Software Licensing Policy

Version: 1.00Issue Date: 12/16/2014

This Software Licensing Policy provides guidelines required to remain in compliance with software licensing agreements and software copyright laws. Most computer applications are protected with software licensing agreements or software copyright protection. It is a violation of the law to use software in ways not compliant with software licenses and a violation of the law to copy information or source programs protected by copyright laws.

1.0 Overview

This Software Licensing Policy defines responsibilities, requirements, and methods to ensure software licensing and copyright requirements are being met.

2.0 Purpose

The purpose of this Software Licensing Policy is to:

  • Ensure that the organization operates computers with only legal software installed or stored.
  • Ensure that the organizational acquisition, reproduction, distribution, transmission, and use of computer software is in compliance with licensing agreements and applicable laws.
  • Ensure that contractors to the organization are also in compliance with copyright agreements and the law.

3.0 Scope

This Software Licensing Policy covers all software operated by the organization or its contractors. It applies to all computers and software and any users that use either whether they work for the organization or a contractor. This policy is effective as of the issue date and does not expire unless superceded by another policy.

4.0 Definitions

  • Commercial Software - Also known as proprietary software, it is normally accompanied by a licensing agreement which is the terms of use for the software required by the manufacturer.
  • Shareware - Freely distributed software which can be used for a trial period after which the user is expected to make payment or meet terms of the license if they continue its use.
  • Freeware - Software which does not require payment but some terms of use may exist such as Open Source licensing.
  • Copyright - A legal protection against reproduction of created work without permission from the creator.
  • Software License Agreement - A legal contract between a software application creator or manufacturer and the software user.

5.0 Licensing Requirements

Purchasers of software must:

  1. Read and agree to abide by the licensing agreement of the software they purchase before the software is opened or used.
  2. Agree to the terms of use and abide by the conditions for freeware and shareware.
  3. Be sure that no more than the number of allowed users are using the software than is permitted by the licensing agreement or the number of licenses purchased.

6.0 Licensing Responsibilities

  • Staff members must understand and abide by the terms of the licensing agreement of the software they use. They must not use, copy, or distribute software in violation of the licensing agreement, copyrights, or the law.
  • Managers of staff members must review the terms of software licensing agreements when the software is purchased. Managers must instruct staff members to remain in compliance of the law and licensing agreements.
  • Staff members who are unsure of the licensing agreement with software must read the agreement and doumentation again. If still unsure, the staff member must contact the software company for clarification. If it is determined that a copy of software is illegal, it must be erased or destroyed.

7.0 Licensing Duties

  • Computer software users
    • Comply with licensing agreements and laws.
    • Don't copy software unless permitted by the licensing agreement.
  • Auditors
    • Audit software on an annual basis to determine compliance.
    • Inform managers of departments where they fail to be compliant.
    • Document audit results and provide the information to senior management.
  • Computer Security Administrator
    • Implement procedures to ensure software license and copyright compliance.
    • Be sure that no more than the number of allowed users are using the software than is permitted by the licensing agreement or the number of licenses purchased.
    • Ensure any noncompliance issues detected are resolved.
    • Work with managers and senior management regarding any compliance issues.
    • Inform staff members and managers about software license agreement provisions.
  • IT Administrator - Be sure software license agreement terms are in force by
    • Verifying that installed software has the correct serial number specified on the license agreement.
    • Be sure software media including CDs and diskettes along with manuals are stored securely and available for authorized use. Users of the software should sign a log and check it out and back into the library.
    • Ensure software is loaded on one computer for each purchased license.
    • Be sure non-compliant software is removed from computers.
  • Manager of Information Technology which uses software
    • Obtain and organize software license agreements and maintenance agreements.
    • Review results of software license audits.
    • Ensure staff members are aware of license agreements and agree to comply.

The Computer Security Administrator and the IT Administrators must ensure that license terms are not violated by performing backups. Deployment of hot or cold disaster recovery sites or redundant hardware must remain in compliance with license agreements. The IT administrator must ensure this is the case at the time of installation and the Computer Security Administrator must periodically audit to be sure compliance is in force.

8.0 Other Policies

Purchase and installation of all software must comply with the Approved Application Policy.

9.0 Enforcement

Since legal software use is important to maintain legality and prevent liability employees that do not adhere to this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including denial of access, legal penalties, and/or dismissal. Any employee aware of any violation of this policy is required to report it to their supervisor or other authorized representative.

10.0 Other Requirements

  • Contractor must agree as a part of terms of their contract to abide by licensing and copyright laws.
  • Auditors must auditor systems for compliancy on an annual basis.
  • Auditors must annually audit systems to determine the software being used and determine whether the inventory system accurately reflects the number of users and the number of licenses for the software applications in use.


Approved by:__________________________ Signature:_____________________ Date:_______________