, one product or entire suites, for one location or a network of offices around the world.
Passport Advantage addresses the needs of large enterprises that have multiple sites and it provides better discounts for volume purchases over time. It also entails the different obligations and rights that are agreed, impacting the purchased software and relating conditions, restrictions, exceptions and obligations.
Passport Advantage Express is designed for single-site, medium-sized enterprises and features a single price level. Renewals take place on a per transaction basis, instead of all being synchronized to a single anniversary date.
6. Enterprise Licensing Agreement (ELA) – is a multiyear contract where spending is divided into monthly, quarterly or yearly payments. Software is licensed by capacity on a month by month basis and there are no upfront costs to acquire it. Cost of software is estimated over the ELA period by the customer and IBM jointly.
7. IBM Customer Agreement (ICA) – is an agreement under which IBM software products are licensed. The ICA defines the general terms and conditions, warranties, machine or service terms of a transaction by which the customer purchases machines, ICA program licenses , obtained program licenses, and acquired services (including, without limitation, customized development and support, business consulting, and maintenance services) from IBM.
8. End User License Agreement (EULA) – is an agreement established between the software vendor and the end user. New users will be presented the EULA for acceptance upon install/download. The EULA explains the terms governing the use of the software on the customer’s device.
9. Proof of entitlement certificate (PoE) – is a document sent by IBM to all of its customers after purchasing software in order to confirm the eligible products and the level of use that they are authorized for and is the official record on entitlement. It includes important order information such as customer number, site number and order number and is evidence of eligibility for any version or release updates under software subscriptions, warranty services, and future upgrade programs prices. A PoE is created for new customer orders or when additional entitlement is purchased.
10. Ordering Document (OD) – includes the end user’s details, the name of the agreement that governs the purchase, the products that are purchased, the quantity, the license metrics and level, the fees that were paid for the licenses and the terms and conditions for the purchase.
Public Proof of Entitlement data
Besides the private PoE that only you receive, there is also the public Proof of Entitlement data which represent any entitlement details that are part of your agreement, but that are not publicly displayed on IBM’s website and are generally available for all IBM’s clients.
Licensed Information Document – provides information and any additional terms specific to a program, which applies to certain software announced or released after May, 1999. The License Information document defines any program unique terms and conditions and can be accessed here.
Announcement letters – online notifications about product releases, withdrawals, upgrades, part descriptions or changes to features or components.
Passport Advantage Online – online portal where customers can find the latest program information and an array of other important information such as migration history, order history and a summary report of the quantity of purchased licenses.
No matter the software publisher, some common rules apply with regards to Proof of Entitlement:
In general terms, a software publisher is typically entitled to perform an audit once per year. In order not to find yourself in a non-compliance position during such an audit, it is recommended to audit yourself beforehand on a regular basis. But how can you conduct a self-audit if you do not know your entitlements?
Mergers, acquisitions, transfers – are all situations which typically trigger an audit. It is important in these cases to have all documentation readily available. Store both the printed documents and the online ones in secure locations and reconcile them on a regular basis. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Since 2015, Roxana is a Software Entitlement Specialist focused on educating clients on licensing issues with Oracle, SAP and Microsoft. In her role, she works with customers to assist them in understanding and improving their software environment by reviewing their software license agreements and provide them advice regarding legal and financial risks. With a legal background, she also helps customers identify legal weaknesses in their contracts and optimize them.