Guidelines: for Use of Software and Electronic Works

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Office of the Chancellor has established the following guidelines relating to the use of computer software and other electronic works:

Computer Software

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities prohibits the improper copying, distribution, or use of contractually protected and/or copyrighted computer software. “Copying” includes either duplicating floppy disks or transferring a program from a floppy onto a hard disk and then sending the copied program over a local area network or telecommunicating it over long distance lines. The following requirements apply to the use of computer software at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities institutions:

Copying of Software

  • Computer software shall not be duplicated unless properly authorized by the copyright owner. Shareware is easily identifiable through explicit statements within the software documentation, or identification is displayed on the computer screen. Unless these explicit statements identify the software as shareware, the user should assume that it may not be duplicated.
  • Software not containing a copyright notice is not necessarily in the public domain. The user should consult with the college or university’s Intellectual Property Coordinator to ensure that such software may be copied freely before any copies are made.
  • A copy or adaptation of a computer program may be made in the following two instances:
    1. the new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner; and
    2. the new copy or adaptation is for archival purposes only and that all archival copies are destroyed in the event that continued possession of the computer program ceases to be rightful.

Licensing of Computer Software

  1. Each college or university shall ensure that it holds the proper licenses for computer software in use on college or university equipment. The college or university shall hold such licenses in the name of the institution.
  2. Individual employees who acquire software for their personal use in the course of their duties at the college or university must obtain any necessary licenses. Employees may not make copies of software for associates, but rather may transfer their use to a colleague. In doing so, the original user loses the right to continued use of the software and may not retain any copy of it.
  3. Computer software shall be used only on computers for which the college or university has a license or other authorization to use the software.
  4. If the college or university supplies licensed software to students in the course of instruction in a classroom, then sufficient licenses must be held by the college or university for all computers in that classroom. If the college or university supplies licensed software to students in the course of instruction in other than a classroom situation, sufficient licenses must be held by the college or university for all students in the class and for the instructor.
  5. If more than one class is using licensed software during the same quarter, sufficient licenses must be held by the college or university for all such classes.
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Other Electronic Works

Creators of original works do not lose their copyright protection simply because a work appears on the internet. Works in the electronic environment, such as computer software, distance learning materials, telecourses, web pages, and other such material are entitled to the same copyright protection as printed work.
As with printed work, copyright protection for electronic work exists from the moment of creation and fixation in a tangible manner, regardless of where the information is found. Individuals who desire to copy works on the internet must be aware of copyright restrictions.
Questions regarding the propriety of copying material from the internet may be directed to the Intellectual Property Coordinators.

Copying with Permission

Unless a work falls within one of the exceptions above, or the intended use of a work constitutes “fair use”, no Minnesota State Colleges and Universities faculty member or staff person shall use or make photocopies and other reproductions of copyrighted works unless specific permission has been obtained from the copyright owner. If written permission from the copyright owner has been obtained, the faculty member or staff person may make such copies and reproductions and use the work in any manner authorized by the copyright owner.

For more information, please view Frequently Asked Questions– Permissions.

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Other General Requirements

The following general requirements also apply when copying or reproducing others’ protected works:

  • Copying for Profit: No Minnesota State Colleges and Universities faculty member or staff person shall copy or reproduce any copyrighted work for use in a profit–seeking venture without the written authorization of the copyright owner and the campus Intellectual Property Coordinator.
  • Unpublished Works: Unpublished works are entitled to copyright protection and all of the provisions and procedures described in this primer apply to unpublished works.
  • Commercial Copying: All of the provisions and procedures described in this primer apply to copying and reproduction whether the facilities used for the copying belong to a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities college or university or to a commercial establishment.
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