University has an
Acceptable Use Policy for computer and network use that covers copyright issues and
A few simple guidelines prevail for using, copying and sharing software:
Although licensing terms may be challenged, it is better to read and follow them or return software if the terms are not acceptable.
Libraries may make one copy of library-purchased software solely for archival purposes; however, only one
copy at a time may be used. They may make a second copy if the single copy in use is destroyed. If the copy in use is stolen,
they need to contact copyright owners before making another copy.
If licenses limit software use to a single user or computer, then programs cannot be loaded onto additional computers.
If software is sold or given to another person it must be removed from the first user's computer.
Rather than issue explicit approved uses or
restrictions on software use, the Conference on Fair Use created illustrative
scenarios of good practice. This link will take you to the complete
scenarios, but the following examples from the scenarios and other sources illustrate a few major points:
A student at a nonprofit educational
institution licenses a computer program for a personal computer, and uploads
the computer program to the school library's network, where it can be
accessed and copied by several hundred students, faculty
and staff without permission of the copyright owner.
There is copyright infringement by the student. Their unauthorized
reproduction of the computer program is not covered by Section 109(b) exemptions
for nonprofit library lending for nonprofit purposes
or nonprofit educational institutional lending.
A professor places a legally owned copy of a program on reserve. It has no copyright notice. May the library circulate the program?
The absence of a copyright notice probably signals that the
program is a copy. While owners and libraries may usually make one archival
copy, only one copy may circulate at a time. On this basis, the answer would be
no. If the professor purchased a second copy to place on reserve, the answer
would be yes, provided there were no licensing restrictions. The library could
also make its own archival copy. In this case, however, it would be extremely
beneficial if the professor provided additional information to students to avoid
Public Domain Software
There are several sites providing free software. Public domain
software is free, can be used without restrictions, and is no longer or never
was protected by copyright. By contrast, freeware and shareware, often
also free, at least for a time period, are usually copyrighted.