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Cornell University

Criteria for Software Licensing

This article applies to: Software Licensing

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CU Software uses a general set of criteria to determine whether or not it is in the best financial interest of Cornell University to centrally manage the license for a particular software title.

  • Broad appeal across campus At least 100 end users across at least three different organizations (colleges, departments, administrative units)
  • Cost-recovered Interested campus partners guarantee that they will fully fund the contract. Depending on the software, the typical options are that university funding is provided, or the end users pay an annual license fee for the software.
  • Low Price Price is at least 20 percent below the vendor's regular academic pricing

Depending on the individual software title, there may be other criteria that influence the decision on whether or not a license is pursued.

Evaluation Process

  1. A campus user submits a request for CU Software to evaluate a software title.
  2. CU Software contacts the vendor and any other known sales channels to get an estimate on whether or not the software title meets the minimum "broad appeal across campus" standard. In general, this information is known within two weeks of the initial submission of the request. CU Software responds to the requester with the outcome.
  3. If the software appears to meet that standard, CU Software polls campus to determine the actual level of interest for the software.
  4. With the polling data, CU Software begins license negotiations with the vendor. The negotiations include total cost of the contract and how the software would be distributed to campus users.
  5. Assuming that the negotiations go well, CU Software proposes a cost-recovery model. The price to the end user must be at least 20% below the vendor's normal academic retail price.
  6. CU Software sends a pre-order commitment survey to campus, asking campus partners for financial commitments to the new software contract.
  7. Assuming that CU Software obtains enough commitments to cover the cost of the contract, CU Software finalizes the agreement, pays the vendor, converts the pre-orders into actual orders, and makes the software available to subscribers to download, install, and activate.
  8. In general, assuming that everything goes pretty much as expected, a final arrangement is in place within about 90 days of the start of the polling process.

Submit Request

To initiate a request for CU Software to consider managing a license for a particular software title, email with this information:

  • Name
  • NetID
  • Department
  • Unit
  • Software title and manufacturer
  • Operating System
  • Purpose
  • How urgently it's needed
  • Whether funding is available from your department
  • Whether you're aware of any other departments that need the software, and a point of contact.


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