Policy and Background
University administrators must be proactive in managing and monitoring the computing software used on the machines in their departments or schools. Mismanagement of this resource may bring a considerable liability to the University. Copying protected software also conflicts with the fundamental values of the University community regarding intellectual property.
Information regarding manager responsibility in this area may be found in the University policies and guidelines:
- Standard Practice Guide #500.01, “Fiscal Responsibilities of a Project Director”
- Standard Practice Guide #507.01, “Purchasing Policies and Procedures”
- Standard Practice Guide #601.03, “Ownership and Use of Computer Software”
- Standard Practice Guide #601.07, “Proper Use of Information Resources, Information Technology Resources, and Networks at the University of Michigan”
Specific steps that can be taken to ensure against copyright infringements on computer software include:
- Identify the person who will be responsible for software on account or departmental machines. (Where more than one project director exists, designate the network administrator or other purchasing supervisor.)
- Whenever economically feasible, encourage staff to purchase computer software through the Purchasing Department or University Stores. (See #4 below for purchases under $150.00.)
- For software distributed through the Purchasing Department, University Stores, or Photo and Campus Services, retain and file specific evidence of purchase for each piece of software; for example, purchase requisition, purchase order, invoices. (Although University policy requires retention of purchase documents for the current year and the two prior years, retain these documents for the life of the software.)
- For software distributed directly by the vendors, or where personnel have purchased software for less than $150 and do not go through University Stores or Purchasing, request, retain, and file specific evidence of purchase, receipt, communications with the vendor, and so on.
- Where employees install copies of personally owned software on University machines, regardless of how the software was distributed, require them to identify such software for departmental inventory, and encourage them to provide a copy of the purchasing documentation for the departmental records.
- For items obtained through shareware distribution mechanisms, retain and file specific evidence of payment made for each piece. (Such shareware usually specifies that if the package is being used in a commercial or work environment, a designated fee must be paid. The University is considered a commercial/work environment, making it likely that the fee is required.)
- For all software:
- Determine if the software is copyrighted.
- If yes, determine if there is a University site license and if so, the specific conditions of the license.
- Determine if the conditions of the license are met within your department; for example, number of concurrent users, number of copies.
- Maintain inventory records of all software in the department including version number and location on specific machines.
- Perform periodic reviews or spot checks to verify that inventory records are current and correct.
Hard copies of this document are considered uncontrolled. If you have a printed version, please refer to the University SPG website (spg.umich.edu) for the official, most recent version.