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I need a legal agreement regarding use of company-owned software at home.

Posted on 2014-12-02
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Last Modified: 2014-12-08
We have a particular drafting / CAD software package that allows us to provide employees temporary licenses for home use.  We need to come up with an agreement between our work-at-home employees using this software and our company regarding acceptable outside-the-office use of the software the company has purchased and provided.  Does anyone have such an agreement we can use, or have you seen one somewhere I may find it?

The purpose of the the agreement we're looking for is to mitigate our company's liability for what our employees do with the software outside of the office.  The agreement has nothing to do with network security or preventing the leakage of our intellectual property; those items are already covered in a separate policy.
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Question by:jd1114
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6 Comments
 
LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:Phillip Burton
ID: 40478032
There are plenty - just Google "create home working policy".

The reason for not suggesting a specific one is I don't know what country you are in, or what state, or anything, so you need to add that to your search, to make sure it fits the requirements of your jurisdiction.
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LVL 25

Assisted Solution

by:nickg5
nickg5 earned 333 total points
ID: 40479435
You know your business and your employees. You know in general how you wish to restrict employee use of the software.

Take a look here and read the text and you get good guidelines about such agreements and maybe a point or two that you had not considered that need to be included in your agreement.

Maybe buying this book can help you with your goal. The book can help you create an agreement and it should not cost you much at all to have your business lawyer read over the agreement before giving it to your employees as part of an overall employee handbook.

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LVL 24

Assisted Solution

by:SunBow
SunBow earned 167 total points
ID: 40480110
1. More information could help to resolve more completely, such as owner of computer, how S/W is installed/maintained, license policy of CAD provider, etc. Did your company create CAD S/W or purchase/license it from another?

2. Sticky points could be what other products are installed, maintenance of backups, internet exposure, development for home/other businesses, single use policy (H/W - PC, person), intent of corporate policy, etc.

3. Given the above, my own view, is that employee has no rights to 'own' anything developed, whether claim could be personal, not on company time, employee may produce copies/backups, may run for home use, 'must' abide by license agreement of Mfr,  and be personally responsible for actions taken.

3a) History has shown employee making own patents for such works, then litigating own company later on for millions for its use. I disagree, holding that company already paid for the product development.

3b) S/W may be vulnerable to exploit.

3c) Employee may be more productive if S/W used from multiple 'home' computers, such as both laptop and desktop, alternative OS, and contingency for failure of a computer. Minimize downtime while improving flexible development. With this caveat, a single license should mean only single user. This also permits running existing stable product with the 'tests' for what is being developed.

3d) Where at home/for home use permitted, that ought permit family member to use, such as student or spouse - with same caveat, only one person at a time = no more than 24 hrs use per day. This essentially permits improved morale and training, potential development of future employees.

3e) Some Mfr licenses are 'too' restrictive concerning single copy/user/PC. While mant won't hold up in courtroom, it may suffice to require employee to abide by that 'agreement'. No 'agreement' can be had where 'required' prior to installation. Ownership of executable is purchaser.

4) Review company intent, contrast with my 'best guest' opinions, and make the policy. It may well be worth considering that the computers having this S/W be disconnected from internet. All too much is maintained online, such as personal information (identity theft).

5) [optional] Seek out examples of similar companies being held liable, or charged with defending their liability.
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LVL 25

Accepted Solution

by:
nickg5 earned 333 total points
ID: 40480665
jd1114:

This looks like what you are looking for and you can add any other terms or phrases you deem necessary and within the laws.

---------------------------------------

Use the guidelines below to preventunauthorized uses of software including duplication and sharing.

Agreement for Employee Software Use

Software will be used only in accordance with its license agreement. Unless otherwise provided in the license,any duplication of copyrighted software, except for backup and archival purposes by the software manager or designated department, is a violation of copyright law. In addition to violating copyright law, unauthorized duplication of software is contrary to (organization's) standards of conduct. The following points are to be followed to comply with software license agreements:

    All users must use all software in accordance with license agreements and the (organization's) software policy.All users acknowledge that they do not own this software or its related documentation, and, that unless expressly authorized by the software publisher, may not make additional copies except for archival purposes.

    (Organization) will not tolerate the use of any unauthorized copies of software or fonts in our organization. Any person illegally reproducing software can be subject to civil and criminal penalties including fines and imprisonment. Users must not condone illegal copying of software under any circumstances. Anyone who makes, uses, or otherwise acquires unauthorized software will be appropriately disciplined.

    No user will give software or fonts to any outsiders, including clients, customers, and others. Under no circumstances will (organization) use software that has been brought in fro many unauthorized location under (organization's) policy, including, but not limited to, the Internet, home, friends, and colleagues.

    Any user who determines that there may be a misuse of software within the organization will notify the Certified Software Manager, department manager, or legal counsel.

    All software used by (organization)on (organization)-owned computers will be purchased through appropriate procedures.

I have read (organization's) software code of ethics. I am fully aware of our software compliance policies and agree to abide by them. I understand that violation of any above policies may result in my termination.

___________________________________
Employee Signature

___________________________________
Date


SOURCE: Software &Information Industry Association (SIIA), SPA Anti-Piracy Division.
http://www.workforce.com/articles/short-sample-policy-for-employee-software-usage
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Author Closing Comment

by:jd1114
ID: 40487961
To all posters, thank you very much!
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:nickg5
ID: 40487968
Thank you and good luck.
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