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Information Security and ePrivacy

Right to Copy and Use Software Policy

Print friendly Modified January 13, 2012

The Office of Information Technology supports the work of EDUCOM, a non-profit consortium of over 450 colleges and universities committed to the use and management of information technology in higher education, and ADAPSO, the computer software and services industry association. This work is outlined in their brochure Using Software: A Guide to the Ethical and Legal Use of Software for Members of the Academic Community.

Quoting from this document, “Software enables us to accomplish many different tasks with computers. Unfortunately, in order to get their work done quickly and conveniently, some people justify making and using unauthorized copies of software. They may not understand the implications of their actions or the restrictions of the U. S. copyright law. Here are some relevant facts:

1. Unauthorized copying of software is illegal. Copyright law protects software authors and publishers, just as patent law protects inventors.
2. Unauthorized copying of software by individuals can harm the entire academic community. If unauthorized copying proliferates on a campus, the institution may incur a legal liability. Also, the institution may find it more difficult to negotiate agreements that would make software more widely and less expensively available to members of the academic community.
3. Unauthorized copying of software can deprive developers of a fair return for their work, increase prices, reduce the level of future support and enhancement, and inhibit the development of new software products.

Respect for the intellectual work and property of others has traditionally been essential to the mission of colleges and universities. As members of the academic community, we value the free exchange of ideas. Just as we do not tolerate plagiarism, we do not condone the unauthorized copying of software, including programs, applications, data bases and code.

Therefore, we offer the following statement of principle about intellectual property and the legal and ethical use of software. This ‘code’ - intended for adaptation and use by individual colleges and universities - was developed by the EDUCOM Software Initiative.

“Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. This principle applies to all works of all authors and publishers in all media. It encompasses respect for the right to acknowledgment, right to privacy, and right to determine the form, manner, and terms of publication and distribution.

Because electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced, respect for the work and personal expression of others is especially critical in computer environments. Violations of authorial integrity, including plagiarism, invasion of privacy, unauthorized access, and trade secret and copyright violations, may be grounds for sanctions against members of the academic community.”

It is expected that each employee of the Office of Information and Instructional Technology will follow and support the above principle.