Software Licenses

Information on Software Licenses

Reviewed 7.15.17 by Bil Hays

All software licenses for the Department are maintained by the IT Director, a member of the Computer Services staff, rather than by individual research clusters. Other users can keep copies of licenses, but the IT Director must have a copy of all agreements.

Copying Software


The Association of Data Processing Service Organizations (ADAPSO), a major computer industry trade group, has this to say in a pamphlet on duplicating software:




People who would never walk into a store and shoplift a software product think nothing of making several copies of the same software. The results are the same. This act is just as wrong. When it comes to unauthorized duplication of software, many people do not realize the costly impact on the software developer and the customer community. The relationship between customer and developer in a software transaction is one of mutual trust. The customer trusts that the developer has produced a product that will deliver the desired result, performs according to specifications, and is properly documented and supported. The developer trusts that the customer will make use of only those copies for which he has purchased a license, even though making additional, unauthorized copies is relatively easy. Unauthorized duplication and use of software violates the U.S. Copyright Law, and it unfairly deprives software developers of revenue they are entitled to receive for their work. Software developers find that thousands of illegal copies have been made by customers who either innocently believe they are doing nothing wrong or simply choose to ignore the law.




Reproducing computer software without authorization violates the U.S. Copyright Law. It is a Federal offense. The money paid for a software product represents a license fee for the use of one copy. It does not represent an authorization to copy. Civil damages for unauthorized software copying can be as much as $50,000 or more, and criminal penalties include fines of up to $100,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.




Let’s start by dispelling some myths with a few facts.
First, software developers do not condone unauthorized copying in order to gain market penetration.
Second, the price of software does not make unauthorized copying justifiable. The cost of a software product to a consumer represents only a small fraction of the publisher’s development and marketing cost.
Third, although the cost of softlifting (installing a licensed copy on more than one machine) is borne initially by the software developer, it is paid for ultimately by legitimate users.




It’s obvious that legitimate software users are paying for theft along with software developers. It’s obvious, too, that no one is going to put up with it for long. Think twice before you ask someone to give you an illegal copy of their software. Think three times before you offer to do it for someone else. Softlifting or software piracy is not only a crime; it’s simply wrong.


Software Licensing


There are numerous software licenses covering software on our systems. The Computer Services group has taken pains to install software so that it will run on machines where it is licensed and not elsewhere. If you have a question about whether it is legal to copy some software from one machine to another or to run the software in a non-standard way from a machine that the software is not installed on, send mail to

ITS has negotiated campus-wide software agreements with some software vendors, such as Microsoft and Symantec.  Some of these licenses cover having a personal copy at home for free or a substantial discount.  For more information, check for free distributions or call Student Stores at 2-2422 for reduced price software.  While Computer Services staff do not make a point of looking for illegal software, if we see it installed on a machine, it is our obligation to follow up on it.  Computer Services maintains a firm policy that illegal software is unacceptable.  If a user desires a particular software product, CS staff will assist in obtaining that software (or something comparable) legally.  There are agencies that do spot checks of businesses and universities to insure they are using legal copies of software. Violators can be fined heavily, so please help us maintain legal software on all of our machines.