Software and copyright

All software has licence conditions, even that downloaded free from the Internet and failure to comply with the licence conditions renders you liable to copyright infringement.

All software has one or more authors who assert the right to their intellectual property in the software that they have written. Copyright applies therefore to all all software whether or not you have paid money for it and the distribution and use of software is subject to a 'licence' which specifies the terms of use. 

Commercial Software (perpetual use)

In this case you pay a fee for the software and the licence allows you to use it for as long as you like on one machine and to make copies only for the purpose of backup if something goes wrong with your machine. If you change your machine, you may transfer the software to your new one, but you MUST delete it from the old one before passing it on to someone else. In some cases a licence may permit use on more than one machine, but this is ALWAYS EXPLICIT in the licence terms.

Commercial Software (annual rental)

This is similar to the perpetual use licence, but you have to pay a fee each year for continued use and in most cases the software stops working unless the fee is paid and a new 'licence key' is issued by the supplier. Annual rental often applies to site licences (where once the fee is paid, the organisation may use the software on as many machines as it likes) and to software on mainframe or server computers. Again the licence terms will be EXPLICIT as to what use is allowed.

NOTE In neither of the above cases are you permitted to attempt to modify or reverse engineer the software or remove any copyright messages, etc.

Contact us

If you have questions about software licencing, they may be referred to the IT Services Administration at: