Stealing Software Is Illegal: The STAT 111 Story


And finally, presenting...this semester's first listserv gaffe. A tipster from STAT 111 (Introductory Statistics) passed on a class email exchange in which naive Wharton students get a stern lesson in software licensing.

The course apparently requires students to purchase a computer program called JMP, which is expensive but offered at an academic discount. One student, who later claims to have been "joking," suggests sharing a group copy for 30 cents a piece.

And then everyone freaks out. Who needs courses in Law when you have this? Read the email after the jump.

Subject: Re: Purchasing JMP


Thank you Ariel for clarifying. Adam is correct. It is not only illegal to share software (by installing it on multiple machines) it is also illegal to propose it.

SAS has offered our students a 3 year license at a reduced price. It is a great deal. JMP is an exceptional program and I recommend that you all get your own copy. It is possible to use the campus computers if you really want to save the money, but if you have any thought that you may ever analyze some data in the future you will definitely want your own copy.

Enough said on the subject.

Have a great semester,


On Jan 20, 2010, at 11:17 AM, Ariel wrote:

Guys, what I suggested is totally ridiculous. It clearly says on the site the licensing is for one computer only and I intend to buy my own copy - at full price. I thought it was clear from my humorous tone, but evidently I was mistaken.

If you want to use it for cheaper I understand that it is on the Wharton computers already - that's what my TA said at least.

On Wednesday, January 20, 2010, Adam wrote:

This is the problem with American society these days. I'm very disappointed in all of you. You should all know by now that this scheme is VERY ILLEGAL and violates numerous licensing laws. Tsk, tsk, and YOU SHOULD ALL BE ASHAMED!

On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 1:52 AM, Geoffrey wrote:

I'm all out of nickels.  Do you accept Paypal? On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 1:34 AM, Samy wrote:

Thats a great idea.  We can pass around a hat in class on Thursday.  Would you like nickels and quarters or dimes?

On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 1:21 AM, Ariel wrote:

Hey All,

As I'm sure you all were, I was delighted to see I received this informative email in my inbox tonight. But, sadly, academia seems to be getting more and more expensive. How about we share a copy? According to my calculations:200 people splitting up a three year contract $59.95/200 =  $0.30) makes it affordable for everyone. Make it a 6-Month one, and our savings multiply. I'm sure with the software my calculations could become even more laborate.

Who's with me? On Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 11:27 PM, Professor wrote:

Wharton and Penn students can get a 3 year license by going here:

JMP 8 does *not* work on certain versions of Windows Vista so you *must* read the system requirements to ensure that your machines are compatible before purchasing the software.

Also, several students have in the past, purchased the wrong version (Windows instead of Mac). Check that you are  purchasing the right version before making the purchase.

As far as I know, SAS/e-Academy will not reimburse you if you purchase the wrong version.