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.
Learn about each of the five generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the current devices that we use today. Read More »Small Business Marketing's Greatest Hits
The following compilation of small business marketing tips highlights some of the expert advice published over at Small Business Computing. 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 »
With cost and security in mind, we look at five cloud storage options that will suit the needs of most home and SMB owners. Read More »Windows 10 Tips for Desktop PC
Five basic tips to help you customize Windows 10 on your desktop PC. Read More »29 Free Android Apps for Cash-Strapped Students
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 »
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 »