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Advisory Council on Ethics (ACE)

Advisory Council on Ethics Opinion No. 13

November 9, 2001

An employee asked, "Is it ethical for me to bring a personal disk to work, put clip art files on the disk from my computer, and take it home for personal use?"

The TDCJ Advisory Council on Ethics has been asked to consider if it would be ethical for an employee to bring a personal disk, copy clip art from their work computer onto the disk, and take it home for personal use.

TDCJ Ethics Policy (ED-02.01) and the Security Information Security Manual procedure prohibits the use of state property for the purpose of converting it to personal use or any purpose other than official work purposes. TDCJ is the owner of all licenses purchased for use of copyrighted software, to include Microsoft, purchased by the agency. Further the TDCJ Ethics Policy (ED-02.01) states in Section IV. A. that "state resources are to be used for state purposes, not private purposes."

Additionally, upon employment with TDCJ, all employees signed a TDCJ Non-Disclosure and Acknowledgement of the Information Security Manual. The acknowledgement states, "I will use information resources for authorized purposes only." The manual goes on to state "any copyrighted material, including but not limited to commercial software, which may be made available, is protected by copyright laws and is NOT to be copied for any reason without permission from the copyright owner." Employees may view the SECURITY INFORMATION SECURITY MANUAL. (INFORMATION TECH.) through INFOPAC to read further.

It is the opinion of ACE that it is not ethical to bring a personal disk, put the clip art or any other copyrighted material on a disk, and take it home for personal use.