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Policy 64 – Use of Proprietary Computer Software

Established: July 1, 1986 

Last updated: February 7, 1989 

Class: G

1. Statement of General Policy

The University requires that proprietary software, which for purposes of this policy includes data sets, be used only in accordance with the terms of appropriate licenses, letters of permission, and according to all applicable law including the Copyright Act. If a license or letter of permission precludes copying, distribution, or release to third parties, the manager(s) and users of systems using such software shall take reasonable precautions to eliminate the possibility of copying, distribution, or release, by or to third parties.

2. Implementation

  1. Most computers, from mainframes to personal micro computers, may utilize software in which a corporation or an individual has proprietary rights. The use of such software is controlled by the issuance of a license or letter of permission, either by the vendor of the software or by the proprietor. Where such licenses or letters of permission restrict the use of software to a single system, and do not permit copying for further distribution, the University's policy is to require compliance by all its members.
  2. Teaching systems which consist of a collection of restricted capability processors connected to a file server and/or coordinator (supervisor) processor (e.g., Waterloo Polaris and similar systems) shall be considered as a single multi-processor system. In that instance, a license or suitable letter of permission is to be obtained for each item of proprietary software resident on the file server or coordinator (supervisor) processor. If the system includes devices available to third-party users, which could facilitate copying or other violations of the licensing terms, users of the system shall be informed of this policy. Systems managers shall document that this has been done.
  3. All users including systems supervisors/managers are urged to be cautious in obtaining or accepting copies of software from second parties, in particular from "user networks" or informal groups or individuals. They are also advised to check licensing considerations and contract signing authorities (and the possibility of site licenses) with the Director, Technology Transfer & Licensing, Office of Research, before obtaining or installing software on systems.