A system and method and system for controlling distribution of software to an user in a multitiered distribution chain. The system includes at least one entity that distributes the software in a locked software container, and includes means for receiving a request from the user to use the software. The method and system further includes a license clearing house for controlling usage rights of the software. The license clearing house includes means for receiving the request from the at least one entity, means for validating the request, means for generating a unique authentication certificate if the request was validated, and means for sending a reply to the user. The reply includes the authentication certificate and a master key, where the master key unlocks the software container and enables the user to use the software, and the authentication certificate identifies the user as an authorized user of the software.