Question about Academic Licenses and Discounts.

  • Posted: 08 April 2009 03:45 AM

    I’m a college student student currently studying film. I recently purchased a Macbook Pro last October and have been enjoying it every since. I’m glad to have switched to the Mac. Well, I’ve been looking at buying Final Cut Studio to do video editing, and until recently was thinking of using my academic discount. However, I now realize that the academic licenses do not allow for commercial use. I’m willing to purchase the regular version but wonder If the academic discount I used to purchase my Macbook Pro affects my ability to use it in any way. Intuitively, I doubt that the academic discount on the Macbook Pro would restrict my use now and after I graduate, but given the academic license terms found on software like Office for Mac and Final Cut, I wasn’t sure. Also, I wondered if buying future versions of the OS, ILife, etc under academic pricing would restrict my use.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

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    Posted: 08 April 2009 11:49 AM #1

    In theory, yes it does restrict your use according to the terms in the license agreement. However, there is nothing physically or digitally preventing you from using them in any way you see fit except for the license agreement. The software is not crippled in any way (it is the same as the retail version). At least as far as I have seen.

  • Posted: 16 April 2009 06:31 PM #2

    A common tactic used by software manufacturers is that Academic licensed software isn’t eligible for upgrades. I know Adobe does this; when you can get CS4 Design Premium for $400 in Academic pricing, Adobe just makes you buy the whole thing again if you want to upgrade later. Functionally the software is never any different.


    Less is More (more or less).

  • Posted: 19 May 2009 02:27 AM #3

    Well, thanks for the replies. I took a while to respond to see if I could get different points of view. I have read the Apple license, and the only thing in the license that mentions academic software is this following paragraph.

    “Academic Copies: If the Apple Software retail package is labeled “Academic Single User”, you must be
    an Eligible Educational End User to use the Apple Software. “Eligible Educational End Users” means
    students, faculty, staff and administration attending and/or working at an educational institutional
    facility (i.e., college campus, public or private K-12 schools).”

    It basically only mentions that you need to be an educational user to use it, but does not explicitly state how you can use it after graduation. Both of you mentioned that the software would have the same functionality except for upgrades (I’ve verified that as true).

    My main concern stems from a rumor that I heard a while ago. I had overheard that a student wrote a script with Final Draft software that was pirated. Allegedly, it was possible for the software company to take away the student’s copyright rights for the script, henceforth taking ownership of the created content. Granted, academic software is not the same as pirated software, but neither can be used commercially.

    The license terms on most creative software mention that the company takes no ownership of user-created content.
    However, a person who does not fit under the license, ie a user of pirated software, may not have the same rights. That would explain why the above rumor could be true.

    Given my new thoughts, I will reiterate my question. If someone uses academic software for a commercial project, could they potentially lose their rights to the content that was created?

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    Posted: 19 May 2009 08:20 AM #4

    IANAL, but I find that rumor to be unlikely and easily challenged in court. copyright law, as far as I know, is not related to how the content is actually created.

    George Lucas wrote THX-1138 when he was a cinema student at USC. If he had written the script using Final Draft Student Edition, does that make the script any less his?

    However, I believe the intent is that after you graduate you will buy a full license to the software. At least that is their hope.