Observance of Computer Program Copyright and Software Licenses

Date effective: 1991-11-06

Authorized by: Secretary of the University



1. To define measures to implement Policy 108a on Computer Program Copyright and License Agreements.


2. Policy 108a on Computer Program Copyright and License agreements requires members of the University to respect the copyright of computer programs and the terms of software licenses. Definitions of terms used in this Procedure are given in that Policy; that for "University software" is reproduced in paragraph 5, below.

3. Software products that are currently in use or installed on University computer systems must be legitimate and this legitimacy must be auditable. The department or unit must be able to demonstrate that the copyright and the software license is being observed for each item of University software installed on each of their computers, workstations or network servers, see paragraph 10.

4. Each item of University software has an Owner who is responsible for it and exercises management control over it, see paragraph 7. The Owner may assign day-to-day control of the software to a Custodian who would supervise access and use by authorized Users, as directed by the Owner. The Owner may act as Custodian and may also be the principal User.

5. University Software comprises software product copies purchased by University funds, research grants administered by the University, or acquired by the University through some contractual agreement, and software created by University employees in the course of their University duties.


6. Deans and Directors are responsible for ensuring that this procedure and the associated Policy 108a are publicised and implemented effectively within their respective Faculty or School and Service.

7. Heads of departments, centres institutes, research groups, and administrative units are the Owners of all University software on all University microcomputers, or other computer systems under their jurisdiction. They may delegate ownership authority and responsibility for items of University software, see paragraph 8.

8. The department chairperson or unit head should normally delegate the ownership responsibility for University software to the administrative officer, or other appropriate person. Ownership of each item of software should then be further delegated explicitly to the person assigned the responsibility for controlling its security and use on a day-to-day basis. In the case of purchases from research grants or other non-departmental funds, ownership might be assigned to the grantholder, or his or her delegate.

9. Heads of departments, centres institutes, research groups, and administrative units are responsible for taking effective measures to ensure that the use of any item of University software is authorized by a license agreement. They must also fully inform students and staff of their respective responsibilities under the policy. They should verify periodically that illegal software copies are not being used on University computers. Computing and Communications Services and Internal Audit may provide some assistance in this verification process.

10. The Owner or Custodian of University software should ensure that the original copies of software diskettes are kept physically secure when not in use, preferably in the same area as the computing system on which they are installed. These diskettes serve as evidence, along with the manual, that the one copy installed as a working copy on the microcomputer hard disk, or on a diskette, or on a network server, is the legal copy permitted by the Copyright Act as amended in 1988 by Bill C-60, see Appendix A paragraph 3 of the associated Policy 108a.

11. The administrative officer should ensure that a copy of the license agreement for each software product purchased by the department is readily available for reference purposes.

12. Where such interpretation is necessary, the Director of Computing and Communications Services will assist software Owners in determining what use or reproduction is permitted by the software license.


13. Labels are available through the EDP Security Administrator, Office of the Secretary. These carry a warning that the software is protected by copyright law and must not be duplicated. They may be attached to the program or system disk of a software product as a reminder that unauthorized copying is illegal.


14. A University Service or department selling software must be able to identify the purchaser of each copy of University software sold.


15. All University microcomputers in public sites or for general use should have a label attached to them stating: "Unlawful Copying is Prohibited". A notice should be prominently displayed in the room stating: "Unlawful or Unauthorized Copying of Software or its Documentation is Prohibited by University Policy and by Academic Regulations".

16. Where software is acquired for use on local area networks or on multiple machines, special attention must be paid by the Owner to monitor that its use continues to be in accordance with the license agreement.

17. Provided that the software license permits one-computer-at-a-time use, a software owner may share a single software copy between separate computers if an effective mechanism ensures that simultaneous use does not occur.

18. Use of site-licensed software copies is restricted to University premises, unless other use is permitted by the license agreement.

19. University software lending libraries must advise patrons that copying of loaned software is not permitted (unless it is in the public domain or has the copyright owner's consent). Borrowers shall be required to sign a statement that they will not copy these materials.


20. Prior to being authorized as a User of any University computing facility, a prospective User should be advised of the University policy on the observance of copyright and software licenses.

21. The booklet "Using Software: A Guide to the Ethical and Legal Use of Software", shall be made available within the University. Policy 108a and this procedure shall also be readily accessible.

22. An information sheet providing responses to common questions about copyright observance and software licenses shall be available from the EDP Security Administrator and from Computing and Communications Services.


23. Policy 108a establishes that breach of this policy may result in disciplinary measures being taken against University employees, and sanctions for misuse of computer facilities being applied against students. These include possible legal action.


24. No exception shall made to this procedure without the written consent of the Secretary of the University.

Published November 6, 1991

(Office of the Secretary)