Licence Agreement Vs Ast

When it comes to software usage and distribution, license agreements and ASTs (Application Service Terms) are two commonly used legal documents. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they are two distinct types of agreements that have different implications for both software users and developers. In this article, we will explore the difference between license agreements and ASTs, their key features, and how they affect software usage.

License Agreement

A license agreement is a legal contract between a software developer and a user that outlines the terms and conditions of software usage. Through a license agreement, a software developer grants the user the right to use the software based on a specific set of terms and conditions. These terms often include the scope of use, restrictions, warranties, and liability disclaimers.

License agreements can be classified into two broad categories: proprietary licenses and open-source licenses. Proprietary licenses are used for commercial software and impose various restrictions on the user, such as limiting the number of users and installations. On the other hand, open-source licenses allow users to access and modify the source code of software freely and distribute it as long as they follow the terms of the license agreement.


An Application Service Terms agreement (AST) is a type of legal agreement that governs the usage of a software application service. Unlike license agreements, an AST is used for web applications or cloud-based software services that operate on a subscription-based or pay-per-use model. AST agreements are often used when there is no software installation required on the user`s device.

AST agreements usually include the terms and conditions applicable to accessing and using the software application service. These terms can include data protection, service level agreements, data privacy, and intellectual property rights.

Key Differences

One of the key differences between license agreements and ASTs is their scope. While license agreements apply to traditional software installations, ASTs are mainly used for services that are accessed over the internet, such as web applications.

Another significant difference is in their structure and content. License agreements are usually more comprehensive and detailed, covering issues such as installation, use, warranties, and limitations of liability in great detail. AST agreements, on the other hand, focus more on usage and service agreements.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, both license agreements and ASTs are essential legal documents that regulate software usage and distribution. However, they are used for different kinds of software and services, and their contents and structures reflect these differences. As a software developer or user, it is essential to understand the implications of both agreements and comply with their terms and conditions to avoid any legal issues.

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