Software Licensing Agreements

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; if not, it is illegal to use it.

Exceptions include:

  • Shareware
  • Public-domain software
  • Software developed by the University (including work for hire) 

Two types of volume agreements are available: limited volume, and unlimited volume. You must contact specific departments to obtain the licenses, depending on the type of software. See "Software License Acquisition" for the procedure.


Limited-Volume Agreements

In "limited-volume software license agreements," the University makes a commitment to purchase a minimum number of licenses initially or during the term of the agreement. If the University doesn't meet the commitment, one or more of the following consequences may occur:

  • The University has to pay for unused licenses.
  • The vendor reduces the University discount on future purchases.
  • The agreement is terminated.
  • The agreement is not renewed.


Unlimited-Volume Agreements

In "unlimited-volume software licenses," the University does not commit to buying a minimum number of copies and can distribute the software widely to campus users.

Both types of license agreements require the University to adhere to the terms of the agreement, which can include any of the following examples:

Time period Software is usually licensed either:
  • For a specific period of time, usually one year, and requires a payment of a recurring renewal fee, or
  • On a perpetual basis upon payment of a one-time license fee (although annual maintenance and support fees may apply).

The vendor either sends copies of the software to a central distribution point on each campus or sends the copies directly to individual users.


Limited-volume license agreements and in some unlimited-volume agreements may contain a provision limiting campuses to the number of copies distributed. Some license agreements may or may not allow individual faculty members, staff and students to use the software on their personally owned systems.

Software updates and bug fixes

Vendors may provide these free for the first year or include them in a separate maintenance fee. Following any period of free maintenance and support, individual users, participating departments or the campus may have to pay a recurring fee for ongoing software maintenance.


The vendor, a bookstore or a central campus distribution point (such as the UCLA Computer Store or Software Central) provides documentation either separately or as a shrink-wrapped package with the product.

Technical support

Depending on the agreement, individual users or designated campus contacts may have access to technical support.

For additional information about University license agreements or to suggest products for University license agreements, please contact your campus representative to the UC Advisory Committee on Technical Acquisition Support.