Georgia Bar Journal
GSB Vol. 13, NO. 2, Pg. 30.
Disk Imaging - Fair Use?
GSB JournalVol. 13, NO. 2October 2007Disk Imaging - Fair Use?Tom TraylorThis article originally appeared in the State Bar of Georgia's Technology Law Section's newsletter, Georgia Journal of Technology Law, in the Winter 2006 issue. any IT departments use "disk imaging" to distribute uniform software packages efficiently to client computers. A "disk image" is created by installing the entire set of software (including the operating system, word processor, spreadsheet, and other applications) onto one template machine. Using special software, a disk image is created of the computer's hard drive-essentially a binary snapshot of the data. The disk image then can be uniformly and efficiently distributed to all computers on the network. Automating the installation process saves a tremendous amount of time over the traditional method of installing applications individually on each computer.
Recently, this practice by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (the "Sheriff's Department") became the subject of copyright infringement litigation. In Wall Data Inc. v. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department,(fn1) the Sheriff's Department purchased a total of 3,663 licenses to use two different versions of Wall Data's RUMBA software product. This software needed to be installed on computers at the county's new detention facility. After 750 manual installations of the software on detention facility computers, it became clear that the opening of the detention facility would be delayed unless the Sheriff's Department found a more efficient way to install the RUMBA software. Compounding the problem, it was not clear at the time of installation which computers needed the RUMBA software because employee workstation assignments varied.(fn2)
As a result of these issues, the IT department created a disk image of a baseline set of applications for installation on the computers, which included the RUMBA software. When the software deployment using the disk image was complete, 6,007 computers had the RUMBA software installed. The Sheriff's Department however had purchased only 3,663 licenses to use the RUMBA software. In an attempt to limit the number of users of the RUMBA software, the Sheriff's Department configured a password system so that...