Guidelines for Compliance on the Use of Computer Software

Note: This document is intended for use as a reference by departments and student bodies of the University. The word “entity” denotes department or student body in this document.


For single-user software products, which are usually the case for off-the-shelf software, do not install the software in more than one standalone computer.


For software products which you can purchase a number of licenses, do not install the software on the number of computers more than that of purchased licenses.


For software products which can be installed in a network server and used by a number of users connected to the network, do not allow the number of users using the software to exceed the number of purchased licenses. You also have to watch out whether the licenses are for concurrent use (i.e., the software can be used by any users through any network-connected computers as long as the number of concurrent users does not exceed the number of purchased licenses), for installation and use on a legitimate number of computers, or for use by designated users whose identifications must be passed to the vendor.


For “freeware” and “shareware”, make sure you look through and understand the terms and conditions at the beginning of the installation process before you proceed further. For this kind of software, the terms and conditions usually allow you to use the software for a limited period of time for trial, and you must either purchase or remove the software after the trial period expires. In some cases, the terms and conditions allow you to use the software for personal and private purposes at no charge, but you must pay for it if it is used for commercial purposes.


For software products which come along (“bundled”) with the hardware that you purchase, make sure that all the bundled software products are properly licensed, including the operating system. You should normally receive license certificates for all the bundled software products along with the delivered hardware.


If staff or students really need to install their personal software products onto computers owned by the entity, make sure that the software products are individually authorized by the entity for installation. The relevant information of the software (e.g., software name, version and description, purpose, installation and removal dates, id of the computer on which the software is installed, name of the installer, name of the authorizing person, etc.) should be recorded by the entity for monitoring purposes. Furthermore, the entity should have the staff members or students signed a declaration stating the personal software products that they install onto the entity’s computers on their own are properly licensed.


Disallow staff or students to copy software from the entity to their own home computers, except those software tools published by the Information Technology Services Centre and eligible software products covered under the CUHK site licenses. Set up precautionary steps to control the distribution of software media of your entity.


If staff or students have to use their own home computers to produce official works, it is necessary to check with them that their software products used in their home computers are properly licensed. Otherwise, the staff member or student, and the University may be liable if the software products used are not properly licensed. One possible way to alleviate the problem is to make available a number of portable computers each loaded with the necessary properly licensed software products for sharing among staff or students to do official works at home.


The above information only serves as a reference. The information does not constitute legal advice in anyway. The Information Technology Services Centre does not accept any liability for any loss or damage caused to any person relying on any information or omission in this document.


User Support Service
Information Technology Services Centre
Version 2, May 2010