1612 Software Licensing

Responsible Official: 
Chief Information Officer
Responsible Office: 
Office of the Provost
Effective Date: 
July 1, 2013
Revision Date: 
July 1, 2013


This policy applies to all faculty members, staff members, students, and contractors (“Yale Users”).

Policy Statement

It is the responsibility of each individual user to be aware of the Software License restrictions for the software that they use. Use of illegal or improperly licensed software on University systems is prohibited.

It is the responsibility of Information Technology Services (ITS) to educate users about the general Software License restrictions that apply to software distributed by ITS.

Yale IT service providers shall comply with all licensing terms and contracts associated with the software they are distributing or installing as required by the University Information Technology Appropriate Use Policy (ITAUP), Policy 1607, 1607.1 (C)(2)(use in violation of Yale’s non-profit status), and 1607.1 (C)(6)-(7)(use in violation of law and University policy).

Reason for the Policy

The improper installation, use, or duplication of software may create legal liability for the University and Yale Users. This policy provides direction regarding the acquisition, use, distribution and redistribution of commercial, public domain, and Yale-authored software and Software Licenses.


Software License

A Software License is a contract with a software publisher or copyright holder that includes the terms under which the user may install, use, copy, modify or distribute software.

Software License Key

A Software License Key generally takes the form of a code or passphrase that must be entered into a software product in order for the product to function without restriction or for features to be enabled in the software. The Software License Key may also take the form of a physical device that must be connected to the computer running the software.

Installation Media/Installation Source Files

Installation Media are any media (CD, DVD, USB drive, etc.) a publisher uses to distribute software. Software publishers generally require a Software License Key to activate or install software found on Installation Media to protect against illegal copying.

Installation Source Files are files downloaded directly from the software publisher or distributor. Their function is equivalent to that of Installation Media.

Policy Sections

1612.1 Adhering to Copyright Laws and License Agreements

All Yale Users shall adhere to all copyright laws and packaged Software License agreements. Packaged software products shall only be duplicated in accordance with license agreements (e.g., a backup copy for protection). The use of copy protection bypass software is prohibited. U.S. Copyright Law generally prohibits the duplication, distribution or installation of copyrighted software unless the license agreement specifically allows these actions..

1612.2 Copying Licensed Software/Open-Source Software

Software licensed to run on a specific computer or at a particular site shall not be copied onto another computer or another site without written authorization from the vendor (e.g., when allowed specifically by the vendor’s written Software License agreement).

Yale Users should be aware that many open-source software titles are governed by a Software License agreement that limits how the software may be used, modified or distributed.

1612.3 Illegal Software

Illegally copied Software, software downloaded from an unauthorized source, or unauthorized shareware/freeware may not be used on the University network, computers or other information resources.

1612.4 Independently Purchased Software

It is the responsibility of the Yale User to read, understand and abide by the terms of any Software License agreement for software purchased independently (including individually packaged software purchased through such facilities such as Yale E-Procurement Solution, or directly through a vendor’s website).

1612.5 Centrally Distributed Software

When the University provides software at no cost for Yale business use, ITS shall instruct Yale Users on how to comply with essential contract or license terms, including general limitations that have been placed on use of the software. This instruction shall take the form of instruction by the IT support provider distributing or installing the software, or via notifications on the website or file share where the software is provided.

1612.6 IT Support for Software Installations

Support personnel shall only install software , initially or as a renewal license for subscription-based software, when valid proof of license is available. The presence of a particular software title on a user’s prior system(s), or possession of the Installation Media, Installation Source Files or Software License Key may not entitle the user to have that software title installed on a new or replacement computer. (See Section 1612.2 above.)

IT support staff may not distribute Software License Keys in violation of University contracts and license agreements.

1612.7 Policy Violations

Report any violations of this policy to Information Technology Services (ITS) at the contact number listed below.

1612.8 Disciplinary Procedures, Penalties, and Legal Liability

Please see Policy 1607: Information Technology Appropriate Use Policy, Section 1607.3 for information on disciplinary procedures, penalties and legal liability for violations of this policy.

Special Situations/Exceptions

None at this time.

Roles and Responsibilities

Information Technology Services Vendor Management

University Software Library management, University Software License management and administration and coordination of user Software License education.