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General Chat Thread, Licencing in General; I don't really know where to put this so I hope this is OK. I work in a very large ...
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    witch's Avatar
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    Licencing

    I don't really know where to put this so I hope this is OK.
    I work in a very large first school (reception to Yr 4) which is very short of money and running a deficit budget.
    I have been here 5 years, and in that time I have ensured that any software I put on the network is properly licensed.
    However, much of the software that was already on the system turns out not to be properly licensed, or at least I have no record of it and indeed no software in some cases. There was no central storage or record keeping when I came here.
    Now - it has to be said that I suspected that this was the case but I never pursued it as I knew we had no money and nothing could be done.
    Now we are having a new system installed and it turns out that about £4400 pounds worth of software and licenses are missing.
    Is this my fault? I have a responsibility to ensure that anything I put on the network is licensed, but what about stuff that is already there? No one has ever asked me to check anything.
    I am really worried about this and wonder if I will lose my job over it.
    Any advice?

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Re: Licencing

    Small comfort but...
    Every single school I've gone into (13) has been like this.

    They all started off by buying a CD-ROM (or maybe 2) and its ended up on several more machines.

    I've just tried to keep things correct since I've arrived.

    Its hard to imagine an industrial tribunal not siding with you if someone was to to try and dismiss you


    regards

    Simon

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    Re: Licencing

    Both my schools are like it as well. I think I mentioned it a couple of times in different threads, but I quite frankly have no idea what licenses we have for a lot of our software. There is a box I have next to me at the moment which is full of documentation, but I'm fairly certain that only half the licenses we actually have are in there. I hve tried to solve this issue with both schools several times, but with no success.

    I think its just one of those things that there is nothing that can be done about it apart from making sure any new software to go on the network is correctly licensed, which you are doing.

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    Re: Licencing

    I had the same problem when i started my job at the school i am at what i did was get the agreement no and sort it out that way but we stll had to buy 30 cals one server and 60 office licences We have just gone down the route of having our own agrement no and so from now on i will be able to see all my licences online.

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    witch's Avatar
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    Re: Licencing

    Next Question
    Am I right in refusing to put the software back on the new server if I cannot trace licenses, and sometimes software?
    My inclination is to do this
    Has anyone any evidence of prosecutions?


    (if this posts twice, sorry - having some problems at this end)

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    Re: Licencing

    Quote Originally Posted by WITCH
    Next Question
    Am I right in refusing to put the software back on the new server if I cannot trace licenses, and sometimes software?
    I did I also remove any unlicenced stuff without asking. Too bad, youll get it back when I get a licence is my answer. They sulk but they get over it.

    When I started here the contract said "responsible for software”. I soon put that right in writing! Refused to have any responsibility for software/licences until a full inventory had been done (still waiting) and the only stuff I’ll install must have a site licence.

    It did kinda put the cat amongst the pigeons but we now have a new head who doesn’t fancy jail time and knows one end of a PC from the other so things are now moving in the right (legal) direction.

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    Re: Licencing

    In the end the head is ultimately responsible so talk to him/her about your concerns I agree with EeEK and yourself dont install it if it's not licensed! If they complain then go to the head stating your not going to risk your job and theirs by installing illegal or pirate materials on the school network.


    Wes

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    Re: Licencing

    The acting head has just said to me that if I cannot trace licences then in her opinion we should put the software back on the server as no one could not prove that we did not have the correct licences!!!
    I had to look her straight in the eye and say that I wasn't prepared to do that unless I had it in writing that she took full responsibility for breaking the law.
    I have tried to put a positive spin on it by suggesting that now is the time to review the software - several teachers have admitted that they only use the software "because it is there".

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    wesleyw's Avatar
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    Re: Licencing

    The school has to prove they have licenses FACT do not have to prove they don't as I understand it so what is she thinking?


    Wes

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    Re: Licencing

    Are there Open Source alternatives you can suggest Witch?

    I think I would say that I would be contacting the authorities immediately, but give the school the opportunity first to put their house in order.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: Licencing

    Remember FACT/BSA offer cash incentives for reporting your co-workers software licensing misdemeanours.

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    Re: Licencing

    Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law. If you are breaking the law wrt licensing then you are breaking the law. Even getting it in black and white that you *have* to put the software back on does not remove your from the firing line ... you know it is illegal and the fact that you ignore it means you have some responsibility. That is how FAST may view it and deal with it accordingly. THe best you can do is approach whoever you get your licences with and inform them ... and come to some documented arrangement to ensure you are ok in the future (I have heard of one school having 3 years to sort themselves out).

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    Re: Licencing

    Thanks Grumbledook - I did wonder if I would still be liable.
    We appear to get licences from whoever sells the software, other than the main Windows/office type stuff. I am afraid that if I mention it to Granada, RM or whoever, they will drop me in it and report the problem.
    I think I am going to have to be firm about it and just say no.
    In the past, before my time, I think many people knew the admin password and so could put things on the server and the network. No one knows it anymore so at least they can't do it behind my back.
    As for the cash incentives -if I lose my job I might think about it!!
    Open source is a good idea but would not really apply to educational stuff - only Office - unless you know different?

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    Re: Licencing

    There may be another route to consider here. I was in much the same position as you last year and was not happy to take on a system that was flawed.
    My first piece of advice is to steer very clear of FAST. They are well documented as being nothing but money grabbers and will aggressively pursue you and the Head of Establishment.
    Second piece of advice is to make an approach to BSA; compared to FAST, BSA are are well documented for assisting you through your troubles. It may seem a bit radical, but once you have owned up you have got time to come up with a suitable plan to make things right.

    The bottom line is BSA are there to help you, FAST are there to screw you. Have a look at their website which gives some very good tips and advice.

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    Re: Licencing

    I dont think they would jump on a school too hard or at least MS didnt.

    Here there was 60 PCs and 2k Advanced Server, all they had were 2k oem stickers on the PCs.

    I phoned MS and asked them what the best plan of action was, things like if we buy a 2003 licence will it cover the 2k server until we can upgrade. The guy didnt seem much intrested, gave me a number to phone for a local reseller but Ive never heard a thing since. Six months on and the licences are on order.

    Id say if your worried tell the head your concerns and confess If you admit there is a problem and are seen to be taking action to correct it shoud keep them off your back.

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