Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Help us keep our software legal

We provide a wide range of market-leading software,  mostly site-licensed and thus free at the point of use, for all staff and students. However, our providers are still detecting downloading and use of pirated versions of their software, often by students who don’t realise that this is illegal. This negatively impacts on our relationship with providers and can cost a lot of time and money to resolve.

Please help us meet our legal obligations. Our IT Code of Practice makes it clear that any software used on University computers, or on computers used on the University network, must be properly licensed.  We would particularly ask those supervising postgraduates to make sure they obtain the software they need from legitimate sources, as some may be used to obtaining ‘free’, ie pirated, copies.

A wide range of academic software, including SPSS, Matlab, and Ansys/Fluent is available to download and use from our software download service:

If you need other software contact the CiCS helpdesk or your department IT support staff to discuss your requirements.  However, departments or research groups needing expensive specialist software should expect to cost this into their project bids.

Some software providers can detect the use of unauthorised versions of their products and any indication of non-compliance issues could lead to a very difficult, time-consuming and possibly expensive University or departmental audit. Non-compliance includes software that is:
- from a site that has no right to provide it (ie not CiCS, the provider or their authorised agent)
- 'hacked' or 'unlocked' to disable its protection system
- used for a purpose not covered by the licence - eg a commercial or profit-making activity
- used on a personal computer when only licensed for University machines
- used on extra computers or by other people, when only licensed for one machine or user

Typical consequences are a charge of the full licence fee plus a surcharge for each non-compliant instance. Individuals may be pursued by complainants and with a single licence for academic software being several thousand pounds this could be a costly mistake.