Software License Acquisition

License Agreements

A software license is a contract that gives one party the right to use a computer program owned by another party. The license includes terms such as the location, purpose and number of users. 

Note: Each copy of software used at UCLA must be covered by a license agreement. If you buy packaged software, the license agreement is included. Software obtained in other ways must be covered by a department, campus or University agreement, or its use is illegal. Exceptions include shareware (its use should be registered as specified by the owner), public domain software and software developed by the University. For more information on licensing and copyrights, see the Licensing Essentials and Copyright Law provided by Software Central.

Obtaining a Software License

Software CentralFor information on licenses for Microsoft, SPSS, SAS, Mathematica, Sophos and many other software products.
Technology Resource Center (TRC), a contract vendorFor information on licensing Microsoft, Macromedia, Adobe, Symantec and other commercial software products. 
Campus Purchasing Department Vendor Agreements ListCheck this list for an established license agreement for the software you need.

How to Purchase

If the software is available from one of the above sources and does not require a signed agreement, the software may be purchased via recharge, low-value order (LVO) or BruinBuy.  

If the company licensing the software requires a signed agreement, you must forward a requisition to the Campus Purchasing Department. Only the UCLA Purchasing Director or a designated Campus Purchasing buyer has the authority to review and sign software license agreements or custom software development agreements, because:

  • Computer software programs are a legal form of property, called intellectual property, that can be owned, used, bought and sold just like physical property.
  • If UCLA employees who use the software don't understand and comply with the terms in a license agreement, the University could be liable for theft just as though employees had stolen physical property.
  • UCLA Campus Purchasing buyers are familiar with the terminology in license agreements, can identify and negotiate the best terms, and can help avoid legal problems.

Types of Restrictions

Field of Use

Whether you may or may not use the software for a specific purpose (such as research only, not teaching).

Transfer, Sublicense, Assignment, Exclusive or Non-exclusive

Whether you can permit others to use the software.

Site licenses, Archival Copies

Whether you can make copies, install, and use the software on one machine or on many at the same time.

Access to Object Code/Source Code, Source Code Escrow, Proprietary Rights

Whether you can customize, modify, reverse engineer, or otherwise customize the software and who owns the rights to any improvements you may make.

Work for Hire

Whether you or the developer of custom software owns it.

Export Administration Act

Whether you can export the software to other countries, a matter determined by federal law.

Version and Release

Whether you are entitled to upgrades or new releases and at what price.

Maintenance, Renewal and Price Protection

Whether the licensor will provide training or technical support, for what period of time and at what price.

Fixes and Error Correction

Whether or not you have to pay for correction of bugs.

Use of Name

Whether the licensor can use your name or the University's name in promotions and advertisements.

Proprietary Rights Indemnification

Whether the licensor will be responsible if another person accuses you of stealing the software.