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Keep track of your software licenses (University of Delaware)

According to Leila Lyons, Information Technologies--User Services, a department should track its software licenses at all times.

"We suggest that one person be designated as the person responsible for recording all of a department's software licenses," Lyons said. She suggests that this information should be kept readily accessible to other staff members.

At a minimum, departments should track the following information:

  • name and version number of the software and vendor,
  • computer on which the software will run,
  • name of the computer user,
  • date the license was acquired and relevant serial numbers.

  • According to Lyons, individual students and employees who maintain their own systems are "wholly responsible for ensuring software license compliance and must keep all relevant licensing information readily available. Therefore, it is preferable to have departments take the lead in organizing software licensing records."

    Cheryl Morris, Internal Auditing Office, indicated that, although it has not happened at UD, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and SIIA's Anti-Piracy Division have followed up on complaints at other universities, leading to the payment of fines or back-licensing fees.

    "We are not aware of any current plans to audit software licenses across the University at this time. However, it is imperative that all software on University machines be licensed, and we must be able to demonstrate this in the event of an audit," Lyons added.

    According to Rachel Haynes of SIIA, fines and payments are on a case-by-case basis.

    "If a case comes to SIIA's attention, we try to negotiate a settlement between the copyright holder and the offending institution so that the case does not need to go to trial."

    Morris said that, although there are no current plans for a campus-wide audit, in the course of doing an individual departmental audit, "we might ask to see the licenses for software on individual PCs."

    She recommended that departments keep two lists by way of cross-checking: A list of all licenses sorted by software product (and listing the computers on which the software is installed) and a list sorted by computer (so that an individual computer can be checked).

    She also suggested that departments establish procedures for making sure all licenses are handled properly when a new PC replaces an old one.

    "If the new PC does not come with its own new set of software licenses, keep a record that the software has been removed from the old PC before you move it to the new one," she said.

    First published February 5, 2002

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