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Information concerning license conditions

License agreements and regulations

The following text does not claim legally correctness. It serves exclusively for general information and fir the development and deepening of a corresponding attention to the subject of licensing law at the University of Bonn

Please note: in country license and campus license framework agreements there are usually only general conditions (i.e. authorized users, special usage rights, etc.) for use in the university. These general terms and conditions are supplemented by the specific rules of use ("Product Use Rights") from the license conditions for each individual project. It is only in combination that it ultimately becomes clear in what form, where and under what conditions the software is to be used. This combination of conditions is legally binding and must be observed by all persons in the university. The same principle applies here that is also known from cars: it is often the owner and the driver who are to blame!

Please note: The contractual conditions at the time of purchase always apply, i.e. whether an upgrade or downgrade authorization exists or not, whether employees on home PCs (which, by the way, usually only includes use for SERVICABLE purposes at home!), all these things can be found in respective framework agreement. As a rule, you will also find this information at the dealer. Even if the conditions have changed in the course of the years, the conditions at the time of purchase always apply to you! We, as HRZ, do not have an archive of the various general conditions and can usually hardly answer your questions about the contracts (especially past ones) - the multitude of contracts, products and companies is too large for that. It is always an individual case examination. However, please feel free to ask if we have any general information on the subject. As a rule, you can obtain the valid contract conditions from the SUPPLIER in the valid version (i.e. you can read the valid contract conditions in the software shop). 

However, some general information can be compiled:

Departments that order software within the framework of the contracts do so as an institution of the University of Bonn. Each institution at the University of Bonn is responsible for controlling the use of its licenses. The licenses conditions are to be observed WITHOUT EXCEPTION. Ultimately, however, the products procured in this way are also PROPERTY NOT of the respective customer or department. This means that the software can and should be distributed within the university if you no longer need the product yourself! An appropriate infrastructure for this is recommended, but unfortunately not (yet) implemented in the university. 

Note: A so-called volume license agreement is NOT a flat rate. You must purchase and pay for each individual product or deployment. Real "Flatrates" usually run - if at all - under the term "Campus Contract" (see below). Please do not confuse these terms.

As a rule, a department acquires individual licenses, at special prices, for the PCs, servers and users (CALs, AU (= authorized user) licenses, etc.) for which it is responsible. The granting of a license includes the respective right of use, but always prohibits the lending or leasing of the software and for the most part also the commercial use. This means, for example, that course rooms equipped with software for use within the university may lose their license if the rooms are handed over to third parties (= organisers not originating from the University of Bonn OR PARTICIPANTS)! Please clarify such application scenarios carefully in advance.

A special situation arises if campus licenses have been concluded for the entire university or certain parts of it. This always results in a special situation that is not always transparent for us at HRZ. For example, some departments have bought (limited) campus licenses for their area. These licenses are then only valid there to the extent specified in the contract. For other university departments, the products can then be obtained at the "usual" conditions via framework agreements and special discounts (e.g. as a price for F&L (Research & Teaching)). The conclusion of campus contracts for parts of the university does not allow any conclusion as to whether these contracts also apply to other areas. 

Examples: Computer Science has completed Dreamspark (formerly: MSDNAA) for its computers and students, through which Computer Science students can purchase products free of charge or at low cost - these products are NOT available to other students.

Another example: In cooperation with the ULB, the HRZ has signed a campus contract for the use of Citavi (a literature management program that can elegantly manage quotations in term papers and publications) for the entire university: These licenses are valid for use in the university and by university members (students & staff). How to get the license keys is described at the respective place. 

But also this information is subject to "temporal change". Pay attention to what the contract entails or the details hidden in the information! These are just two examples: And each product differs from the others in handling and licensing options. And yet: nobody can avoid a reasonable license management anymore!

General: A basic distinction is made between licenses and data carriers. Departments can usually buy the data carriers in practical number of units and keep them available, the question of the license must be considered separately and documented!

Individual notes (which apply in the same or similar way to almost all manufacturers)

  • The Microsoft operating systems that can be purchased via the Select framework agreement are all "upgrade licenses", i.e. you must be able to PROOF a "valid" operating system must already have a "valid" operating system for the PC in order to legally maintain the use the purchased license. If you cannot provide this proof (usually the proof is the undamaged license sticker on the computer - an invoice is usually NOT proof of the license on the part of Microsoft!), you should order a "Windows basic license" (usually a so-called Systembuilder package (SB)) as well (and include this proof with your documents). Often one finds in the press the reference that one can transfer basic operating systems to new computers. However, corresponding judgements of courts are usually misinterpretated. The current interpretation is as follows: An operating system can be transferred to another computer if ALL documents (license stickers, original data carriers and packaging) belonging to the delivery can be presented individually for each (old) computer. Simply "having" a "boy" of stickers and a few CDs is not enough. In addition, the possibility of transfer expires as soon as the basic operating system has been "upgraded" with an upgrade from a volume license agreement - according to Microsoft. Our conclusion: Switch to a free open source operating system or, if this is not possible or an option you would like to consider, buy a new computer with the appropriate - current - operating system and use it. 
  •  In addition to the operating system (and the applications), Microsoft requires separate licenses if a PC workstation (client) wants to access the Microsoft-specific servers of the Windows series or services running there (so-called client access licenses (CALs)). It should be noted here that indirect access also leads to the CAL license obligation. This means that a Windows server that carries a web server that can be accessed by "the whole world" is also obliged to buy an access license (for the whole world". Of course there are: In the form of a so-called "external connector" (and since employees are not "external", one can discuss whether one does not need an additional Windows server CAL for them...). Conclusion: Avoid using Windows servers for services that have nothing to do directly with Microsoft and/or - if this is not possible - limit access to a manageable number of people for whom you then have to check whether they have access rights to these services. 
  • Whether a software version is language-specific must also be considered. The change from an English to German language set up is usually NOT covered by the license.
  • A question we are increasingly being asked: Is the use of software on virtualized environments included in the license for the PC? Answer: Usually NOT! There are exceptions (see license description), but normally each virtual machine must have its own license (for each product running there). You may also have to buy hardware-related licenses, because this can be cheaper. Please note: There are always changes in these regulations: MS, for example, has the right to move a virtual machine within a blade during operation since Windows Server 2012 to "Software Assurance" (that is maintenance there). A server license is therefore no longer sufficient for operation in the server environment - an active SA must be present. And this must be completed with the purchase and extended seamlessly - a subsequent purchase or a purchase after expiration of an old SA option is not possible. This is completely independent of whether the virtualization software itself already had to be paid for. Plan your licenses and secure yourself!

One more thing: Even if the lawyers are still arguing on this point: As a rule, a PRIVATE license of an employee cannot be used on a business PC! Theoretically an employee could sell his personal license to the department, but the department is liable for license violations on its computers. And often the private usage rights are not valid at the university.

 Conversely, the use of private computers (Bring your own device, BYOD) at the university is not undisputed under licensing law. In the absence of the fact that the use of official software (read: software paid for by the university!) may only be permitted on "computers belonging to the university", "official software made available on a private computer" may have to be declared and taxed to the tax office as a "monetary advantage of the employer". All this is case-specific.

As you can see, licensing law is tricky and a careless handling of it cannot be harmlessly talked about. 

The solution to all licensing problems: Shareware & Freeware?

In fact, the "free software market" today provides good operating systems and applications that are also optimal for university use, and within the framework of an economical working method, priority should be given to a cost-effective solution! A PC, which set up under Linux today and operated with the help of free software (e.g. LibreOffice) usually does not require additional costs for a license. 

Nevertheless, you should be aware: These products are also subject to license conditions! With the installation you agree to comply with these conditions. READ these conditions! Because products from the free market are often free of charge for private persons, but the use in a non-private (!!) environment of a university must be explicitly released as well. Even products that are released "for teaching" (this sentence also applies to special purchase versions for pupils, students & teachers, so-called SSL versions) are not automatically free on an employee workstation! These versions may then ONLY be used free of charge for the teaching environment, but not automatically in research, administration, patient care, etc. 

Many administrators think, for example, that one could install "free antivirus software" on the computers used for business "because it is free after all". Usually this is a mistake! The classic antivirus products are ONLY distributed free of charge for private use. This is an example for license violations, which are often committed in "good faith", but unfortunately are still full legal offenses, even if the company concerned "may not notice this" (which, by the way, is not true, because at the latest with the update of the antivirus signatures the IP address is determined and thus the affiliation of computers to the official university network is documented). 

Only if it is explicitly stated in the license conditions that the license can used free of charge in the area of use you are using, the use without the purchase of a license is legal - otherwise not! We kindly ask you to pay attention to this information and to the Software User Guide!

Further information that can help you to determine the general conditions for your software products is available from your dealers under the respective license agreement numbers. 



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