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Microsoft Your Rights Online

Microsoft Shuts Auction Doors On Old Windows 403

Posted by timothy
from the better-sell-the-hard-drive-too dept.
mrv writes "Microsoft is keeping a more-vigilant eye on online auctions of old copies of Windows software, with people trying to offload it due to the upcoming release of XP. Also within the story is info and tips for donating a computer (and software licenses) to charity. (Charities must have site licenses for Windows 98 or newer!)" A lot of users seem to think that they can sell off their no-longer-used software to subsidize upgrades, but that's just not what the EULAs say (at least with pre-installed MS software). Time to go re-read what sellers of used software have had to say last year, and the MS method of shutting own eBay auctions.
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Microsoft Shuts Auction Doors On Old Windows

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  • by No-op (19111) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:38AM (#2431080)
    I should point out that microsoft rarely goes after people selling pirated or improperly licensed MS software when the amount is under $50,000 (US) or so. I have tried several times in the past to have marketplace competitors shut down for blatantly pirating software, and each time Microsoft has been primarily interested in the money value of the software in question. I suspect that there is a cost limit for them, and under a certain value there is nothing gained by prosecution or even basic legal action.

    So with the obvious eBay incidents aside, I get the feeling you can quietly pirate your software to your heart's content, as long as you stay under the high-water mark.

    my 2 cents.
    • by DickBreath (207180) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:38AM (#2431489) Homepage
      At the time I write this, there are two other posts under the parent (siblings to this) that suggest that you are a bad guy for contradictory reasons.

      1. You [parent poster] are a bad citizen because you (rightly) suggest that people might get away with pirating MS products if you stay under a certian dollar threshold. It seems to me that you're merely passing on information, not telling anyone to start pirating.

      But then...

      2. You try to "sabatoge" competitors who take unfair advantage by blatently pirating software. Implication, you should do the "right thing". Stop turning them in, and start pirating software yourself. This would be the honorable thing to do.

      A very intresting contradiction. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. That's slashdot.

      Either you pirate software like your competitors do so you are not at a competitive disadvantage, or you "sabatoge" them..

      But if you choose not to pirate, and to "sabatoge" your competitors who do, then you are a bad citizen because you rightly point out MS's lack of interest in cases under $50,000.

      The tone of the parent post seemed to suggest the latter. (One of be honest, turn in competitors using unfair methods.) He didn't say to start pirating. He just said "I get the feeling...".

      This is slashdot. We are anti-capitalist. In the future please observe the following. Be quite about your competitors illegal actions. Don't engage in piracy yourself. Suffer being at a competitive disadvantage. Keep your mouth shut about MS's inaction. There. That should keep slashdotters satisfied.
    • NOT (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dego (182553)
      I tried to sell 1 (that's ONE) copy of windows 2000 professional on E-BAY that I won at a microsoft recruiting seminar and I was contacted by microsoft's goons, insisting that I provide the serial number of the software or I would be reported to E-BAY

      You are just talking out of your butt with nothing to suport it.
    • by DocJTM (452653) on Monday October 15, 2001 @02:30PM (#2432592)
      I'm wonder if M$'s apparent apathy regarding what seems to be blatant online software pirating is really due to a monetary value threshold not being reached or perhaps due to "special" deals they have with some vendors.

      Here's my experience:

      I needed to buy two copies of MS Visual Studio 6 Enterprise. I did an internet search for Visual Studio (using the M$ search button on the toolbar in IE 5) and the top listed result was www.office2000pro.com. So I go there and am amazed to find it on sale for $899 with free shipping, woohoo! One of my employees (who does a lot of purchasing for us) then makes a bet with me that he can beat the price by calling a person he frequently deals with a Micro-Warehouse. I take the bet. They can't beat the price and she wants to talk to me. She says that the software is likely pirated and I shouldn't buy it and I should report the site to M$. I tell her it was the top search result and to report them herself and she gives me some line about how I should do it so I can get rewarded by M$ (pfft, yeah right). My bullshit/FUD-o-meter is dinging away at this point, so I decide to check for myself. So I tell her I'll call her back if I find out it's a pirate site.

      I call up the M$ pirate line and give them the URL www.office2000pro.com and tell them the almost half-price rate for VS6 Ent. The guy tells me he's taking down the info, checks the site himself, and tells me 80-90% of the M$ software sold online is pirated. So I ask him to tell me whether this site is legit. He claims they will have to check it out. I say fine, here's my email contact me when you guys decide if they are legit, because if they are, I want to pay the $899 price instead almost twice that. He says they can't contact me to let me know, it's some other division that does the checking, yada, yada, yada, and feeds me some bullshit.

      Well by this time I figure if M$ doesn't care enough to contact me to keep me from purchasing pirated versions of their software, I don't really care if it's pirated either. So I wait a couple weeks to see if the site stays up so I won't be ripped off, and sure enough it's still there. So I buy the software and it promptly arrives in nice shrink-wrapped boxes and surely looks legit to me. I haven't tried to register it yet so I guess I'm not sure it's legit, but it looks the same as my registered version (only newer).

      Anyway my point is, this seems like it might be:

      1) Price fixing amongst all the people that sell M$ software and one company decided not to go along

      2) M$ has some "special" deal with this site because they move super high volume or sell only M$ software.

      3) A pirate site that M$ is too lazy to prosecute (but if their client list is for real, they're likely WAY over $50,000 in sales).

      4) It's a front for M$ to sell their software online at a big discount and get a lot of direct sales with a BIG restocking fee (30%) without pissing off their sales partners or their big corporate clients for gouging on the restocking fees.

      Or maybe it's something else altogether, I dunno, but if you want to buy M$ software cheap, www.office200pro.com has the best prices I've seen and the shipping is free and it's been over two months since I reported them and they've not been taken down yet, curious...
  • By definition... (Score:4, Informative)

    by sphealey (2855) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:39AM (#2431081)
    An upgrade is a change or refresh of a product you already own. If you sell the original product, you no longer have the right to install the upgrade. It's been that way in the PC market since 1978 (well before M$ became dominant) and in the commercial software market long before that. Why would anyone think otherwise?

    Similarly, even William Mossberg (of the WSJ) seems to think that it is onerous of Micros$oft to require home users to purchase a copy of the (M$) OS for each home PC that they wish to run that OS on. That has _always_ been required (with the specific exception of WordPerfect) for all PC software as long as I can remember.

    I am not happy about Microsoft's licensing policies, but some of these complaints are pretty bizarre in my ears.

    sPh
    • by Brian Kendig (1959)
      The complaint isn't that a user must have an original license for every computer -- the complaint is that the user must purchase a *new* license for every computer. What if you're upgrading to a new PC, you won't be using the old one any more, and you want to use your old copy of Windows 98 on the new PC; why should you be required to purchase Windows XP bundled with the new PC? What if you do get this new PC with Windows XP on it, why aren't you then allowed to give your copy of Windows 98 to someone else?

    • > That has _always_ been required (with the specific
      > exception of WordPerfect) for all PC software as
      > long as I can remember.

      Borland's licence used the "like a book" model. You could install the software on as many computers as you wanted, but you could only use one copy at a time, just like a (paper) book can only be read by one person at a time.

      It was an interesting system. I run a 100% Microsoft-free system here, so I have no recent Borland products to look at to see if they've changed it in recent years.
    • Sort of. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:01AM (#2431233) Homepage
      What you say is true, but there is a rub. I have 3 copies of Windows that I don't use. They were preloaded, but I did not agree to the terms. I have not been able to get refunds for these packages either.

      Since they refused to take the return, does the EULA that I did not agree to hold valid?

  • What if... (Score:5, Funny)

    by spectrum (92555) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:40AM (#2431090) Homepage
    I 'donate' windows to my friendly neighbourhood sanitation engineer?

  • by Svartalf (2997) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:40AM (#2431094) Homepage
    ...to NOT buy Windows. Really, it's very simple. People claiming that there's no applications on the alternatives aren't thinking clearly- there's applications on MacOS, Linux, and *BSD. Furthermore, all those applications would come your way real quick if you got off of the Windows platform. It's an addiction, like any other- you've got to quit it because it's becoming very obvious that the pusher's come a collecting all on all of you.
    • What would be a free ISP application for Linux? What would be a free web based mail application which also lets you use client based access like Outlook Express and Hotmail? What would be an AIM program for linux which lets you send files?

      This is currently being written in Win2k on Vmware on Linux, because of the above problems (namely the first one).

      • What would be a free ISP application for Linux? What would be a free web based mail application which also lets you use client based access like Outlook Express and Hotmail? What would be an AIM program for linux which lets you send files?
        • what is an 'ISP application'?
        • Lots of free webmail apps out there (look in freshmeat) or, god forbid, take the day (literally) it takes to piece one together with PHP or embedded perl.
        • I've never had a problem sending/receiving files using everybuddy.

        seriously...what the hell are you running windoze through vmware for when all these things exist natively?

  • by Sique (173459) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:42AM (#2431102) Homepage
    Luckily the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court) in Germany ruled recently, that selling no longer used MS licenses is perfectly legal in Germany as long as you don't keep a copy with your computers and files. And even reselling them with new computers is legal too.


    So for everyone who wants to sell his old license: Look for your german mates and let them do the ebay.

    • Indeed, the rules of ebay Germany [pages.ebay.de] do not say a word about OEM or pre-installed software, whereas the matching ebay.com page [ebay.com] states explicitly that you "generally cannot sell the software to someone else unless you are also selling them the machine it came on."

      Can you or somebody give a reference to more info about the legal situation in Germany? Is it completely legal to sell OEM licenses separately? Does Microsoft agree on that, or do they still hunt people who do so?

      • by Sique (173459) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:16AM (#2431324) Homepage
        Can you or somebody give a reference to more info about the legal situation in Germany? Is it completely legal to sell OEM licenses separately? Does Microsoft agree on that, or do they still hunt people who do so?


        The situation was this: A german computer distibutor got problems with Microsoft where Microsoft claimed, the distributor was selling not licensed preinstalled Windows. Microsoft claimed, that the distributor was selling CD-ROM and Book with different computers and thus selling every license twice.


        So Microsoft stopped the contract with this distributor, and the distributor was not getting OEM licenses anymore.


        Then the distributor was starting to bid for not used OEM licenses on eBay and resold them with his computers instead of directly licensed software from Microsoft. Microsoft brought the distributor to court for violating license agreements in the OEM EULA, which included a non reselling clause.


        The federal court ruled, that those clauses are only valid for the original licensee, that is the computer dealer, who sold the first computer with this license. But it is not legally binding for anyone else, including even the buyer of the first computer. And as long as there is no technological difference between the software, that comes with the different licenses, there is no right for Microsoft, to controle the distribution ways for the different licenses.


        The federal court stated, that there is "no way to deduce from Copyright a right to control distribution channels."

  • Isn't windows only protected by a shrinkwrap license? How can they use that license to stop sales/auctions when it hasn't even been tested in court?
    • by egburr (141740) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:47AM (#2431135) Homepage
      The reason they are able to use the shrinkwrap license to stop sales is because it hasn't been tested in court. Until someone has the desire, time, and money to take them to court over their enforcement of the shrinkwrap license, and convince the court it is invalid, they can do pretty much whatever they want. Something like this would probably be a multiple-year-long process, through appeals and counter appeals, all the way up to the supreme court. Do you have the desire, time, and money to do this for all of us?
    • by ackthpt (218170) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:51AM (#2431533) Homepage Journal
      Let's see here...

      I see an advert for Dull Komputers, model 1000, includes Memorysuck Windows 99

      I buy computer, not having to sign anything.

      I power it up and run it for a couple years.

      I decide I've seen the Plaid Screen '0 The Banshee too many times and opt for an alternative O/S

      I wipe the hard drive, and install my other O/S

      I take the CDROM and shrinkwrapped license and put it up for sale on Peoples Soviet Stalinistic Auction Site

      I'm informed in a-not-so-polite way that my sale violates the terms and conditions of use for the license and software I have

      Seems to me that barking at Memorysuck, Inc. and the auction site are the end of the line, which began with Dull Komputers announcement that I was getting the O/S, as part of the product, the sold. I should be able to sell off any part, as I owned it, right? Power supply, monitor, disk drive... seems whatever came with it is a component and should have been clearly stated if it was not, i.e.

      You are granted use of the operating system and all software loaded upon this system so long as it remains installed only on this computer.

      Of course there's the slight problem of... I replace the HD, I replace the MB, I replace the case, I replace all the cards, hey, it's a completely different computer! I must be in violation, eh?

      Just my 3.5 cents (adjusted for inflation) and by the way IANAL.

  • I delt with this. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by steveo777 (183629) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:43AM (#2431111) Homepage Journal
    I was told to "aquire" 10 new lisences for NT at my place of work. So, I loaded up my favorite place to find prices online [pricewatch.com]. I found some really cheap lisences for about 26 bucks. They said w/o CD, so I assumed that was the reason for the price being so good.
    When they arrived, all I got was the books that have the authenticity cert on them. Each one had the "For distribution with a new PC only. NOT FOR RESALE" stickers partially remmoved. There went 260 down the drain.
  • by Wakko Warner (324) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:43AM (#2431112) Homepage Journal
    ...we're making a tremendous leap of logic in assuming the EULAs are legally binding, aren't we?

    - A.P.
    • ...we're making a tremendous leap of logic in assuming the EULAs are legally binding, aren't we?
      Well, there's also the minor philosophical/moral point concerning whether or not violating the EULA provisions is stealing. Even if you (and your lawyer) believe that certain provisions of the EULA are unconscionable, that doesn't justify violating the basic property rights of the seller.

      sPh

      • by sqlrob (173498) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:00AM (#2431221)
        Property rights of the seller?

        What about property rights of the buyer, aka right of first sale?

        • "What about property rights of the buyer, aka right of first sale?"

          Which doesn't apply to copies of the original, no? Right of first sales gives you the right to re-sell the original, not make a photocopy for yourself and sell the original.

          Yes, I am aware of the problem with preloaded copies, which Microsoft seems to think are more like banannas than actual objects. That's a different discussion.

          sPh
      • Even if you (and your lawyer) believe that certain provisions of the EULA are unconscionable, that doesn't justify violating the basic property rights of the seller.

        Except that basic rights of sellers would fall under the "doctorine of first sale". At least they would with real physical property.
        • So, if I took my old copy of Windows 95, CD, book, licence and all, and sold them on E-Bay, not as a copy of Windows, but as a "CD ready for microwaving, and a book/licence ready for burning", that would be ok?

          Would it be even better if I put a disclaimer that it wasn't to be used for actual installation on a computer?
      • The property rights of the seller are taken care of perfectly well by copyright law. The EULA doesn't concern itself in any way with MS's property rights, its only purpose is to deprive you of your rights to use the property you purchased.

        But the EULA isn't valid for so many reasons I won't begin to list them all. *If* they showed you the license before you bought the software it might be different.
  • by update() (217397) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:44AM (#2431118) Homepage
    A lot of users seem to think that they can sell off their no-longer-used software to subsidize upgrades, but that's just not what the EULAs say (at least with pre-installed MS software).

    That may be true but that's not what the article is about:

    Charmaine Gravning, a product manager for Microsoft's Windows XP, said the policy is clear that people cannot sell or even share the software that comes pre-loaded on computers. If a consumer buys a copy of Windows in a store, they can resell the software, provided they include the license agreement, and all other documentation and don't try to sell multiple copies.

    The issue here is cutomers trying to resell their bundled system software when they upgrade. If you upgrade to Linux, you're still not allowed to resell the bundled OS.

    • if it came bundled w/your computer I don't see how it isn't yours according to a "REAL" definition. Just b/c if came w/your computer does not mean that you didn't somehow end up paying for it.

      They do that to be sneaky. Blah. If you paid for a computer w/an MS product installed you paid for Windows someway, somehow.
      • But chances are, MS cut the manufacturer a pricebreak to include MS software on the computer. If the end user sells that discounted copy to someone else, MS never gets the full purchase price. I still disagree with them, but I can see their reasoning.
        • by TGK (262438)
          -=But=- if the software comes with the computer, and you don't agree to the licence you've had no say in its purchace. Try buying a mainstream computer that doesn't come with bundled software.

          Somehow, an agreement I never signed on to is preventing me from selling the software? Where did I concent to this contract? That's the gap in the logic. Send forth the lawyers.
    • by maxpublic (450413) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:17PM (#2431691) Homepage
      So far as I know this 'policy' - which isn't law and never has been - hasn't been tested in a U.S. court. Just because MS saws it's legal and fair doesn't make it so; even the fanboys can't argue this point (or they could, I suppose, but they'd look like idiots trying to pass themselves off as judges).

      It's part of the MS philosophy that however they proclaim the world works, must actually be the way the world works - and they'll crush anyone who says different. This whole idea of 'bundled software' is, remember, something that MS just made up to cut prices on mass orders to distributors while still being able to prosecute 'piracy' in the future. Imagine if a publisher sold OEM 'bundled' books which a customer couldn't resell after they read them.

      If it were a book, or pretty much anything else, you'd say "what a crock". But since it's software and most of you've been bludgeoned about the head with propaganda stating "this is the way things are because we say that's the way things are", a good many people have actually come to believe that software is, in some strange fashion, actually different from other commodities.

      It isn't. Certain corporations and industries would like us to believe that, since it results in an ecology of artificial scarcity which drives up prices. But this ecology is, indeed, *artificial* and completely imaginary; it has nothing to do with real-world scarcity of any kind. If software were licensed like a book (use it, resell it as you would) then some small amount of profit would be lost; but more importantly, *people wouldn't automatically give credence to bizarre and nonsensical EULA's*. They might actually start asking a few pointed questions concerning pricing and idiotic use restrictions.

      Companies bent on turning a profit on artificial scarcity can't have the sheep questioning the system, now can they? Give those damned consumers and inch and they'll take a mile!

      Max
    • The telling word is Charmaine Gravning's use of "policy." That's all this is: Microsoft's policy, which eBay happens to be cooperating with. It's a matter of MS policy, not copyright law, and not contract (EULA) law. It's just Microsoft's will and desires, which they are successfully imposing upon. As with many things, the solution is simply this: Just Say No.

  • some software you want. When Ebay pulls his auction a day later, you can email him privately and pick up the woftware for a song.
  • by Green Aardvark House (523269) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:46AM (#2431130)
    From the Yahoo article:

    Why does Microsoft care about 5-year-old software anyway? I think they want to prevent people from selling used software so others have to buy the latest and greatest from Microsoft."


    Why Microsoft is so worried about old software puzzles me. If users want the latest (and greatest?) Windows OS, they'll still have to buy it anyway. Newer software will not run on the old OS's eventually, rendering it useless.

    They're really overdoing it with re-selling old ssoftware. Even the RIAA does not seem to mind secondhand CD's in the marketplace.
    • by hAkron (448427) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:49AM (#2431146)
      well, why would I spend $500 on a copy of Office XP when I could buy a copy of Office 95 for $20 and then an upgrade copy of XP for $200
      • why not spend $10 on a copy of Office from my college (or have a college student buy it for you) and upgrade to OfficeXP for the same?

        Saved myself $10 and S&H.
    • Why Microsoft is so worried about old software puzzles me. If users want the latest (and greatest?) Windows OS, they'll still have to buy it anyway. Newer software will not run on the old OS's eventually, rendering it useless

      Maybe because the 5 year old software, which is prefectly good for many real world tasks, would otherwise be in competition with the new stuff they are trying to push.
      When your product is close to indestructable (be it software or diamonds) you don't want a thriving second hand market.
      • "When your product is close to indestructable (be it software or diamonds) you don't want a thriving second hand market."

        If that's the case, why's MS so keen to kill the second hand market- it's definitely NOT "indestructable"...
    • Why Microsoft is so worried about old software puzzles me

      Apart from all the valid points contributed so far about ownership etc. I'd also point out that...
      MS don't want you running old software, they want you to buy new software, and then pay to upgrade, and pay to upgrade it continuously.

      New MS software in one area tends to force you to use new software elsewhere (XP ? Better upgrade to Office XP as 2000 is being phased out and might have problems. And IE6, as 5 may not run properly. Oh, and that include WMP, maybe you'd better buy something else too) - its called locking in the users and raiding their wallets.... and thats the part of their business model that I find unethical.... (wanna run IE, its free, but the new version with the bug fixes needs a new version of windows)

      T
  • by 4of12 (97621) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:48AM (#2431140) Homepage Journal

    So, since these licenses cause the software to become value-less, is this sort of depreciation of software in line with accepted accounting practices?

    If I'm a small business owner, can I depreciate the MS software that I purchase and thereby offset income and capital gains on my tax return?

    I just wondered, because, IIRC, there are strict rules on how this can be done for real property, etc.

    • If I'm a small business owner, can I depreciate the MS software that I purchase and thereby offset income and capital gains on my tax return?

      Umm, why in the world would you want to do that? When you purchase the software you should take the entire cost off as an expense. Depreciation only spreads that cost refund over a number of years, which would be a fairly stupid thing to want to do (I guess if you plan to be in a higher tax bracket in the coming years you could try though. Ask you tax advisor if you really care. Chances are you'd only save a couple dollars and would risk an increased chance of an audit, though).

  • by billmaly (212308) <bill@maly.mcleodusa@net> on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:49AM (#2431145)
    Sad but true, if it's in the license agreement that "Thou shalt not resell this OS", then that's the way the ball bounces, cookie crumbles, yadda yadda. It sucks, but that's the bitter pill that we as the consumer will probably have to swallow.

    OTOH, if a person wants to DONATE a computer/software to a charity, or a school, I think MS ought to shut their collective legal yaps and let the charity/school get what productivity they can out of the thing, gratis. Nailing the Red Cross or a rural elementary school $100US for a 6 year old version of Win95 borders on criminal...I mean, how many BILLIONS does Gates and company really need?

    So long as schools and charities are not using their software to pirate or commit crimes, MS ought to make themselves into a shining white knight and give their OS away to them. They do that, and the govt' will suddenly seem like the bully, rather than MS.
    • Sad but true, if it's in the license agreement that "Thou shalt not resell this OS", then that's the way the ball bounces, cookie crumbles, yadda yadda. It sucks, but that's the bitter pill that we as the consumer will probably have to swallow.

      Not exactly a software licence is neither the law nor above the law. If there is a statute or court ruling which says "Thou may resell anything thou has bought". Then it's the software producer who has a bitter pill to swallow.
      N.B. these kind of things tend to be written to the (usually correct) assumption that people don't know what rights they have granted to them by law. (Sometimes you will find a clause staring "Except where prohibited by law..." which is a CYA clause for something which may be legal nowhere.)
  • I still can't get past the fact that it's legal for the local CD store to buy & sell used CDs. The owner (I used to work for the place) makes an incredible amount of money by purchasing used CDs at $4 (tops) and selling them for $8. He keeps *all* the profit, not one penny goes back to the artists, the record labels, or the RIAA. So here's how it goes: it's illegal for me to *share* my CDs but it's legal for him to *sell* them ? Dylan described it best: "Money doesn't talk, it swears".
  • EULA's (Score:3, Interesting)

    by secondsun (195377) <secondsun@gmail.com> on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:51AM (#2431162) Journal
    For us 14-17 year old hackers out there, how binding are EULA's (since a minor cannot enter into a legally binding conract with out his or her guardian)?

    Summers

    • Re:EULA's (Score:4, Informative)

      by garcia (6573) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:01AM (#2431234)
      not very. BMG suffers a lot from young kids screwing them over. They have no right to enter into a contract and thus BMG has little course of action to take against one.

      I really don't understand why BMG lets them get CDs but I guess the ones that don't pay are a lot less than those that actually do.
  • by LMariachi (86077)
    Over a year ago, eBay began the VeRO program, which allows owners of intellectual property to notify eBay when they find an infringement of their property rights. The auctioneer will make "good faith effort" to close the sale, eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said.

    Besides Microsoft, among the other 2,000 VeRO members include Adobe, Warner Bros, Vanderbilt University and the Hard Rock Café.

    Hard Rock Cafe Intellectual Property?

  • IANAL!

    While this has not be challenged in court, and it would be a tough battle. According to the letter of the law, Microsoft can not challenge copyright infringement on any of their products included in the antitrust case, since it used its copyright for antitrust purposes.

    This would not cover XP.
  • Charities must have site licenses for Windows 98 or newer!

    If only charities could find the time and know-how to use open source, they could save a lot of money, and direct the saved funds into their work.

    Maybe tech-savvy people could donate know-how, instead of money in this case.

    Although, AFAIK Microsoft does offer some sort od discount for charities.
  • Great Quote (Score:4, Funny)

    by Saint Aardvark (159009) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:53AM (#2431180) Homepage Journal
    From the article:

    "The preponderance of history is against them in this case, but light bends when it gets near Microsoft," said Kay.

  • Here's Win 2K EULA excerpt about transfer of license:

    Transfer to Third Party. Initial user of the Product may make a one-time transfer of the Product to another end user. The transfer has to include all component parts, media, printed materials, this EULA, and if applicable, the Certificate of Authenticity. The transfer may not be an indirect transfer, such as a consignment. Prior to the transfer, the end user receiving the Product must agree to all the EULA terms.

    Now, Microsoft may condemn people on the auction site as the seller cannot assert the buyer agreement to the EULA. Then, M$ can say the seller cannot assert that the buyer will not resell the software. All in all, this EULA does NOT rigorously govern on how the software may be resaled. Thus, M$ can bend this to their significance.

    IANAL, but be careful on this issue.

  • by Brian Kendig (1959) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:54AM (#2431185) Homepage
    Let me get this straight. It's basically not possible any more to purchase a new PC without a copy of Windows bundled in (and included in the price), and you're not legally allowed to sell or even give this copy of Windows to anyone else?

    So, even if you're upgrading from an old PC to a new PC and you want to use your copy of Windows 98 on this new PC, you're still required to pay for a copy of Windows XP that you can't get rid of? And if someone wants to get some new life out of an old PC, he's not allowed to have a copy of Windows 95 unless Microsoft lets him buy it from them (yeah right), even if you have an extra legal copy you're not using?

    And what's more, Microsoft appears to be strong-arming the issue to get even more leeway. The article [yahoo.com] says that Ron Faul was selling two copies of Windows 95 and that Microsoft had eBay shut down the auctions; it doesn't say that these were preinstalled copies. I especially like this quote: "The preponderance of history is against them in this case, but light bends when it gets near Microsoft."

    Years and years and years of court cases against Microsoft, from their killing DR-DOS back in the early 1980's by spreading Fear/Uncertainty/Doubt all the way up to their killing Netscape in the late 1990's by 'cutting off their air supply,' and they're still powerful enough to pull trash like this -- Bill Gates is probably laughing his head off at the all-bark-no-bite of the American legal system.
    • Let me get this straight. It's basically not possible any more to purchase a new PC without a copy of Windows bundled in (and included in the price)

      Depends where you get the machine from. If it's one of the "big boys" who have enguaged in the illegal deals then yes. If it's a smaller supplier who is paying close to the retail price then they are likely to be happy to omit a component they make no money on.
  • by nyquist_theorem (262542) <mbelleghemNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:54AM (#2431190) Homepage
    If, as the story suggests, MS really is going after those selling even single lisences, (I can understand them freaking if I sold 20,000 NT lisc. packs all at once, for example), they're doing themselves no service. A few reasons for my statement.

    #1 - a lot of the software in question can NOT be purchased new any more, so its not like MS is missing out on a Win95 sale - there's plenty of legitimate uses for old Win9x OS, esp if you have a machine that has limited RAM or CPU (ie my toshiba libretto, a P75 with 16MB). IE no loss. So why spend the $

    #2 - people buying used OS's are not buying them to get the disks. Come on, everybody and their brother has a CDR and will burn you off a copy of the Windows cabinet files. I'd like to see a geek version of Survivor, where we get dropped into a foreign country and have to come up with a CDR filled with Microsoft Juarez as quickly as possible. It would be a half-hour show, unedited. Point: people are buying these things on EBay because they want to be quasi-legitimate, ie "I should buy a copy of the software that I use!". Remove that as a possibility, and how many people are really going to spend $150 on an OS for a $150 computer? Arrr, Billy, time t'uh fire up me CDR!

    #3 - Given that many computer buyers pay extra for their copy of Windows (ie, it was an option for $100 or so - most system builders do this in the US, yes?). If I pay extra for a feature, can I not sell it off seperately? I (as joe computer buyer) didn't sign or agree anything beyond that flimsy click-through contract at startup, and who's to say it was even me that set up the computer instead of my 7 year old daughter?

    I can't see this being a smart idea. All it does is make M$ look bad, and encourage those who want to go legit but don't want to buy, or cant use, the latest OS, to pirate.

    Smart move, Billy....
    • by squaretorus (459130) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:21AM (#2431345) Homepage Journal
      #2 is the most relevant for most people. How many times has someone with an ageing Win machine called you up (thats right - they cant use email because their machine broke) asking 'could I borrow a win95 CD?

      I have about half a dozen of these loaned out to various people who needed a new hard drive, or had to reinstall for whatever reason. The fact that they didn't get media, or they got a Win98 upgrade disk but no 95, means they would have to go out and buy a NEW MS OS for £100+ to run on an old P100 32Mb RAM. They wouldn't.

      MS should either sell win95 CDs in supermarkets for £20, or let you sell your copy for what you like. A current OS is perhaps a different matter - they have to make a living you know!
    • #1 - a lot of the software in question can NOT be purchased new any more, so its not like MS is missing out on a Win95 sale - there's plenty of legitimate uses for old Win9x OS, esp if you have a machine that has limited RAM or CPU (ie my toshiba libretto, a P75 with 16MB). IE no loss. So why spend the $

      Microsoft's biggest competition comes from its own obsolete software. They're not worried that they're losing the profits from a win9x sale, they're worried that you're choosing to use a copy of YAOS (for values of YAOS != M$OS.current_version), thus depriving them of a sale of WinXP. If they can reduce the supply of all obsolete versions of their software, then it's more likely that joe user will pay to license the current version.

      Oh, and I'm sure that Intel would agree with them that since you can't legally get a copy of win95 anymore that it's time to upgrade your hardware as well...

  • by pubjames (468013) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:55AM (#2431196)

    We should all be thankful to Microsoft for tracking down these criminals. People like this are a menace to modern society. Microsoft employees have seen their stock options slide significantly in recent months, a cause of considerable stress for them. People who freely give away computers or sell for peanuts on auction sites - often without the proper licenses and documentation - these people are no better than thieves. Schools, charities for homeless people and orphanages are all implicated in this evil trade, which is causing some Microsoft employees to turn gray with worry. Well done Microsoft, you are a role model for us all.
  • Upgrading... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tomknight (190939)
    A lot of users seem to think that they can sell off their no-longer-used software to subsidize upgrades

    I really found myself smiling at this. Isn't the idea that if you're upgrading that you have to still have the original licence?

    For example.... with Dreamnweaver 3, when the user of that damn softawre in my company was given a new computer, part of the installation procedure was to type in the licence key for Dreamweaver 2. Okay, so this is really just to avoid people buying an upgrade when they aren't upgrading, but I think it's valid enough.

    Tom.

  • by M_Talon (135587) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:56AM (#2431204) Homepage
    I know that a Microsoft related question may be way off base here, but I want to get a feeling for this.

    How many of you actually own a retail version of a previous version of Windows? This excludes pirated copies as well as copies that came with computers when you bought them (those are OEM copies and are subject to bundling licenses).

    In my experience (your mileage may vary), most people don't own a retail version. They have OEM versions that came with their computers. Microsoft doesn't like people selling OEM versions, since there's a whole big nasty license that goes with it that says that particular version of Windows is for that PC only. You also get into the sob stories of people wasting their money on a copy of Windows that doesn't work on their PC because it's actually a recovery CD or a special load.

    Does anyone have a strong case where Microsoft froze a resale of true retail copies of their software? I'd like to hear about it. Right now, it seems like Microsoft is justified in the auctions it's closed.
    • How many of you actually own a retail version of a previous version of Windows? This excludes pirated copies as well as copies that came with computers when you bought them (those are OEM copies and are subject to bundling licenses).

      Depends where you are. A German court ruled that the OEM/retail distinction was a nonsense. Depending exactly why they ruled this might apply to the entire EU anyway.
    • by Deagol (323173) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:13AM (#2431308) Homepage
      Reminds me of the "shipbuilder problem" in philosophy class. Back in the days when ships were big, a shipbuilder is contracted to repair someone's vessel. Over the years, he'd take home each piece he replaced on the old ship, until he had the parts to build is own ship. The person who paid him sued for "his" ship back.

      So, what's meant by "that PC"? Do I need a new license for each part I replace? If not, then if I've replaced everything (either over time or wholesale), then I should be able to use that license on the improved "old" machine.

      Gets kinda sticky, doesn't it?

    • by pschmied (5648)
      First, you purchase a copy of OS/2 Warp. Then you upgrade to 95 (Yes, OS/2 was a valid upgrade system). From there if you followed the upgrades you were legal.

      Or, then again you could do what I did:

      Pirate DOS+Win3.1 -->

      OS/2 v.3.0 -->

      Slak w/linux kernel v.1.2.13 -->

      FreeBSD


      What does the future hold? I advise everyone to upgrade to Plan 9 NOW! When Plan 10 or 11 come out, you are not going to want to be the last person on the block to have it.

      Seriously, you are not 31337 if more than 20 people use your OS.

      Actually, scrap that, your best bet is to port NetBSD to that wind-up Mickey Mouse watch you've had since you were a kid.


      -Peter

  • ... and this triggers the automatic MS bashing procedure at slashdot. I just remember that I read something like this [slashdot.org] just about two weeks ago.

    Software is different than hardware and is easily cloneable. You can sell software for free like Linux, but you hardly can do that with hardware. So different rules apply here, i.e., if EULAs tell that you cannot resell that piece of software, so be it. The money you paid MS is only a right to use, not a right to sell (in most cases, but there are also scenarios where you can really "sell", i.e., transfer your right to somebody else).

    • Speaking as someone who is in the process of developing a commercial software product, I still must side with the users. The problem is you don't get to see the EULA until AFTER you buy the product. I thoroughly believe that MS or any other company should tell you the terms of the deal BEFORE you give them your money, especially when the terms of the deal go outside of the norm, as is the case here.
      Also I really don't see were I would want to stop people from selling my game if they wanted. Obviously they could keep a copy and sell the original which would bother me, but I wouldn't want to punish honest users, especially in MS's case when the honest user has actually paid money for an upgrade so you know he isn't using the software anymore.
      Of course I also wouldn't get up in arms if they wanted to install my game on more than one computer, as long as they owned the computers, but most companies today seem to mind that as well. It seems ashame that parents should have to buy two copies of a game if two of their children with two seperate computers both want the game.
  • First Sale (Score:4, Informative)

    by bwt (68845) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:57AM (#2431207) Homepage
    Reselling software is a first sale right. A EULA that takes this away is misuse of copyright. Trying to enforce that EULA should be an antitrust violation. Somebody should sue.
    • Re:First Sale (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sql*kitten (1359)
      Reselling software is a first sale right. A EULA that takes this away is misuse of copyright.

      If you sold your copy of Windows NT and bought a new full retail copy of Windows XP, I don't think MS would mind. If you sold your NT and only bought a cheaper "upgrade" to XP, then there is a problem, since you no longer have a right to run the upgrade. That's the core of the matter.
  • Why is this even an issue for people? It's not as if this is the only company that does this. Alias|Wavefront is another company that does this. So good luck to anyone who has an EBay copy that A|W will not support. You can have the original discs, dongle, etc and Alias will say you are not lisenced and will not grant you a decryption key.
  • by sirgoran (221190) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:04AM (#2431249) Homepage Journal
    If they prevent people from making a profit, or trying to re-coup expenses when getting rid of old equipment (hardware and software) then how could anyone not think that they are a monopoly. I think that the courts really need to define just how far the EULA extends, and not Microsoft.

    If I buy a computer that comes pre-installed with Software, use it for a year or two, I should be able to sell it lock, stock and barrel.

    It's how I buy a car, furniture, music, or anything else I have. I sell off or trade in my old crap to finance the new stuff. Maybe if Microsoft would offer trade-ins on the old stuff they wouldn't have to whine so much on the sales of older software. I for one would be willing to trade in my old copies of Win 3.1, 3.11, and 95 disks for some newer stuff.

    Goran
    • No, it doesn't because otherwise they in good company with Avid, Discreet, Alias|Wavefront and a host of others. Comparing tangible, physical constructs to digital ones is Apples vs Oranges. End *USER* License means use, not sell. If you want to sell Windows, become an MS Reseller.
  • by mpytlik (304502) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:06AM (#2431259)

    I'd love to know what my rights are here.

    I recently spent about $1000 on PARTS for a complete system which I put together myself. I went back to the same store a week later, looking to buy an original copy of Windows 2000, and the guy sold me an OEM (no receipt, cash only) on the basis that I'd basically bought a system there the week before. I think he sold it to me for $280CDN. Fine.

    I've since stopped using Windows 2000 (long story) on my PC, and since I wasn't using the OEM at all, I figured I'd get rid of it on eBay. I was completely unfront about my item in the auction - mentioned that it was an OPEN OEM copy, and that it had the original manuals, certificate of authentication, etc. and that I was no longer using it on my PC. Lo and behold, eBay pulled the auction about 12 hours later.

    I guess my question involves rights. Did Microsoft + eBay have a right to pull my auction? And, if so, why?

    Mark
    mpytlik@home.com
  • by Moritz Moeller - Her (3704) <mmh.gmx@net> on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:19AM (#2431340)
    Our Bundesgerichtshof (federal civil court) has decided last year, that all Microsoft provisions trying to prevent the unbundling of OEM versions of the machines they came with are not enforcable against customers. Basicly the same as the "frist sale " - doctrine of American law.

    Here is the press notice in German:
    http://www.jura.uni-sb.de/Entscheidungen/pressem 00 /BGH/zivil/bgh49-00.html
  • This is why you one should never sell MS software. Instead, one must share his copy with as many people as he can. Copy it for friends, copy it for relatives, let them all partake of your copy.
    It is untraceable, secure and a sweet feeling to boot.
    • And is the reason nobody can ever get out from under the stranglehold of microsoft these days. Thy *LIKE* that it was pirated in the past. Now all the idiots are locked in, and alternatives are suffering. OS/2 is gone as are many other competitors. Microsoft loves that you guys pirated instead of buying other solutions. Thanks.
  • No wonder there is usually a clause for explosives, knives, chemicals and software to "keep out of reach of children".

    If a minor can't be bound by the terms of a Piece of Software's (PoS?) contract, *and* is probably the only one in a household capable of *installing* the thing, it makes perfect sense.

    Same thing with HDTV: "You have every right to 'time shift' the content...that is legal, as soon as you try to excercise that right...out come the cuffs/lawyers/MP|RI-AA."

    Warning, Mixed Metaphores ahead...

    So Microsoft is using an ounce of prevention (on ebay) to extract a pound of flesh?

    Moose.
  • by Rothfuss (47480) <chris,rothfuss&gmail,com> on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:42AM (#2431523) Homepage
    If we are not allowed to sell an MS operating system (which I would never dream of doing because Eula says it's wrong...good old Eula) maybe we would all be better off just selling the old CDs as coasters...e.g.

    "For Sale: Genuine Windows 98SE DRINK COASTER. Not for use as operating system. CD only included. Rendered useless for data retrieval by placement in PROTECTIVE SLEEVE. Please do not remove coaster from protective sleeve. $10."

    Basically, it's just like everyone does with their AOL CDs, only this time don't glue felt on the back.

    -Rothfuss
  • by rew (6140) <r.e.wolff@BitWizard.nl> on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:52AM (#2431539) Homepage
    A lot of users seem to think that they can sell off their no-longer-used software to subsidize upgrades, but that's just not what the EULAs say (at least with pre-installed MS software).

    Ah, You must be living in that funny country across the big pond.

    Here in Europe, basic consumer rights say that you can sell whatever you leagally paid for, including software, even if the EULA says otherwise.

    If microsoft doesn't like that, they can come and battle with the EU governement, or stop selling their products out here.

    Roger.

  • by SilentChris (452960) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:05PM (#2431616) Homepage
    As much as I'm indifferent towards MS (I don't share the rampant hatred most people have towards the company around here, but I don't think Windows ME was a stellar marketing decision, either) I have had one negative experience selling MS software on eBay.

    Specifically, I received a copy of Windows NT 4.0 workstation with my copy of Visual C++ I purchased in college. I attempted to sell just the NT 4.0 workstation CD (with key, and thus its license). I never installed the CD on any of my machines, so I thought it would be ok.

    MS contacted eBay and my auction was immediately shut down for "illegal goods". When I asked eBay customer support the reason, they said that Microsoft claimed I was selling the CD without a proper license. I said to them I was selling the CD with its associated license, and I had never installed the software. They said to contact Microsoft, which I did and it was never resolved.

    To this date I harbor no ill will towards MS or eBay (I've completed dozens of other auctions without issue, and for what eBay does [getting a ton of people to look at your auction], it does well). Still, I can't imagine what it'll be like in the future.

  • by skoda (211470) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:23PM (#2431731) Homepage
    Now taking bids for this exquisite, brown cardboard box! This mildly used, but still fully functional, box will be shipped to the winner of this auction.

    As a special bonus, the winner of this box will receive Win98 OS for their PC, free!

    Bidding for the box starts at $10 + $5 shipping.
  • by supabeast! (84658) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:28PM (#2431765)
    Microsoft's attacks on ebay extend beyond simple software, to just about anything they produce. Twice this year I have tried to sell a Microsoft Sidewinder joystick, specifically stating that it was just the hardware with NO software. Both times Microsoft had ebay shut the auction down because the M$ search bot told ebay that I was selling software innaproprietly. I replied to Microsoft's email stating that I was only selling hardware, and threatened to sue for libel. My email was ignored, and the auction unable to proceed.

    My only real recourse to this action would have been to actually sue Microsoft. Unfortunately I do not have the time to sue Microsoft over a small matter, especially given that they could likely blame the software and get away on technicalites.

    This incident was what really pushed me away from Microsoft. I have had mixed opinions about the company for a very long time, and over the years moved away from Windows anyway, but when they pushed me around with legal muscle, I decided to just walk away for good. Of course, it worked out well in the end, as I now get to enjoy Apple's OS X.
  • by pubjames (468013) on Monday October 15, 2001 @01:55PM (#2432254)

    Responding to recent events on Earth, Bill Gates, the creator of the omniscient Windows, used by billions of computer users worldwide, angrily clarified His license agreement today.

    "Look, I don't know, maybe I haven't made myself completely clear, so for the record, here it is again" said Bill, visibly angry.

    "Somehow, people keep getting the idea that I don't mind them giving away or reselling copies of Windows. Well, I do mind. And to be honest, I'm really getting sick and tired of it. Get it straight. Not only can you not copy or give away Windows, but you can't resell a copy bought from an OEM. I don't care if you're a school, a charity, or a damn orphanage, the rules apply to you."

    "I don't care how poor you are, or how much you need a copy of Windows. If someone tells you I don't mind you making a copy, they're wrong. Got it? I own it all, ok? It's all there in the license agreement. It all belongs to me. You mean nothing to me. You bunch of fucking loosers."

    And he sniggered.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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