Crystal Reports 2011 license changes

Tuesday 24 May 2011 @ 2:10 pm

I have already written about the handful of minor changes in CR 2011.  So when I tried it last week there were no surprises in the actual product.  I was surprised a bit by the license, but probably should not have been surprised.  Crystal product managers and I have a tradition that we follow with every new product release:

1) Whoever happens to own Crystal that week puts in excessive restrictions.
2) I point out that the restrictions are excessive.
3) They have a serious internal discussion.
4) Things (usually) change for the better.

This time the issue was the restrictions in section (7).  If you strip it down a long legal paragraph you get this sentence:

“Except as expressly permitted… you may not … use the Software to provide …. third party training, … or consulting services, or any other commercial service related to the Software …”

This same wording was included initially with CR 2008 and then removed after I started to write about it.  If these restrictions were ever enforced they would choke off the entire ecosystem that has given Crystal its position as market leader.  As I reread the license I got some hope from section 4:

“PRODUCT SPECIFIC USE RIGHTS. Additional terms relating to your use of the Software are found at” …

But when I tried to follow that link and see what additional rights I had, things got bizarre:

First, the linked page forwards you to a license resource page with 6 more links.  There is no guidance as to which one leads to the “user rights” page.  I had a 1 in 6 chance of selecting the right link.

Then, if you happen to choose the right one you are given another list of links – this time 12 different documents.  Again there is no guidance.  So now you have a 1 in 72 chance of finding the right document.

Then, to actually open any of those 12 documents you have to register on the SAP site and then sign in to your new account.

Then once you are registered, and if you select the right document from the 12, you open up 54 pages of dense legal terminology.  Out of those 54 pages, 53 pages do not apply to Crystal Reports.  There is a table of contents in the front, but it doesn’t mention either “user rights” or “Crystal Reports”.  Page 27 has the specific user rights for CR 2011.  You can imagine the likelihood of a user finding the right page.  And after all that, the “user rights” didn’t even address the new restrictions.

So I sent some feedback to the folks at SAP.  They had some internal discussions and now assure me that they intend to make some adjustments to the restrictions section.  The plan is to provide essentially the same user rights that we have in CR 2008.  And they are also going to make the link to the “user rights” document go directly to the document and include a meaningful table of contents.  All of this is slated to be updated sometime in July.

3 Responses to 'Crystal Reports 2011 license changes'

  1. markdmyers01 - September 6th, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Ken,

    First off, thanks for pursuing this issue. I recently installed an eval copy of CR2011 and the EULA still has the restriction mentioned above. I have looked over the SAP Software Use Rights and SAP Software General Terms and Conditions documents. I could not find this restriction in either document. I admit I could have missed it.

    I then tried to access the Community Network for more information, but it is currently down.

    I’m currious if this restriction applies only to the evaluation version and not an actual licensed version?

    I did find section 6.1.2 of the SAP Software Use Rights document helpful in that it does give permission:

    “6.1.2 SAP Crystal Software Usage. Licensee may use SAP Crystal software to deliver training and consulting services for such SAP Crystal software, provided that each individual receiving the benefits of the training or consulting services has acquired a license separately to Use the applicable SAP Crystal Software.”

    However, section 6.1.5 is an issue:

    “6.1.5 Use of Screenshots and wordmarks for SAP Crystal software. Licensee may reproduce and distribute screen shots and wordmarks for SAP Crystal software in documents or media provided that:
    a) The document or media isn‟t for commercial training material or third party training material and/or for-profit training material.
    b) Licensee‟s Use may not be obscene or pornographic, and Licensee may not be disparaging, defamatory, or libelous to SAP, any of its software, or any other person or entity.
    c) Licensee‟s Use may not directly or indirectly imply SAP sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Licensee‟s product or service.
    d) Licensee may not Use the screen shot in a comparative advertisement
    e) Licensee may not alter the screen shot in any way except to resize or crop the screen shot.
    Licensee may not include portions of a screen shot in other product user interface.
    g) Licensee may not Use screen shots that contain third-party content unless Licensee has obtained the express permission from the third-party.
    h) Licensee must include the following copyright attribution statement: “SAP product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from SAP.”
    i) If Licensee‟s Use includes references to a SAP Software, Licensee must use the full name of the Software.
    j) Licensee may not use a screen shot that contains an image of an identifiable individual unless Licensee has obtained permission from the individual.”

    So it appears one can provide training (and consulting), but not develop training material for commercial use. Do I read this correctly?

    Thanks, Mark

  2. Ken Hamady - September 6th, 2011 at 3:25 pm


    I think you are correct. I think they gave up on trying to prevent independent course-ware through copyright (which doesn’t work) and are using their EULA instead. So if you are a licensed user you can make screen shots but can’t publish them. If you are NOT a licensed user you can publish screen shots in a commercial training manual but you don’t have the software to generate them. Hmmm…..

  3. markdmyers01 - September 6th, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I did find a blog on SAP’s website which somewhat addresses this question. And it appears we see the situation correctly.

    One option is to use screenshots from the 2008 version since there virtually is no difference between the two versions. Certainly nothing that warrants screenshots.

    Thanks again for your help!

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