Handbook of Operating Procedures

Software Copyright Compliance

Policy Number: 198


Copyright laws pertaining to licensed software


Employees and students

Date Reviewed:
July 2009
Responsible Office:
Information Technology
Responsible Executive:
Vice President and Chief Information Officer


The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston ("university") must comply with current copyright laws pertaining to computer software stated in Title 17 of the United States Code and with software license agreements. Any use of university computers and/or computer peripherals by students or employees for unauthorized duplication of copyrighted or licensed works is subject to appropriate disciplinary action as well as those civil remedies and criminal penalties provided by federal and state law.


A.  Reproduction of Copyrighted or Licensed Materials

Copyrighted software may be copied without the copyright owner's permission only in accordance with the Copyright Act.  Section 117 of the Act permits making an archival back-up copy.  Most software, however, is licensed to the user and the terms of the license agreement may give the user permission to make copies of the software in excess of the archival copy permitted by the Copyright Act.

Each software license agreement is unique.  As a result, the user's rights to copy licensed software beyond that permitted under the Copyright Act may only be determined by reading the associated license agreement.

The employees of the university's central Information Technology department or the Information Technology department in each school or The University of Texas Harris County Psychiatric Center are responsible for ensuring copyright and license compliance for software they install on university computers.

If an employee or student obtains software from a source other than a central or school Information Technology department, the employee or student is responsible for ensuring copyright and license compliance.  If an employee or student installs the software, he/she must obtain and maintain a copy of the license agreement.  If the software is to be installed by an Information Technology department employee, the required documentation must be provided to the installer as requested.  The installer has the right to refuse to install software where legitimate ownership cannot be verified.

If an employee or student cannot ensure that software on a university computer was obtained legally, the user should contact Information Technology Risk Management & Compliance for verification of the legitimacy of the license.

If an Information Technology department employee finds software with an un-verifiable license on a university computer, the Information Technology employee may report the situation to Information Technology Risk Management & Compliance and/or remove the software.

Any copying or reproduction of copyrighted software on university computing equipment must be in accordance with the Copyright Act and the pertinent software license agreement.  Further, employees and students may not use unauthorized copies of software on university owned computers or networks or computers housed in university facilities.

B.  Defense of Employees

When permissible under state law and procedures, The University of Texas System will arrange for the defense of any employee against a civil action alleging copyright infringement for any reproduction (a) that is within the Copyright Guidelines, (b) for which the permission of the copyright owner has been obtained, or (c) for which The University of Texas System Office of General Counsel has assisted in determining that the use was permissible.  Otherwise, the employee will be personally responsible for any liability for copyright infringement.




Email/Web Address

Information Technology