New Oracle Terms and Conditions – Buyer Beware

Tuesday, 26 November, 2019

It should come as no surprise that Oracle Corporation, like many other vendors, actively leverages software audits as a means to generate easy revenue. In this article, we delve into the intricate and ever-evolving landscape of Oracle software audits. These audits are driven by a desire to boost revenue, but they also pose significant challenges for organizations. By understanding these challenges and implementing effective strategies, you can protect your organization’s compliance and budget. Let’s explore the world of Oracle software audits together.

Revenue Generation: Audits as a Lucrative Avenue

Oracle, like several other software vendors, accelerates the pace of software audits to capitalize on revenue opportunities. Their knowledge that Oracle software deployment does not require license keys spells trouble for those utilizing Oracle software. This realization has prompted Oracle to intensify its software auditing efforts. Consequently, the more audits Oracle performs, the more revenue they generate.

Small Companies, Big Audit Findings

Even small organizations with a minimal Oracle software footprint are not exempt from the potential financial impact of audits. A case study by LicenseFortress showcases a small manufacturer that, despite having an annual support bill of less than USD 15,000, faced the possibility of a staggering $1 million fine through an Oracle audit. Oracle recognizes that regardless of a company’s size, there is significant revenue to be gained by thoroughly auditing software compliance. This realization has led to notable changes in Oracle’s approach to software audits, including an increased pace of audits and the utilization of third-party auditors, particularly outside the United States. Expectations point towards a continued rise in third-party audits, both in frequency and the range of authorized auditing organizations working on behalf of Oracle Corporation.

Navigating the Complexities: Oracle’s Complex Licensing Rules

One of the most significant challenges in Oracle software audits arises from the complex and confusing nature of Oracle licensing rules. As aptly stated by General Counsel News, Oracle maintains one of the most aggressive audit programs among major software publishers. The licensing rules are notoriously difficult to understand, often inadequately stated in license agreements. Moreover, Oracle’s License Management Services (LMS) team is known for its unforgiving approach when applying these rules. They frequently exploit Oracle’s ambiguous license terms and convoluted contracts, leading to audit findings that can cause considerable distress for business owners.

Beware of Changing Terms and Conditions

Over the years, Oracle has exploited contract renewals as an opportunity to modify the original terms and conditions. However, it is often not in the customer’s best interest to accept these changes. For instance, many customers who initially had the right to run Oracle software on another server worldwide for up to 10 days lost this privilege when accepting new contract terms. Oracle is once again attempting to alter the terms, and caution is advised.

Audits and Their Scope: Limiting Unnecessary Information

Allowing Oracle to run audit scripts on your systems raises legitimate concerns, as the scripts collect extensive information that surpasses the requirements of a software compliance audit. Before granting Oracle permission to run audit scripts on your infrastructure, it is essential to establish an agreement that restricts the collection of data solely necessary for completing the software license audit. By limiting the scope of the audit to systems deploying Oracle software, you can minimize the areas where the script needs to run. It is crucial to prevent Oracle from gathering unnecessary information disguised under the pretext of a license compliance audit.

Refusing New Terms and Conditions

When presented with revised terms and conditions, it is crucial to assertively respond to protect your organization’s interests. For instance, you may respond as follows: “Running third-party scripts on our company server directly violates our internal security policy. We see no reason to update the original terms and conditions that we agreed upon.”

Secure Handling of Audit Information

Another critical consideration during a software audit is determining where Oracle sends the collected information. Recently, it was disclosed that this information is sent to an Oracle team in Romania. Given the sensitivity of your infrastructure and company data, it becomes imperative to exercise control over the audit process. While acknowledging Oracle’s right to conduct audits, it is vital for your organization to safeguard its interests. As Gartner research aptly emphasizes, vendor-imposed and revenue-motivated audits are increasing across organizations of all sizes and industries. Thus, it is crucial to protect your organization accordingly.

Leveraging Third-Party Support

Dealing with an Oracle software compliance audit alone is not advisable. Opting for assistance from a specialized firm like LicenseFortress, experienced in negotiating with Oracle, is a smart decision. Collaborating with such firms becomes imperative to proactively ensure Oracle license compliance before an audit occurs. By partnering with experts, you can navigate the complexities of Oracle software audits with confidence and minimize the risk of non-compliance and unexpected financial burdens.


In the ever-changing realm of Oracle software audits, organizations must proactively prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. By understanding the revenue motives driving audits, navigating complex licensing rules, and implementing effective strategies, you can safeguard your organization’s compliance and budget. Remember to limit unnecessary information, assertively respond to new terms and conditions, control the audit process, and seek third-party support when necessary. By taking these measures, your organization can confidently navigate the Oracle software audit landscape and ensure a secure and compliant software environment.