Why Escrow Services are a Necessity
Advancement in technology has made it very important for companies to take advantage of information technology solutions to improve business processes. This then means that companies have to license software from various developers. Because of the prohibitive cost of developing application software, licensors and licensees want to ensure that they protect their investments. As such, escrow services have been very critical for software developers because the help protect the interests of both parties. Software escrow involves depositing the source code of the particular application with a third party. The third party is identified as the escrow agent and should have no ties to either the licensor or the licensee. Either the buyer or software vendor can introduce the escrow agreement to protect their interests.
Software exists in two formats namely the object code format and the source code format. While the licensee gets the object code format, the escrow service providers remain with the source code format. The benefit of doing this is that the licensee is guaranteed the continuity of the software maintenance. Doing this also guarantees that any business using a particular software is cushioned against possible losses that arise from poor software maintenance. Source code escrow services protect the business using the application for any event including the bankruptcy of the developer which may terminate some services. Under the escrow agreement, the developer, has the responsibility to maintain and offer support to the licensee based on the agreed terms and if this is not fulfilled, the licensee has the right to acquire the source code.
On the other hand, source code escrow is also beneficial to the software developer since it protects their intellectual property rights. There are so many people out there who are out to copy the ideas of different developers, and this makes it hard for the developer to surrender the source code to the licensee. Source code escrow is anchored on various terms and condition which bind both parties. Each of the parties in the escrow agreement has obligations to fulfil. Failure to fulfill these obligations there are serious consequences. The source code escrow agreement outlines possible use or transfer of the source code which is key in protecting the rights of both parties.
Besides just storing the source code, escrow agent helps verify the availability of the source code. It is also the role of the escrow service to ensure that the software is in good shape and that it offers optimal performance to the licensee. It is always advisable for a licensee to use escrow services if the software supports a vital function of the organization or has a direct impact on the revenue. If the cost of acquiring the software is very high, the licensee is also advised to make sure that they use an escrow agent.