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Comptroller Honored for Manual Against Software Piracy

Contact: Bob King
860-703-3311 or 860-702-3300

The prestigious Government Finance Officers Association has bestowed its 1997 Award of Excellence on State Comptroller Nancy Wyman's office for its comprehensive "State Software Management Policy Manual," designed to eliminate software piracy -- and potential resulting legal liability -- in state agencies.

The Government Finance Officers Association honored OSC along with only 11 other governmental organizations nationwide this year, according to Nancy Gleason, GFOA administrator for the awards program. "It's really GFOA's most prestigious award," Gleason said. Judges look for excellence and innovation in a rigorous screening process, she said.

The manual, published last year, was authored by Tom Verchinski of OSC's Policy Evaluation and Review Division, with help from a multi-agency task force and private-sector anti-piracy groups including the Software Publishers' Association. Comptroller Wyman's staff also organized a day-long seminar to help appropriate state officials understand and implement the policy at individual agencies and distributed a brochure to all state employees explaining software copyright law and software license agreements. The Department of Administrative Services and the Office of Policy and Management also signed the policy.

"Software piracy costs U.S. businesses millions of dollars every year," Wyman said. "This manual and implementation program will help to prevent any abuses in state government."

The manual, the first of its kind in the nation, was cited by the Software Publishers' Association, a private group, as exemplary. But Wyman said the state has an interest in protecting software developed by it own programmers as well as protecting the property of private software companies.

The manual recommends several methods of reducing potential liability, including periodic audits of personal-computer workstation hard drives, which Comptroller Wyman said are planned for her office. (State agencies own thousands of personal computers.) The manual and implementation program aims to raise employees' awareness that copying any software without appropriate permission or agreement by the manufacturer is illegal.

Because of the GFOA award and the unique nature of the manual, Wyman said that many other states have approached her office for copies. "We hope this will become a model for other states to adapt for their own use," the Comptroller said.

The GFOA award for OSC's software manual is in the area of financial management, subcategory training and technical guides. According to GFOA, the awards stress "practical, documented work that offers leadership to the profession and promotes improved public finance." States, municipalities, quasi-public agencies, school boards and other governmental entities compete for the awards. The 12 1997 GFOA Awards of Excellence were presented June 3 at GFOA's annual conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Below is the GFOA description of the Award of Excellence for OSC.

Category: Financial Management/Training and Technical Guides Title: State Software Management Policy Manual

Written to ensure compliance with federal copyright laws and software license agreements, the State of Connecticut's software manual was distributed to all state agencies. In addition, every employee received a brochure that explained their legal responsibilities and set forth a software code of ethics. Training seminars and an oversight committee round out this program that substantially reduces the risk of incurring fines, penalties, and negative publicity associated with violating software licensing agreements.

Learn more about the Connecticut Comptroller's Office by calling up our Internet Home Page, at the address below.

For Immediate Release
June 10, 1997

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