Members of the Chemistry Department should be aware that under UK Copyright Law, the illegal reproduction of software can be subject to civil damages without financial limit and to criminal penalties including fines and imprisonment. This is no empty threat: the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) carries out raids from time to time and if unlicensed software is discovered the penalties can be severe.
The Head of Department is required under the University Software Policy to put procedures in place to ensure that all software is properly licensed. Nobody wishes to interfere any more than necessary with the research and teaching of the Department, and we hope that the following rules will impose the minimum possible burden on everyone. Nevertheless, some effort is needed to ensure that everything is adequately licensed and documented.
- Every research group, and each section of Technical Services, must have an IT Representative, who will be responsible among other things for ensuring that all licences are valid and that the terms of each licence are being observed.
- The IT Representative should be able to produce on demand a list of all proprietary software used in the group, with details of licences.
- The group leader will be required to sign a declaration once a year specifying the name of the group's IT Representative and declaring that all software used by members of the group is properly licensed.
- All paper documentation for software licences belonging to a research group should be kept together, preferably in a file held by the group secretary. In the case of software supplied with the computer, the documentation may take the form of an invoice or quotation for the computer. Computing Service Sales supply a licence certificate for any software bought through them.
- Individual members of the Department are responsible for ensuring that all software on computers that they use is properly licensed. If there is any doubt, the group Computer Representative should be able to confirm whether or not a licence exists for any particular item of software.
- The Computer Officers may, on the authority of the Head of Department, carry out spot checks on any computer at any time to ensure that no unlicensed software is installed. Although the Computer Officers do not actively search for unlicensed software, discovery of any during the normal course of their duties will lead to immediate disciplinary action.
- Personally-owned computers must comply with these rules if they are used within the Chemistry building. All software on such machines must be properly licensed, whether it is used for University purposes or not.
- If unlicensed software is found on any computer in the Department, disciplinary action will usually include disconnection of the computer from the Departmental network until the offending software is removed, but need not be limited to that.