The present invention provides to the software application the verification and license check out functions which are normally performed by a license server of a network software license system. The encrypted license information is contained in a license token, and is sorted in the database controlled by the license server. In contrast to the prior art where the license server either grants or denies the request after verifying the user's credentials, the license server in the preferred embodiment of the present invention finds the correct license token for the software application and transmits the license token to the licensing library. In application specific license access module attached to the application decodes the licensing token. Routines in the licensing library coupled to the software application verify the license information before checking out the license and updating the license token. The application specific license access module then encodes the updated license token before returning it to the license server. Thus, the impact of breaching the encryption/decryption of an application is limited to only one application. As a result, the present invention provides improved network-wide protection against unauthorized use of software applications in a network of computers.