Guideline-Computing Services - Carnegie Mellon University

Licensed Software Guideline


The Carnegie Mellon Computing Policy establishes a general policy for the use of computing, telephone and information resources. The purpose of the Licensed Software Guideline is to establish acceptable practices that support the policy as it applies to using software licensed through the university.

This guideline was established to ensure that the Carnegie Mellon community has a clear understanding of using licensed software. Computing Services reserves the right to modify this guideline as necessary. Any changes to this guideline will be posted to official.computing-news and will be reflected on this web page.

Applies to

This guideline applies to all campus affiliates. This includes students, faculty and staff members. The guideline also applies to guest accounts or others who have access to our licensed software or to our public computing clusters.


Site licenses are typically defined as licenses that are purchased at a discounted rate and that cover the entire enterprise. An example of a site license on our campus is the Maple Agreement. We pay a discounted price and have to right to install an unlimited number of copies of the software on university-owned equipment.

Volume licenses are software licenses that are purchased in bulk. Discounts are based on the volume of licenses purchased at one time. An example of a volume license is Autodesk Design Institute license. At the time of this writing, this license includes 75 seats of Autodesk's educational suite.

With shrink-wrapped software you typically receive the following:

  • a license to use in perpetuity the version of the software that you purchased
  • media for version of the software or right to download it
  • a printed manual
  • the right to technical support and upgrades for some period of time

These components are separate under volume licenses and one or more are not provided to end users. Volume licenses provide one set of media and at most one set of printed documentation. Software publishers expect the license holder to provide first level technical support and they authorize access to their technical support specialists to one or a few people on campus.

Annual license is a lease that provides the right to use a product for the year for which a license fee is paid. The annual fee includes rights to upgrades and technical support to one or more designated people at Carnegie Mellon University.

Perpetual license is a license that provides the right to use software in perpetuity in the version that was licensed. An annual maintenance fee is paid to obtain upgrades and technical support.

Guideline Statement

Campus affiliates are responsible for using any volume or site licensed software appropriately and as noted in the respective software licensing agreement.

User Responsibilities and Procedures

Some examples of appropriate use of licensed software are included below:
  • You have the right to use software while you are affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University. That right is revoked upon termination of affiliation for any reason. A few companies provide ways for individuals to obtain permanent rights to use software after termination.
  • Students may request a perpetual license for Microsoft products. However, the software is not eligible for upgrades or technical support.
  • The software cannot be used by or given to people who are not affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Commercial or for profit use of the applications is prohibited.
  • Some licenses restrict use of software to instructional purposes.

Revision History

Last Updated: 4/29/15
Established: 5/1/07