At Traverse Legal, our legal professionals specialize in a wide range of practice areas, including but not limited to Corporate Law, Contract Law, Business Law, Trademark Law, Copyright Law, Arbitration, and Litigation. Our lawyers take pride in our commitment to delivering high-quality, high-value, and efficient legal solutions for clients. Among the wide variety of software and technology companies we represent, many of our largest clients offer cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS).
As a business owner, it’s important to know whether or not your software is being licensed or offered as a service. If access to your software is granted through logging into your website and subscribers are paying a fee, there’s a good chance you’re offering software as a service (SaaS). If so, it’s crucial to have an experienced SaaS attorney draft a contract between you and your registered users. This contract, known as a SaaS agreement, will define the terms of the relationship between you and the users of your software platform.
Key components of a SaaS agreement include the user agreement, account access, rules and policies, terms, termination, dispute resolution, service level agreement, limitation of liability, and warranties. Having a clear and well-drafted SaaS agreement in place can help protect your business and ensure a smooth operation for both you and your subscribers.
Software as a service agreement is a legal contract between a service provider and end users who subscribe to the service built on a software platform and hosted in the cloud. The subscribers to the software being offered service on a subscription basis often pay a monthly or annual fee to use the software. The advent of cloud-based computing allowed businesses to develop software and make it available without subscribers needing to download or install any software on their servers or computers. Instead of licensing software, cloud base companies allow end users to log in to their software. There are huge advantages to cloud-based software services, including the fact that the software development company can make real-time changes and upgrades, which instantly become available to subscribers. SaaS business models also brought an explosion of subscription-based models, which lowered the cost of software access and allowed technology businesses to spread costs across larger groups of users, thus lowering the cost of access.
Examples of SaaS companies include Salesforce, Quickbooks Online, OpenSea, Hootsuite, and many others. Artificial intelligence companies such as ChatGPT are offering access to their AI on a SaaS model. This allows the AI company to preclude access to the source code, the algorithms, or the database driving the AI while allowing users to use machine learning functionality as a service.
Technically, no. Some SaaS businesses provide copyrighted works in addition to the service offered through their software. Those SaaS companies must address the service contract and the copyright license in the subscriber agreement. A SaaS lawyer who understands the difference between service contracts and copyright license agreements will know how to identify services and copyrighted works to cover both issues.