Computer Software License Policy


  • Ensure Kettering University is in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws regarding the installation and use of computer software
  • Ensure that the Kettering University computer users are aware that all proprietary computer software is protected by Federal copyright laws.If it is explicitly labeled as Freeware, Free Software, Open Source, Public Domain or Free for Educational Use, less stringent rules may apply
  • Prevent the installation of illegal or unlicensed copies of software on any Kettering University owned or operated computer system


This policy applies to all Kettering University Departments, faculty, staff and students.


This policy is under the authority and oversight of the Chief Information Officer, Information Technology Department of Kettering University.

Technical review of this document is under the direction and authority of the Manager of Technical Services, Information Technology, Kettering University.


All software installed or run on Kettering University equipment must be licensed with a proof of purchase available for audit verification.


The proper licensing of software is both a legal requirement and an ethical imperative. Industry watchdog organizations regularly survey organizations for software license compliance and can assess substantial penalties for noncompliance.

Kettering University purchases and licenses the use of computer software from a variety of outside companies. Unlike software developed by Kettering University employees, Kettering University does not own this licensed software or its related documentation and, unless authorized by the software developer, does not have the right to reproduce it except for backup purposes. Unless Kettering University purchased a site license, a separate license must be purchased for each computer on which a software product is installed.

According to applicable copyright law, persons involved in the installation and operation of unlicensed software can be subject to civil damages and criminal penalties including fines and imprisonment. Kettering University does not condone the illegal duplication, installation, or operation of software.


Freeware: software for which a license is provided without charge.Distribution is permitted but it cannot be modified and the source code is not available. Frequently the license is provided to select groups (home users, educational users, etc.) although some freeware is available to anyone. Free software, as compared with "freeware", is a matter of the users freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve and not necessarily tied to the cost of the software.

Free Software: refers to software distributed in source form, which can be freely modified and redistributed. It does not refer to zero-cost software.

Open source: refers to the fact that the source code of "Free software" is open to and for the world to take, modify and reuse. The distribution terms for "Open Source" are more stringent than for "Free Software".

Public Domain software: software that is not copyrighted.

Shareware: software for which a temporary license is provided without charge to use for evaluating the software. Virtually all such temporary licenses expire after a fixed period of time after which a standard license must be purchased.

Freeware, Free Software, and Public Domain Software should not be used above a department level application. Generally this software does not provide for protection against developer participants coming back and suing for damages for the use of their software code with consent.


Each Kettering University department head is responsible for assuring that the software running on all computers operated or managed by department employees is appropriately licensed.

Kettering University employees must not install, upload, download, or use any unlicensed software. Properly obtained and licensed demo and personal software may be installed by the employee at the discretion of the department head with the understanding that Information Technology will only support standard university academic and administrative software. Kettering University employees who make, acquire, or use unlicensed copies of computer software are subject to disciplinary action up to and including suspension or dismissal. Upgrades, service packs and or hot fixes will be coordinated through Information Technology. 


Each Kettering University employee who believes that unlicensed software is installed on equipment that he or she uses is responsible for advising their department head of that circumstance. Each department head that has reason to believe that unlicensed software is installed on any equipment operated or managed by their department employees should either immediately purchase appropriate licenses, remove the software immediately, or consult with Information Technology to resolve the problem. Information Technology's Help Desk (ext. 8324) can provide assistance in removing unlicensed software from desktop computers or servers.

Kettering University Information Technology will perform a university-wide annual computer inventory of select software applications. This inventory will be performed at the end of November. Information Technology will provide each department with a list of software identified in the inventory. Departments are responsible for matching inventory records with purchase records to assure that all software is appropriately licensed. To achieve compliance, departments will need to either purchase a license for, or discontinue using, each unlicensed application identified. Each department will sign a statement confirming that licenses have been identified for all software running in that department within 60 days of receipt of the inventory.

Information Technology can only perform software inventories on computers that are regularly connected to the network and meet university standards. Departments that choose to use non-standard equipment or below-standard windows computers, will need to inventory their own equipment and provide separate assurance of compliance. Departments will also need to inventory software on all computers not regularly connected to the network including standalone PCs, laptops and notebooks, handheld computers (PDAs), and University equipment installed at off-site locations including homes.

Contact Information

For information and clarification regarding this policy, please contact the Manager of Technical Services at phone extension 9581