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Purchasing Guidelines

The ITS Department purchases software applications that are used by departments across campus, including public labs.  Budget restrictions limit what software can be purchased.  Therefore, software which is to be used for an individual computer or for a professor’s class must be accompanied by a signature from your department head or budget manager.

Requests for software should be pre-approved by your budget manager or Dean, or for a non-academic department, the head of the department.  Pass along any price or discount quotes you may have obtained and include a memo entitled “Software Request” which states the following:

  • Number of software copies needed
  • Where the software will be installed (include specific office locations and labs)
  • Course names which will utilize the software (if applicable)
  • Number of students in each class, if the software is for student use

Based on this, the Dean or head of the department will see if there are enough funds to cover the purchase.  Then the Dean or department head will submit the information via the Software Request Form so as to ensure that ITS is not only aware of the impending purchase, but that we can provide any necessary support.

If a school or department would like ITS to research a type of software or consider purchasing a new type of software for broader campus use, requests can be made with the Software Committee.  The Software Committee will not research software for minimal use; it must be either for campus use, or multiple departments.

Commercial software represents the majority of software purchased from software publishers, commercial computer stores, etc. When you buy software, you are actually acquiring a license to use it, not own it. You acquire the license from the company that owns the copyright. The conditions and restrictions of the license agreement vary from program to program and should be read carefully. In general, commercial software licenses stipulate that

  1. the software is covered by copyright,
  2. although one archival copy of the software can be made, the backup copy cannot be used except when the original package fails or is destroyed,
  3. modifications to the software are not allowed,
  4. decompiling (i.e. reverse engineering) of the program code is not allowed without the permission of the copyright holder, and
  5. development of new works built upon the package (derivative works) is not allowed without the permission of the copyright holder.

Shareware software is covered by copyright, as well. When you acquire software under a shareware arrangement, you are actually acquiring a license to use it, not own it. You acquire the license from the individual or company that owns the copyright. The conditions and restrictions of the license agreement vary from program to program and should be read carefully. The copyright holders for shareware allow purchasers to make and distribute copies of the software, but demand that if, after testing the software, you adopt it for use, you must pay for it. In general, shareware software licenses stipulate that (1) the software is covered by copyright, (2) although one archival copy of the software can be made, the backup copy cannot be used except when the original package fails or is destroyed, (3) modifications to the software are not allowed, (4) decompiling (i.e. reverse engineering) of the program code is not allowed without the permission of the copyright holder, and (5) development of new works built upon the package (derivative works) is not allowed without the permission of the copyright holder. Selling software as shareware is a marketing decision, it does not change the legal requirements with respect to copyright. That means that you can make a single archival copy, but you are obliged to pay for all copies adopted for use.

Freeware also is covered by copyright and subject to the conditions defined by the holder of the copyright. The conditions for freeware are in direct opposition to normal copyright restrictions. In general, freeware software licenses stipulate that

  1. the software is covered by copyright,
  2. copies of the software can be made for both archival and distribution purposes but that distribution cannot be for profit,
  3. modifications to the software is allowed and encouraged,
  4. decompiling (i.e. reverse engineering) of the program is allowed without the explicit permission of the copyright holder, and
  5. development of new works built upon the package (derivative works must also be designated as freeware. That means that you cannot take freeware, modify or extend it, and then sell it as commercial or shareware software.

Public domain software comes into being when the original copyright holder explicitly relinquishes all rights to the software. Since under current copyright law, all intellectual works (including software) are protected as soon as they are commited to a medium, for something to be public domain it must clearly be marked as such. Before March 1, 1989, it was assumed that intellectual works were NOT covered by copyright unless the copyright symbol and declaration appeared on the work. With the U.S. adherence to the Berne Convention this presumption hasbeen reversed. Now all works assume copyright protection unless the public domain notification is stated. This means that for public domain software

  1. copyright rights have been relinquished,
  2. software copies can be made for both archival and distribution purposes with no restrictions as to distribution,
  3. modifications to the software are allowed,
  4. decompiling (i.e. reverse engineering) of the program code is allowed, and
  5. development of new works built upon the package (derivative works) is allowed without conditions on the distribution or use of the derivative work.

Information taken from "Using Software: A Guide To The Ethical and Legal Use of Software for Members of the Academic Community."

Contact Information

Information Technology Services
University Center 117
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110

Phone: (619) 260-7900
help@sandiego.edu

Office Hours

Help Desk at University Center 117

  • Monday - Thursday: 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Friday: 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday - CLOSED


Torero Store

  • Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Saturday - 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Sunday - CLOSED