Understanding “Named User” Licensing for Crystal Reports

Monday 10 September 2007 @ 11:06 am

Here is a question that came up today and I was surprised to find that I didn’t have this info anywhere on my site. Crystal Reports is licensed under a “Named User” license. This means that if you have 5 people creating reports, then you need to have 5 copies or licenses for Crystal Reports. This doesn’t mean 5 simultaneous users, it means 5 specific individuals and no sharing. Now this isn’t mechanically enforced (you don’t enter a name to validate the license). It is done on the honors system. But that doesn’t make a violation of the license any less of a violation.

What sometimes surprises people is that this is not connected to how many PCs have the software installed. For instance, a single user, with a single license, can legitimately install Crystal Reports on several different PCs – as long as he is the ONLY person who uses Crystal Reports on those PCs. The flip side is a bit more surprising. If 2 people share one PC and both use Crystal reports to create reports, then they are technically supposed to own 2 separate licenses. Even though they can’t use them at the same time and even though they can’t really install both.

I often have to explain this to my customers when they configure a training room for an on-site class. Some managers are concerned about installing the software “again” in the training room. But, I tell them that if they have sufficient licenses for the students to work at their desks, then giving those same people another PC to work on doesn’t violate the license.

Now you may wonder what basis I have for making this statement. A few years ago when XI was released I asked some questions to clarify the new Crystal Reports XI license. One of the Crystal Reports product managers was assigned to give me official answers. Below is a section of an Email message I received addressing this issue. If anyone has contradictory information from a reputable source, I would be happy to follow-up. But note that this is specific to Crystal Reports only and not any other Business Objects products.


Subject: RE: re[6]: Licensing Question Responses
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2005 18:20:00 -0400
Linked to: James Thomas (Business Objects)
From: James Thomas
To: Ken Hamady <ken@kenhamady.com>

Hi Ken,
Here are the answers to your EULA questions.
>>How about this question. A user has one named user license but installs
>>it on 2 PC’s in his office. If he is the only person that uses the
>>software on both PC’s has he violated the license? It is after all a
>>Named User license not a PC license.

[Answer. No. He has not violated the named user license.]

I have since reconfirmed this with SAP for CR 2008 and CR 2011.

One Response to 'Understanding “Named User” Licensing for Crystal Reports'

  1. Ken Hamady - September 14th, 2007 at 8:36 am

    I got the following question from one of my readers:

    “Does that mean then that if you register the license to the company name that any user within the company is entitled to legitimately use the software?”

    Sorry, the name used for registration has nothing to do with the licensed user. You are supposed to have one license for every single person who uses Crystal to create or run reports. This is regardless of when or how much each person uses it. So 12 people, even if they only used it one at a time, even on the same PC, would need 12 licenses. Note that Crystal doesn’t have an enforcement mechanism for this, except for the possibility of auditing your actual use of the software.

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