A Guide to the Ethical and Legal Use of Software for Members of the Academic Community
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.
RESPECT for 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, databases 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 and is endorsed by the University of Evansville.
SOFTWARE AND INTELLECTUAL RIGHTS:
Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. This principle applies to works of all authors and publishers in all media. It encompasses respect for the right to acknowledgement, 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.
QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE ABOUT USING SOFTWARE:
ALTERNATIVES TO EXPLORE:
Software can be expensive. You may think that you cannot afford to purchase certain programs that you need. But there are legal alternatives to unauthorized copying.
SITE LICENSED AND BULK-PURCHASED SOFTWARE:
Your institution may have negotiated agreements that make software available either to use or to purchase at special prices. Consult the Office of Technology Services for information. Software available through institutional site licenses or bulk purchases is subject to copyright and license restrictions and you may not make or distribute copies without authorization.
Shareware, or user-supported software, is copyrighted software that the developer encourages you to copy and distribute to others. This permission is explicitly stated in the documentation or displayed on the computer screen. The developer of shareware generally asks for a small donation or registrations fee if you like the software and plan to use it. By registering, you may receive further documentation, updates and enhancements. You are also supporting future software development.
PUBLIC DOMAIN SOFTWARE:
Sometimes authors dedicate their software to the public domain, which means that the software is not subject to any copyright restrictions. It can be copied and shared freely. Software without copyright notice is often, but not necessarily in the public domain. Before you copy or distribute software that is not explicitly in the public domain, check with the Office of Technology Services.
A FINAL NOTE:
Restrictions on the use of software are far from uniform. You should carefully check each piece of software and the accompanying documentation yourself. In general, you do not have the right to receive and use unauthorized copies of software, or make unauthorized copies of software for others.
If you have questions not answered by this brochure about the proper use and distribution of a software product, seek help from the Office of Technology Services, from the software developer, or publisher. This brochure has been produced as a service to the academic community by EDUCOM, and adapted by the University of Evansville. EDUCOM is 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. Although this brochure is copyrighted, you are authorized and encouraged to make and distribute copies of it, in whole or in part, providing the source is acknowledged.
1987 EDUCOM and ADAPCO
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