RSS icon

Top Stories

Sample Policy for the Copying of Software

May 18, 2001
Related Topics: Technology and the Law, Featured Article, Technology
Use the document below as a startingpoint and modify with your company information. Employees are to sign theagreement.

Acquisition, Use, and Copying ofSoftware

ABC CORP will acquire software only bypurchasing it from authorized software distributors in accordance with theprocedures set forth below. Further, it is ABC CORP's policy to respect allcomputer software copyrights and to adhere strictly to the terms of all softwarelicenses to which it is a party.

Acquisition and Use of Software

Software acquisition channels arerestricted to ensure that ABC CORP's Systems Administrator has a complete recordof all software that has been purchased for ABC CORP computers and can register,support, and upgrade such software accordingly.

All software acquired by any ABC CORPoffice must be purchased through the Systems Administrator. Submit a PurchaseOrder to the Systems Administrator, and he/she will arrange for approval of thePurchase Order, payment, and delivery of the software.

  1. No software may be purchased by using corporate credit cards, petty cash, travel, or entertainment budgets, etc.

  2. No software may be acquired or used for 'alpha' testing, demonstration, or other trial purposes, without the advance written approval of the Systems Administrator.

  3. No shareware or other 'Public Domain' software may be acquired or used without the advance written approval of the Systems Administrator. Shareware software is copyrighted software that is distributed freely through bulletin boards and online services. It is the policy of ABC CORP to pay shareware authors the fee they specify for use of their products. Registration of shareware products will be handled the same way as commercial software products.

  4. No software or program coding is to be downloaded from an external source, without the advance written approval of the Systems Administrator.

  5. No employee-owned software may be installed on ABC CORP equipment without the advance written approval of the Systems Administrator.

  6. No ABC CORP software may be given to any non-ABC CORP users, including clients, contractors, customers, and others.

  7. No ABC CORP software may used in violation of the software's license agreement. This includes use of the software on local area networks and on multiple machines.

All software purchased for ABC CORP orits branch offices will be shipped directly to the Systems Administrator at ourheadquarters office, who will complete registration and inventory requirements.Software will be registered only in the name of ABC CORP and the job title ordepartment in which it will be used. The Systems Administrator will maintain aregister of all ABC CORP software and will keep a library of software licenses.

The register must contain: (a) the title and publisher of the software; (b) thedate and source of software acquisition; (c) the location of each installationas well as the identification number of the hardware on which each copy of thesoftware is installed; (d) the name of the authorized user; (e) the existenceand location of any backup copies; (f) the software product's serial number. Dueto personnel turnover, software never will be registered in the name of theindividual user.

When software has been purchased forthe headquarters office of ABC CORP, the Systems Administrator will install thesoftware and keep the original software (and any authorized backup copies) in asecured and locked area.

When software has been purchased forother offices of ABC CORP, the Systems Administrator will make and keep anyauthorized backup copies, and then will send the original software andinstructions to the particular ABC CORP office for installation. Afterinstallation, the office must keep the original software in a secured and lockedarea as instructed by the Systems Administrator. No other installation orcopying of the software may occur without the advance written approval of theSystems Administrator or, in the event of an emergency, his or her supervisor.

Use on Home Computers

Generally, ABC CORP-owned softwarecannot be taken home and loaded on an employee's home computer if it alsoresides on an ABC CORP computer. If an employee is required to use software athome, ABC CORP will purchase a separate package and record it as anorganization-owned asset in the software register. However, some softwarecompanies provide in their license agreements that home use is permitted undercertain circumstances. If an employee is required to use software at home, he orshe must first consult with the Systems Administrator to determine ifappropriate licenses allow for home use.

Copying or Alteration of Software

The copying of software by anyone otherthan the Systems Administrator is strictly prohibited. The Systems Administratorwill create and keep any backup copies of software allowed by law.

No ABC CORP employee may alter anylicensed software or related documentation, for use either on company premisesor elsewhere, unless ABC CORP is expressly authorized to do so by agreement withthe licenser.

Unauthorized duplication or alterationof software will subject individual users to disciplinary action, up to andincluding discharge, and may result in civil or criminal penalties under theU.S. Copyright Act.

Employee's Duty to Report Violations

ABC CORP employees learning of anyacquisition, use, or copying of software in violation of this policy shallnotify their department manager or the Systems Administrator immediately.

Audits and Enforcement

Department managers and team leaderswill be responsible for enforcing this policy in their organizations.

The Systems Administrator will havesole responsibility for the interpretation of this policy. The SystemsAdministrator will be responsible for providing guidance to the requirements ofthis policy and for conducting periodic audits to ensure compliance with thispolicy.

The Systems Administrator will conductat least annual audits of ABC CORP's computing equipment, including portablecomputers, to ensure compliance with all software licenses. Surprise audits maybe conducted as well. Audits may be conducted using an auditing softwareproduct. Also, during the audits, the Systems Administrator may search forcomputer viruses and eliminate any that are found. The full cooperation of allusers is required during audits.

Employee Acknowledgment

If you have any additional questionsabout the above policies, address them to the Systems Administrator beforesigning the following agreement.

I have read ABC CORP's policy on theacquisition, use, and copying of software, and agree to abide by it. Iunderstand that violation of any of the above policies may result in discipline,up to and including my termination.

User Name (Printed)

User Signature


SOURCE: © 2000, Donald C.Slowik, Attorney at Law with Lane, Alton & Horst. For informational purposesonly. Individual policies should be developed with assistance from competentlegal counsel.

Reprinted with permission of E-PolicyHandbook: How to Develop Computer, E-mil, and Internet Guidelines to ProtectYour Company and its Assets by Nancy L. Flynn, published by AMACONBooks. All rights reserved.

The information contained here is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion.
Comments powered by Disqus

Hr Jobs

View All Job Listings