Licensed Software Office Policies

Most software packages are accompanied by license agreements specifying the conditions of use. Even with shareware or freeware, there may be some minimal conditions of use.

Generally, authorized use is limited to the owner of the package. Site licenses or volume purchase agreements are software license agreements that extend the authorized use of software to groups defined by some sort of affiliation. Software packages purchased under such agreements are generally cheaper per copy than packages purchased individually.

The following guidelines govern our actions with respect to software site licenses or volume purchase agreements for software.

We will consider the acquisition of software license or volume purchase agreements for software products that are:

  • compatible with established information technology guidelines, directions, architectures and standards, and are
  • of interest to a broad enough community to achieve the economic benefits of a software license or volume purchase agreement.

Some software licenses come with restrictions expressed on the basis of:

  • use (e.g. research)
  • type of user (e.g. University of Toronto employee, researcher)
  • equipment (e.g. machines identified by serial number)
  • location of use (e.g. on campus, specific department)
  • owner of equipment (e.g. U of T-owned)
  • exclusivity (e.g. must be used on all U of T machines).

We will endeavor to negotiate the least restrictive agreements.

Some volume purchase opportunities are available only if the institution commits to buying a prescribed minimum number of copies, or only if the institution pays a large (often yearly) fee up front. We will commit to these types of agreements only after matching financial commitments from interested parties on campus have been received.

We will attempt to recover the direct costs of licenses unless an explicit decision has been made to subsidize the license. We will aim to recover costs in the year that these are expended but, in some cases, it may have to recover costs over a longer period of time.

We will levy a nominal fee for the administration of software licenses and, in certain cases, for the costs of supporting the product.

We will continue to renew annual or term license agreements for products so long as the economic benefits of such agreements continue. No continuation of a license should be implied at the time of initial acquisition and distribution of a license.