A software license key is a pattern of numbers and/or letters provided to licensed users of a software program. License keys are typically created and delivered via a license generator once a software user has paid for the software and has agreed to the conditions of use and distribution as legally specified in the software license (also known as an End-User License Agreement, or EULA).
From a software developer standpoint, the purpose of license keys is to prevent the developer's software from being copied, shared or otherwise illegally used (aka pirated) by non-licensed users. A separate class of software apps known as keygens (short for key generators) has been created with the purpose of bypassing the legal product registration and license key activation process by generating counterfeit license keys.
See "Is Software Ownership the Same as Licensing?" in the "Did You Know..."section of Webopedia.
Taking ownership of our own misjudgments or simple forgetfulness takes a healthy amount of humility and some honest self-assessment. Yet sometimes... Read More »Have We Become a World of Addicts?
It's hard to imagine our lives without smartphones. But people who suffer separation anxiety when they don't have their phones nearby may be in... Read More »13 Best Free Android Apps
From secure messaging to document editing, our top free must-have apps have been rated, reviewed and named the best free Android apps of 2015. Read More »
From wacky alarm clocks to lecture hall tools and after class entertainment, these Android apps are a good fit for a student's life and budget. Read More »Network Fundamentals Study Guide
A network is a group of two or more computer systems or devices, linked together to share resources, exchange files and electronic communications.... Read More »Computer Architecture Study Guide
This Webopedia study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
- Watch Datamation's editor James Maguire moderate roundtable discussions with tech experts from companies such as Accenture, Dell, Blue Jeans Network, Microsoft and more »