Software Licenses and Copyright Violations

Copyright laws protect proprietary as well as open-source software. The use of unlicensed software or violations of a licensing agreement expose organizations to possible litigation.

Management should take particular caution when purchasing software for use on a network. Some programs are not licensed for shared use and management may be required to purchase individual copies for each network user. Additionally, some network licenses only allow a predetermined number of persons to use the programs concurrently.

Measures that organizations may employ to protect against copyright violations include obtaining a site license that authorizes software use at all organization locations, informing employees of the rules governing site licenses, and acquiring a software management program that scans for unauthorized software use or copyright violations. While these measures may help prevent copyright violations, the best control mechanism is a strict corporate policy that management and auditors communicate and enforce. Management should have an uncompromising attitude regarding copyright violations. The organization's security administrator should be responsible for monitoring and enforcing the policy.


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