Buying a commercial license personally

Continuing the discussion from Buying a commercial license personally but using it at the employer:

I’m working at a very large company and would like to use Obsidian at this company, but only for managing my own work. As the company is huge, it’s nearly impossible to let them buy a commercial license. I would be the only person using Obsidian.

So I’d like to buy the license with my private data and use Obsidian on my computer(s) at work. I’m already doing similar stuff with the Jetbrains IDEs.

Is that allowed by the commercial license? Am I allowed to install Obsidian on different computers as long as I’m the only person using it (in my users home directory, so even if other log onto the computer they can’t see it)?

This topic has been marked as resolved, but since the answer is not public I’ll have to ask again, since my use case seems very similar: I would like to use Obsidian for all my notes, including work notes. This means as per the FAQ that a commercial license is needed. However, my employer is not likely to give their okay for that [EDIT: that is: buying it with company money]. I could buy my own license though, as I have done for other software before and can then use it at work. How to deal with this as regards to Obsidian?

I’m confused about this. If your employer won’t allow it, then there is nothing that Obsidian can do nor that can be added to the Obsidian Commercial License to overcome your employer’s policy restricting use of other software. You’d need to either convince them to allow it (e.g. using the argument that all files are kept local), or go rogue.

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Sorry for the confusion! I am allowed to use software that I would like to use (within some bounds of reason), but they don’t necessarily want to pay for it themselves.


I’m not sure I understand the question either, @matti, since you cited the answer to the most obvious interpretation of it. The EULA states, “You need to pay for Obsidian if and only if you use it for revenue-generating, work-related activities in a company that has two or more people.” Thus, if your company has more than two people and you’re using Obsidian for work-related, revenue-generating purposes, then a license is required for each user. Mixing your personal notes with work-related notes is irrelevant for licensing purposes.

As the other thread suggested, if you have a novel use case or something, contact @Silver for the final answer.

Something else to keep in mind is ownership of data. If you’re using the same vault to store both work and personal notes, the company you work for is arguably its owner and has a right to access it. This is true for the U.S. I don’t know how other jurisdictions address it though. So, be aware of that. I hope this helps.

Thanks, that’s a fine point.

@matti : to answer your original question, yes, it’s generally okay to pay for the license yourself and get a commercial license under your name. That way you’re given the right to use Obsidian to work for any organization. However, that doesn’t mean you have ownership over all the data in your vault, that’s a entirely different issue and is mostly irrelevant here. I’m just pointing it out after @Scribe 's reminder.

The reason that we ask people to direct message us is that everyone’s case is different. We don’t want to answer “yes, you don’t need a commercial license” in one place and people just assume they’re in the same situation. Who pays for the license is less of an issue to us, so we’re putting a public answer here that we can refer to later.

Please, if you’re not sure if your situation calls for a commercial license, please read the “Licensing Frequently Asked Questions” at the bottom of this page: EULA Overview - Obsidian

If that still doesn’t answer your question, reach out to us.


Thanks for the official answer @Silver.

Yes, I was pretty sure that this was right, but I wanted to be certain before I go further into deciding what to do.

I thought I would keep work data in a dedicated folder. So if they would like to have that data I would hand over all the files/notes in that folder but not the whole vault.


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