United States copyright law broadly defines a "computer program" as a "set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result." 15 U.S.C. § 101. Generally, the owner of the copyright in a computer program has exclusive rights in the program, including the right to use, reproduce, and create adaptations of the programs. The use, reproduction, or creation of an adaptation of a computer program or its documentation without the permission of the copyright owner is a violation of federal copyright law and could result in monetary and/or criminal liability.
Copyright law allows the purchaser of a computer program to make one backup copy of the program. This backup copy, however, may only be used if the original copy is no longer functional and must be destroyed when rights to use the original copy of the computer program cease.
In most cases, copyright owners grant rights to use computer programs through a license, which controls the types of use that are allowed.
Open Source Software
Open source software is software whose source code is available to anyone for modification or enhancement. Source code is the written code that computer programmers use to change how a piece of software works. Open source software authors allow others to view their code, copy it, learn from it, alter it or share it. In order to use open source software, users must accept terms of a license agreement to promote collaboration and sharing. For example, open source software users cannot require a royalty or other fee for a sale. Users of open source software cannot restrict another party from giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. An open source license allows for modifications and improvements of the open source software. If you are interested in using open source software, ensure that you understand all of the terms of the open source license agreement before using the software.
MCCCD has entered into many licenses with owners of computer software for use at colleges within the District. These licenses are subject to numerous restrictions. Faculty and students should not make copies of software licensed to MCCCD, including copies for educational use, unless expressly authorized. Note that MCCCD's Computing Resource Standards prohibit the use of MCCCD computing resources to infringe software, graphics, photographs or any other copyrightable material.
Lending of Computer Software by Libraries
MCCCD's libraries may lend computer software for temporary use by faculty and students. Any copy of a computer program lent by one of MCCCD's libraries must have affixed to the copy the following copyright warning:
NOTICE: WARNING OF COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS
THE COPYRIGHT LAW OF THE UNITED STATES (TITLE 17, UNITED STATES CODE) GOVERNS THE REPRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION, ADAPTATION, PUBLIC PERFORMANCE, AND PUBLIC DISPLAY OF COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS SPECIFIED IN LAW, NONPROFIT LIBRARIES ARE AUTHORIZED TO LEND, LEASE, OR RENT COPIES OF COMPUTER PROGRAMS TO PATRONS ON A NONPROFIT BASIS AND FOR NONPROFIT PURPOSES. ANY PERSON WHO MAKES AN UNAUTHORIZED COPY OR ADAPTATION OF THE COMPUTER PROGRAM, OR REDISTRIBUTES THE LOAN COPY, OR PUBLICLY PERFORMS OR DISPLAYS THE COMPUTER PROGRAM, EXCEPT AS PERMITTED BY TITLE 17 OF THE UNITED STATES CODE, MAY BE LIABLE FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. THIS INSTITUTION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO FULFILL A LOAN REQUEST IF, IN ITS JUDGEMENT, FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUEST WOULD LEAD TO VIOLATION OF THE COPYRIGHT LAW.
The copyright warning set forth above must be affixed "to the packaging that contains the copy of the computer program, which is the subject of a library loan to patrons, by means of a label cemented, gummed, or otherwise durably attached to the copies or to a box, reel, cartridge, cassette, or other container used as a permanent receptacle for the copy of the computer program." 37 CFR § 201.24. In addition, the notice must be "printed in such manner as to be clearly legible, comprehensible, and readily apparent to a casual user of the computer program." Id.
Page Updated 05/20/14