copyright compliance at UNT
May 3, 2002
Computer software copyright compliance is a
significant issue with the potential to affect all departments and
organizational units at the University of North Texas.
The various rules and regulations regarding computer software licensing
create a myriad of compliance issues that must be addressed. The unauthorized use of computer programs and applications is
termed “Software piracy.” Types
of piracy include the following:
Software piracy is illegal, and thus creates a liability
for both the individual and an organization.
The penalty for civil copyright infringement is a fine up to $100,000 per
title infringed; a willful criminal violation carries fines up to $250,000 per
title infringed and up to five years imprisonment.
UNT has several computer policies and guidelines that assist in computer use and security. These policies are based on guidelines established by the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR), the Copyright Act of 1976 (Title 17 of the U.S. Code), and the No Electronic Theft (NET) Act of 1997. In addition, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has several provisions governing license usage: it can be found at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=105_cong_bills&docid=f:h2281enr.txt.pdf.
UNT Policy 126.96.36.199 states that (1) computer software,
computer data, and/or software manuals may not be copied or transmitted
electronically without appropriate prior consent, and (2) computer installations
will take appropriate and reasonable steps to inhibit attempts to obtain
unauthorized copies of computer software, computer data, and/or software
manuals. Additionally, UNT Policy
3.10 states “All commercial software and many other digital materials are
covered by a copyright of some form. The unauthorized duplication and
distribution of software and other copyrighted materials (including copyrighted
music, graphics etc) is a violation of copyright law and this policy.”
UNT’s Internal Audit department also has a good
discussion of software license compliance at http://www.unt.edu/audit/software.htm.
It gives guidelines on best practices that departments should establish to
insure that they comply with applicable state and federal laws and regulations.