I was wondering how does a Company make sure that a Commercial License was purchased for a Framework they are providing?

For Example Qt is a Framework for C++ and it can be downloaded and used freely. If someone is developing software in a Commercial way and he uses a free License how it is possible that he gets fined for it?

I can imagine that bigger companies can get easily compromised but small development Teams of 1 to 5 People?

  • 5
    You don't get fined, you get sued, and that probably ends your company. Is a few hundred dollars worth risking everything?
    – Caleth
    Jan 10, 2020 at 10:27
  • Look up how lawsuits work. If they don't find out, nothing will happen. If they do find out, (roughly speaking) they will call their lawyers and make you settle (pay them a fine) or go to court. And they hire people whose job is to find people using their free license for commercial stuff.
    – user253751
    Jan 10, 2020 at 10:44
  • The biggest risk are former employees knowing what's going on and left their employer displeased. And no, this is not a software engineering question, it is a workplace question.
    – Doc Brown
    Jan 10, 2020 at 11:05
  • Usually you enter a license agreement when you download the software (even at no cost). You then have a legal obligation to pay license fees under the terms of the agreement. You'll also leave evidence behind if you ship your software with the licensed components. Even years later they can come after you and get their money.
    – Martin K
    Jan 10, 2020 at 17:44
  • @Caleth: I don't think if the Qt company finds about someone else using their framework commercially without a proper licence the first thing they will try is to ruin them. That's not their business model.
    – Doc Brown
    Jan 10, 2020 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


To be fair, techincal solutions are often the first call for this kind of thing.

Lawyers are rarely needed because anyone worth sueing wont be interested in using pirate software.

But they might need a push in the riggt direction.

This is why you often see "enterprise" versions of open source software. They have a few extra features that are super useful for big companies and maybe a limit removed or a tech support contract .

Big companies buy a whole tonne of software all the time and wont think twice about paying load of money for the best version.

Small cash strapped companies get sucked in by the free version and can be pestered to upgrade if they are successful

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