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Home Use of ETH Software

Information for ETH employees concerning home use of ETH software

ETH Zurich licenses software products for official use at the workplace. Under certain conditions some of the licensed software products may also be used by ETH employees (and employees of the four Federal Research Institutes belonging to the ETH Domain) at home for ETH related work.

Who is allowed to use ETH software at home?

– ETH employees who have at least a 50% employment at ETH
– Employees of the four Federal Research Institutes (i.e. EAWAG, EMPA, PSI and WSL) who have at least a 50% employment at one of the institutes.
– Emeritus professors of ETH Zurich (same status as ETH employees, see above)

It depends on the individual product (respectively the license contract) which of the above groups of people may use a certain product at home or not. Alumni are always excluded from home use of ETH software. The delivery of the software must be handled by the individual institute or organization unit. Under no circumstances may the software be given to third persons to use. The licenses remain at all times the property of ETH Zurich and are not transferred to the end user.

PLEASE NOTE: The following information explicitly does NOT concern ETH students. Home use does not apply to students because generally student software is licensed to be installed and used on the student’s private device.

Which products may be used?

The IT Services of ETH Zurich publish a list of software products for which the terms of home use have been clarified. This list is constantly being corrected and added to.

How may the software be used?

The use of ETH Software is strictly for non-commercial and ETH related purposes (not private use). The products may only be installed on computers which either belong to the authorized user or ETH Zurich. The number of authorized installations must comply with the number of registered licenses. Multiple simultaneous use of a single license on several computers is not permitted.

How is the (home) license registered?

When otherwise not explicitly stated, it suffices for the user or the person responsible for software at the institute/organization unit to electronically register a license via IT Shop. The person responsible for software can request and file a signed registration form from the end user. This however is not compulsory.

Example form

Software licenses must always be initially ordered for primary use as official workplace licenses and registered as such per the number of officially used workplace installations. These licenses may then also be used at home on a secondary basis if the software contract indeed permits this. Software which is available for a fee must be registered by and paid for by the institute for the workplace (via IT Shop) and may then be used at no additional charge by the end user at home. When not otherwise explicitly mentioned, a privately and officially installed and used software counts as ONE license (even though it is installed on the office AND home computers).

How can the software be obtained?

ETH employees with access to the software distribution system IT Shop can order, download and electronically register the software via IT Shop. Where there is no direct access to IT Shop, the person responsible for software at the institute should be consulted. This person can register the software and make it available to the user. The distribution of the software is the institute’s/organization unit’s responsibility.

When does software usage expire?

Most software licenses generally expire one year after having been ordered. At the same time the right to use the software also expires. Depending on the product, the usage period can either be extended or the product must be re-ordered. This is once again done via IT Shop. When the official usage period is extended or the license re-ordered, the private use is also automatically extended. If the license is not extended/re-ordered, the product must be uninstalled upon expiration of the usage period at home (as well as at the workplace). Continued software usage after the expiration date would be illegal. If the user leaves ETH Zurich, the right to use the software also automatically expires with immediate effect. All copies of the software must be uninstalled from the private computer. In addition, it is possible that ETH Zurich does not extend a license contract and the general permission to use this product at any time thereby expires. In this case the IT Services would inform the users about any changes in licensing accordingly.

Who pays for what?

ETH Zurich pays the software license fees directly to the licensor. Persons entitled to use ETH software at home (see 1.) do not have to pay any license fees themselves. Institutes/organization units can ask for a small reimbursement of costs from the user for providing the software (e.g. for media such as CDs etc.) if the user is unable to order the software him-/herself. Passing on of any license costs to the user is however NOT admissible.


The IT Services are always responsible that the products listed are properly licensed. All responsibility concerning proper use of ETH software lies with the user. It is the duty of the user to actively inform him-/herself about the actual licensing situation.

Further questions

If you have any further questions concerning home use of ETH software, please contact the Service Desk or consult the person responsible for software at your institute/organizational unit.

ITS Software Information