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Office of Information Technology (OIT)

UT Arlington
OIT: Office of Information Technology

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Computer Software Policy

General Policy Statement

It is the policy of The University of Texas System (UT-System) and its component institutions to follow the United States Copyright Law of 1976, as amended (Title 17, United States Code, hereinafter, the Copyright Act). The University of Texas at Arlington (UT Arlington), and its students, faculty, and staff are legally bound to comply with the Federal Copyright Act of 1976 (Title 17 of the U.S. Code); the Term Extension Act of 1998, and the Digital Millennium Act of 1998, including complying with all proprietary software license agreements.  Accordingly, all employees (i.e., faculty and staff) and students of The UT-System and its component institutions should adhere to the following software policy guidelines:

Copyrighted software may be copied without the copyright owner's permission only in accordance with the Copyright Act. Section 117 of the Act permits making an archival back-up copy. Most software, however, is licensed to the user and the terms of the license agreement may give the user permission to make copies of the software in excess of the archival copy permitted by the Copyright Act.  Each software license is unique. As a result, the user's rights to copy licensed software beyond that permitted under the Copyright Act may only be determined by reading the user's license agreement. Any copying or reproduction of copyrighted software on The UT-System's or component institution computing equipment must be in accordance with the Copyright Act and the pertinent software license agreement. Further, faculty, staff and students may not use unauthorized copies of software on System or component institution owned computers or networks or computers housed in System or component institution facilities. 

Relevant Facts

  • Unauthorized copying of software is illegal. Copyright law protects software authors and publishers, just as patent law protects inventors.
  • Unauthorized copying of software by individuals can harm the entire UT Arlington community. If unauthorized copying of software proliferates on our campus, the institution may incur legal liability.  Also, the institution may find it more difficult to negotiate future license agreements.
  • Unauthorized copying (and use) of software deprives the owners a fair return for their work; increases price; reduces the level of future support and enhancements, and inhibits the development of new software products.
  • Respect for the intellectual work of others has traditionally been essential to the mission of colleges and universities.  As members of the academic community, we value free exchange of ideas.  Just as we do not tolerate plagiarism, we do not condone the unauthorized copying of software, including programs, applications, databases and code.

Therefore, the following procedures regarding the use and duplication of computer software are provided

UT Arlington Procedures Governing Use and Duplication of Computer Software

General

These procedures will specify the processes and documentation required to protect all original computer programs, databases, applications, and code from institutional or individual infringement.

1. Copyrights and license agreements  User License

Payment by a UT Arlington department for acquisition of a software product represents a license fee to use a designated number of copies. The department does not own the copy of the software, but merely purchases a license to use the software.  The license is not a blanket authorization to copy.

Site license

The University enters into site license agreements with commercial vendors for campus wide use of certain software products. Before entering into a contract with a vendor for a particular product, a department should contact the Desktop Support Group within OIT to find out if a site license exists, and if so, to request a copy of the software.  The University has site licenses for several products, including, for example, word-processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and database management applications software.

2. Legal Reference

UT Arlington (its students and employees) is legally bound to comply with the Federal Copyright Act of 1976 (Title 17 of the U.S. Code); the Term Extension Act of 1998; and the Digital Millennium Act of 1998 and all proprietary software license agreements.  Non-compliance can expose UT Arlington and responsible students and employees to civil and/or criminal penalties.

3. Application

These procedures apply to all software acquired by or on behalf of UT Arlington (wherever used) and all software (however acquired) used on UT Arlington computing resources (collectively, Software). Resources means UT Arlington computers, computer systems, networks, facilities, equipment, software, files, documentation, accounts, and information associated with any of them.

4.  Users of Copyright Procedures

The Information Security Officer (TBD); OIT Vice Provost and Directors; Executive Vice President & Provost; Sr. Vice President for Finance & Administration; Director of Internal Audit/Institutional Compliance; all Deans and Department Heads, including functional supervisors will use these Copyright Procedures.

5. Unauthorized Software: The Process

OIT Responsibilities:

What

Who

1.  Develop and update computer software use policies and procedures.

Vice Provost for Computing & IT

2.  Maintain records of software licenses (Site Licenses) owned by UT Arlington.

Desktop Support Group (OIT)

3.  Initially introduce the Policy/Procedures for Unauthorized Software to new students, faculty, and staff during their respective orientation training.

Computing Services Group (OIT)

4.  Distribute a reminder of the Policy/Procedures for Unauthorized Software to faculty, students and staff on an annual basis (contact points would be:  The Faculty Senate, The Student Congress, and The Staff Advisory Council).

Vice Provost for Computing & IT

5.  Additionally, for students, issue a reminder of the Policy/Procedures for Unauthorized Software at the beginning of each semester, and post said Policy/Procedures at all Lab sites, to include such places as the Internet Cafй (Sam’s Click Cafй), the University Center, and the Bookstore.

Desktop Support Group (OIT)

6.  Design (with input from department heads) and implement formal documents for employees to indicate the known software on their personal machines, verified by their signature.  The language ‘to the best of my knowledge’ will be included to provide protection to faculty/staff who attempt to be forthright but feel uncomfortable making an absolute statement until all software on their machines can be verified with certainty.

Desktop Support Group (OIT)

7.  Offer software verification assistance to departments who have multi-user machines and are uncertain of the software residing on said machines at any given time.

Desktop Support Group (OIT)

8.  Affix “incandescent” warning tags to every UT Arlington computer resource with a UT Arlington Inventory Tag No..  Such a tag will caution all Users of the civil and criminal consequences of software usage violations.

Desktop Support Group (OIT)

9.  Incorporate Policy/Procedures for Unauthorized Software into the Training Post curriculum, which must be taken by Faculty/Staff annually (material will be reiterated bi-annually).

Computing Services Group (OIT)

10.  Conduct random checking of PC’s across campus to attempt to match employees’ signed forms to the actual software residing on their PC’s (using Windows Start/Programs “Software Audit” as a baseline).  This random checking will be announced in advance, with the acknowledgement and participation of the PC owner, during normal working hours.

Desktop Support Group (OIT)


6. Responsible Authority for Copyright Procedures

The Vice Provost for Computing & Information Technology is responsible for the content and execution of these procedures.

7.  Others Who Have a Stake in the Operation of these Copyright Procedures

The Desktop Support Group Manager (until an Information Security Officer can be hired) is responsible for:

  • Monitoring, auditing, and detecting copyright violations.
  • Informing and updating the Vice Provost for Computing & IT.
  • Following-up on reported and detected software copyright violations.
  • Documenting restorative and corrective action.

In addition, the Director of OIT Client Services, in conjunction with the Vice Provost for Computing & IT, is responsible for evaluating these procedures periodically for effectiveness, clarity, ambiguity, ease of use for all users, accuracy and completeness, and making provisions for the collection of information for policy and process improvement.

 

8. Civil Penalties

Violations of copyright law expose the University and the responsible employee(s) to the following civil penalties:

  • Liability for damages suffered by the copyright owner.
  • Profits that are attributable to the copying.
  • Fines up to $100,000 for each illegal copy

 9. Criminal Penalties

Violations of copyright law that are committed willfully and for the purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain (Title 18 Section 2319b)), expose the University and the employee(s) responsible to the following criminal penalties:

  • Fines up to $250,000 for each illegal copy
  • Jail terms of up to five (5) years