Re: OEM software for sale online, is this legal?
All this comentary, but not answers. It is illegal for the company that purchased the oem version from the vendor to resell it outside their agreement with the vendor. When Dell pays $30 for a copy of XP Pro that it puts on your new PC, it can only sell it to you with that new pc. IT's not a CD they get from MS, it's a paper sticker with your cdkey on it. Since Dell didn't buy a cd, they can take the current version of XP Pro and put it on your new PC, give you a backup disk and be happy until the next major OS release. At that time, MS will allow they to trade in the stickers of new ones. See, Dell doesn't "buy" the CD's up front, they sell you a license to "use" windows on that box. You didn't buy a copy of XP Pro, you bought the right to use XP Pro on that box of hardware. IT's a contract you purchased, not a piece of software.
When you go down to circuit city and get boxed software off the shelf, you are purchasing a contract and a version of the software at the same time. The CD in the box is your's to use (within the law) as you see fit. The "contract" in the box from MS says they will give you updates, support, etc. for some period of time. They may ever promise to replace the disk if it's damaged or lost.
Get the differnce?
When you buy a XP CD from that guy in Prague, sure it's a real microsoft Cd with key. But there's no license agreement (ie, contract) in the box. So what you have is a copy of a disk. I can buy legal copies of MS XP Pro Disks for $10 each by the thousand, from companies right here in the US of A. Totally legal. They are just like the one you paid $50 for. And like them, they have no license agreement. Why is this possible? Because Microsoft sells the license separate from the media. There other senarios where people can get copies of the CD's, even with a license paper in the package.
So the answer here is that OEM cds for Microsoft OS are illegal copies if they don't come with an agreement between you and microsoft that is your contract to use the software.
When you buy a ticket to a movie, it doesn't give you rights to take the film from the theatre, video tape the show, or otherwise make other use of your personal use of that one show. Your movie ticket is valid for one show only. If you use it, you can't give it to a friend or sell it in the parking lot afterwards at a discount. Like the movie ticket, OEM versions of MS XP are good for that PC only. Can you buy a ticket and give it to someone else? Sure. Can you resell a movie pass to someone else? Sure. But they better be in line behind you. Because once you leave the theatre (and the show time passes) your ticket is worthless. Just like you right to resell an OEM license that you got at an auction from XYZ computers when they went out of business. That box of stickers and CD's doesn't come with a contract between you and microsoft that allows you to resell them. They have expired when XYZ computers went out of business. Can you get away with it. Probably. That doesn't make it legal.
As a legal MS partner, I can sell you a copy of XP Pro. I can buy it at discount direct from Redmond and have it shipped to your house. I can build you a PC with the OEM version. It will come with papers proving I paid for it and MS will give you support (limited as are all OEM versions). You will be the legal owner of the right to use the software. Stockholders will get paid, Bill will get money to help him "keep up with the Saudi princes".
The people I feel most for, are the ones who paid a real price for boxed software. Install it and are happy for a few weeks. Then, when they try to update, or register, they find out the key they used isn't real. They've been sold bootleg, pirate copies. Did you know that microsoft has often made good on these bootleg licenses? Why? The people had a receipt from a legal dealer of the software. That "contract" between you and microsoft is what you paid for. Microsoft will stand behind that contract (through the vendor).
I know this lession in the morality of how you buy software isn't going to change the buying habits of most of you. But what you do is wrong, most often illegal, and hurts the industry just a little each time you do it. It's a "death by a thousand cuts". But it's killing the industry none the less. The growth of Linux is the obvious proof. Millions of people feel that XP Pro is too expensive. But rather than steal a copy, they find an alternative. For you $50, you can get a copy of SUSE or RedHat in many retail stores. It comes with a manual, and a place to get updates and help with installing it. If your old pc with Windows 95 still works, you can download copies of hundreds of Linux distributions for free. Burn a copy to cd and build that new UberPC you want.
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