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Microsoft Pirating Their Own Software? 575

Posted by michael
from the piracy-is-eeeeeeeevilllll dept.
14ghz writes "Microsoft gave out copies of .NET Visual Studio Pro to attendees of the Microsoft .NET Student Tour. Despite the discs saying "UNLICENSED SOFTWARE -- Illegal without separate license from Microsoft", the freebie didn't contain any license document, and one guy decided to ask the MS conference rep about it. Read the in-progress story."
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Microsoft Pirating Their Own Software?

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  • Not pirated (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:36PM (#5670473)
    Those are bulk media discs, not pirated discs. They require a separate volume licensing key to use.
    • Re:Not pirated (Score:2, Informative)

      by yerricde (125198)

      They require a separate volume licensing key to use.

      From the blurb: "the freebie didn't contain any license document." So where was this key?

    • Re:Not pirated (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sparr0 (451780)
      Sent this to the article author, thought I would share it here too...

      I think the biggest problem with your interpretation of the events is your misunderstanding of what software is and how copyright and transfers of ownership work. Sasha, and Microsoft (the holders of the copyright) by extenstion, is within the law to distribute copies of their works in any way she wants, as long as she has permission from her boss (as a Microsoft employee, not as an individual). She has transferred ownership of one "copy"
  • by Transient0 (175617) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:37PM (#5670478) Homepage
    Maybe they've just decided to give out illegal copies of their software to everyone they can and then sue them over it. It's easier than getting them to trudge all the way down to the store and fork out a hundred bucks willingly.
  • Dont they normally have some kind of click through license?

    "Do you agree to our terms and conditions YES | No"

    Kind of thing?
  • by AmigaAvenger (210519) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:38PM (#5670488) Journal
    start uploading those things!!! It is in writing that there is no license for those. Your typical license says, among a bunch of other stuff, no copying, distributing... Hence, no license, distribute all you want! Free as in beer!!!
  • by mfh (56) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:38PM (#5670492) Journal
    It's totally up to Microsoft to determine how to license their software, and whom to license it to.

    What's the fuss? They could license it for free use to recovering crack addicts that live on the 3000 block of 1st street that wear green pants if they wanted to.

    As long as some marketing monkey at MS has the OK from the higher-ups, then it's all good.
    • It's totally up to Microsoft to determine how to license their software, and whom to license it to.

      Well, not entirely. While I'm not familiar with American law, I doubt they're allowed to, for example, discriminate people depending on their sex or skin color.

      Though this is offtopic, I know.
    • I disagree. That's the equivalent of installing, say, 50 copies of AutoCAD when you only have one license, and then saying "well... yeah but only one person uses it at a time."

      That's not the way it works. There is no descretionary license. If you want to play by the rules, then *everyone* plays by the rules. Including Microsoft Sales managers that like to hand out CDs to the unwitting.

      BTW... I wouldn't install that POS "development suite" if *they* paid *me*.

      HEH! HA!
      • I would (Score:5, Funny)

        by Artifex (18308) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @08:32PM (#5670757) Journal
        BTW... I wouldn't install that POS "development suite" if *they* paid *me*.


        I'm unemployed, you insensitive clod! :)

        No, really. I'd install it all day on lots computers. Later, if they paid me enough, I might even support the IDE for it.

      • I got it for an intro level C++ class, and it works well! Though, it is sometimes hard to justify the cost, the fact that it keeps track of parenthesis by bolding its compliment is worth the cost alone.

        Also it is nice to see a list of functions for structures and classes etc.

        --Joey
      • by m1a1 (622864)
        I disagree. That's the equivalent of installing, say, 50 copies of AutoCAD when you only have one license, and then saying "well... yeah but only one person uses it at a time."

        I know for sure this happens with certain software (I couldn't say autocad for sure).

        At my University we have limited matlab licenses. If you try to start matlab it tries to use a license off of a license server. If all the licenses are already in use you are told that you can't use matlab right now becaue there is no license
    • by Ugmo (36922) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @08:03PM (#5670618)
      It is up to Microsoft how and to whom they license the software but this guy and 500 others did not get a license of any kind, just a disk.

      He could have downloaded this off of Kazaa or somewhere.

      What happens when the company or school he is at gets audited 6 months from now? Does he have to pay up for a license? If MS had given him a piece of paper that said 1 non transferable license free for non-commercial use he could wip the paper out and show the auditors. Now he has to erase the software from his computer or pay up if he gets audited. MS is being lazy. If they want the rules to protect their revenue stream then they have to stick to the rules themselves.
    • by SirSlud (67381) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @08:07PM (#5670645) Homepage
      Yeah, but when the BSA comes in, sees you have a copy of MS software, but no license?

      Considering they dont consider owning the original CD proof that you own it, I don't think they'll consider an email from an MS rep saying "its okay" proof that you own it.

      Just because an MS employee says 'its okay' does not cover your ass in court if MS's *other hand* comes knocking at the door looking for proof that you indeed own licenses for the software you have installed on your computer.

      The point is, the software/CD is worth nothing. The license is worth something. And you need the license to use the CD. Anything else could be a little bit of unintentional BSA-enforced entrapment.

      I don't think it'd really happen, but the guy has a very very good point. It'd be like a sheet music service giving you photocopies of some sheet music (ie, no proof you own them), and saying "its okay, go ahead" .. but it'd be your ass on the line if anybody contacted Leonard Publishing about your supposedly 'legal' pirated sheet music. Of course the owner of the copyright can let you have use of it for free, but if they dont give you legal proof that you own it, they could be responsible for getting you in legal trouble when an entirely seperate entity wants to check on the validity of what you own.
      • Those papers Microsoft gives out are "End User License Agreements" and "Certificate[s] of Authenticity", they are not "Licences".

        The EULA says you must have a licence, but it doesn't say what constitutes a license.

        The best evidence you can provide of licensing is a receipt for the software from an authorized retailer. Otherwise you can hold up all the Certificates of Authenticity, original media and EULAs you want and you still could have bought the package from Bob down the street... which violates th

      • by zurab (188064)
        The point is, the software/CD is worth nothing. The license is worth something. And you need the license to use the CD. Anything else could be a little bit of unintentional BSA-enforced entrapment.

        Well, that's good - next time I am going to use that logic every time I lose a CD of a software package I bought (and I have lost quite a few). I am going to call up the software maker, inform them of my loss, and demand another copy of their product and present them with my license number and purchase receipt.
    • t's totally up to Microsoft to determine how to license their software, and whom to license it to. What's the fuss?

      It's a big deal BECAUSE there is no license. They're giving away unlicensed software. To students. Who might use it to make really great software. With unlicensed tools. They might make great software. Illegal software, because of those unlicensed tools. Software MS may take offense at.

  • Slashot is really scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one. I rate this story as -1 nitpick.
    • This isn't MS bashing. (or at least the article isn't) I mean, you don't attend a seminar like that if you hate MS with a burning passion.
    • How many times are you handed software at conferences? Now, lets say you don't pay attention to such a notice and end up using it. Sometime down the road, the BSA sends you a friendly audit reminder, and now you've got this CD which you can't prove you have any legal claim to.

      Granted, in this particular case the odds are strongly against that happening, but if Microsoft is going to insist on getting anal retentive about every single license, I think it's pretty reasonable to question things like this.
  • by 0x12d3 (623370) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:39PM (#5670498)
    yeah; the back's blue and "visual studio" is misspelled it's all in marker and what not; 3 of the disc's say Imation and the other 4 say sony. But it's cool the guy swore he was in w/ Gates.
  • by happyhippy (526970) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:40PM (#5670502)
    To make an example for asking awkward questions.
  • by cscx (541332) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:40PM (#5670503) Homepage
    {Opens desk drawer} My VS.NET CD 6-pack says the same thing. So do my WinXP, OfficeXP, etc CDs.

    The license has to be grated by whoever is giving out the CDs... these are volume licensing CDs. Usually you are given a CD key that is associated with an institution.

    For example, I just had to sign a MS affidavit at our bookstore and they were all mine for $5 apiece.

    I can't believe you shitheads posted this "story." Makes me wonder why I read this site less and less every day.
    • I can't believe you shitheads posted this "story." Makes me wonder why I read this site less and less every day.

      Don't you get it? According to /. *everything* Microsoft does is Evil, and everything Steve Jobs does is INSANELY GREAT.

      • Replace "Steve Jobs" with "RMS" and I'll buy that statement. Steve Jobs has an appreciation of how style can sell electronics, and other than that is just another scheister businessman.
    • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@NospaM.yahoo.com> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @08:03PM (#5670620) Journal
      This makes you wonder why you read this site less and less every day? Meaning you are now thinking you should read this site more?

      If you really do read this site less and less everyday, what a coincidence it is that you just happened to be reading when a new story was posted, and your response is in the first few posts.

      Maybe you should actually read the story instead of rushing to post first on a site you barely want to read. If you had, you would have noticed that the MS flak said nothing about a license. In fact, she said it was okay to use the software without a license. Is that what the affadavit you signed in your bookstore said? I think not.
    • by nathanh (1214) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @08:19PM (#5670709) Homepage
      You just had to sign an affidavit to buy software and you think nothing is wrong?
  • interesting... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    my university sells the same discs (VS.NET, XP Pro, Office XP) under the select license. it has the same UNLICENSED message and i've always wondered about it to tell you the truth. but i figure they wouldnt be selling it without knowing something i dont. the closest thing I could ever find was a webpage (http://wiscweb5.wisc.edu/wisc/license/license_ms_ dept.html)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:40PM (#5670509)
    would there be complaints about Microsoft giving away software.
    • Re:Only on Slashdot (Score:5, Interesting)

      by HiThere (15173) <`charleshixsn' `at' `earthlink.net'> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @08:56PM (#5670860)
      If they require the EULA I read, free is overpriced.

      I seriously dislike the MS license. It was why I originally switched to Linux, when the applications I needed weren't available. If you want to gamble, you go right ahead. I prefer to be a bit safe. If someone makes me sign a license that says "you won't use my software except under these conditions..." and one of the conditions is that you have a license, then I won't bother to install it without a license. And a salesman's word of honor is as good as a saleman's word of honor. (I.e., a bit better than a politician's.) If they take you in for an audit, then you are had, and a salesman's promise is no help at all, even if it were personally signed, much less being just an e-mail.

  • first they give that "gift" and next they send BSA to check if all is OK. At least they didn't "plant" de CDs, in that case you have the opportunity to put those disks in a rocket or something like that.
  • by tc (93768) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:45PM (#5670541)
    Check out the email address of the MS rep: v-sashak@microsoft.com. The 'v-' at the beginning is, IIRC, Microspeak for 'not a Microsoft employee'. It's probably a contractor or agency temp that works events who has been given an MS mail account. Which would explain the less-than-clueful answers (and why (s)he has to speak to his/her manager).
  • by Cutriss (262920) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:48PM (#5670546) Homepage
    I participated in a retail program giveaway for Windows XP. The copy of WinXP Pro that I received came in a plastic sleeve with a CD-key sticker on the back, but the CD said the same thing: "Use of this disc is illegal without a separate license certificate from Microsoft." And of course, the disc didn't come with a license.
  • Why wasn't I told of these events?! There was even one in my city!

    Goddamnit slashdot. quit sleeping on the job. I couldv'e had a (semi) not-illegal copy of VS. Newest version, even! None of this "enterprise edition downloaded from a source that wishes to remain nameless" for me...

    bastards...
  • by kalgen (224492) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:48PM (#5670548) Homepage
    Presumably since this was part of a MSDNAA (Academic Alliance) Student event, all of the attendees are covered under their school's MSDNAA agreement and thus have a separate license.

    Nothing to see here, please drive by.
  • Not really Piracy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by evilviper (135110) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:48PM (#5670549) Journal
    It's not really copyright infringement, it's more like false advertising.

    Obviously microsoft has the right to allow you to use the software, with or without a license. The question in this case is:

    Is Microsoft okay with this, or are the higher-ups unaware of what is happening here?

    How can he prove this software is legal?

    Is Microsoft falsly advertising? Software that is only for non-commercial use IS NOT the same as the software that is worth $109, so he did not recieve what was advertised.

    • by thelen (208445) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:58PM (#5670596) Homepage

      Even if it's closer to false advertising, because there isn't any direct profit going to MS from the distribution of the software, this "problem" is a non-starter.

      What MS is trying to do is to create a viable developer base among students in order to facilitate later corporate acceptance of .NET, and they're not going to get upset about dinky shit like this -- and neither will any court -- as long as that objective is met. This tactic is nothing new, illegal, surprising or interesting.

    • The software that costs $109 *IS* the academic version of Visual Studio.Net. It is esentially VS.Net Pro, with a modifed license. When you buy the $109 academic version you are still not allowed to use it for non-commercial purposes, but Microsoft is giving away this software at the conferences instead of you paying $109.

      If you want to use VS.Net for commercial purposes you have to buy the Professional edition which runs around a thousand dollars I think.
      • I really wouldn't know... I simply said that because that is something the website mentioned.

        Quote:
        Surely these copies of CD's do not cost $109! I


        So, strike point #3 from my list!

  • And Linux is going to make a credible challenge as a desktop operating system.

    And my Mom will eventually know that FreeBSD is not Unix.

    And Hillary Rosen will be discovered with a 10,000 song library on a Kazaa SuperNode in her basement and get sued for ten trillin quadrillion dollars.

    Then there will finally be peace on Slashdot, and it will be converted into hotornot2.com

    We can only pray.

    ------

  • by b17bmbr (608864) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:50PM (#5670557)
    in my district, i had proposed several linux based solutions, from turning old p120's into thin X clients, to file servers, yada yada. all were shot down like a duck on opening day. so, i get to talking to our site district technidiot. turns out he goes to some microsoft seminars and they throw out VS, 2K pro, office pro, everything. in fact he laughed because he had a "no reg. key" copy cd. so next time you wonder why there is not the movement you would think towards FOSS, this is why. why would our district want to use FOSS, when the microsoft reps throw out cd's like halloween candy. the reps know full well that the schools have to pay, and they know how to get "the right people on board". it is so easy and cheap for them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:54PM (#5670574)
    The dude who posted the article should have had the common decency to obscure the name of the person at Microsoft that he was corresonding with. I have had my name posted on the internet with correspondance I made on behalf of my employer and it always makes me uncomfortable.

    Further, the guy is probably some frontline peon who really has no control over anything there and has only been given the vaguest of guidelines on how to operate. No sense sticking his name out on the net for future harassment or embarassment.

    I really think doing that was a bad move and anyone in the tech industry should have the common decency not to do that to a colleague.
    • Actually.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by leerpm (570963)
      He is the Student Co-ordinator for Academic .Net. His name and email are on the business card that is given out to every single student that attends one of these conferences.
    • The dude who posted the article should have had the common decency to obscure the name of the person at Microsoft that he was corresonding with. I have had my name posted on the internet with correspondance I made on behalf of my employer and it always makes me uncomfortable.

      IANAL, but it's not just obnoxious, it's illegal- regardless of whether you obscure the names. Unless I specify otherwise, any communication I send you is intended for you, and you only. If you forward it to someone else, or, say, p

      • No it's not (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jesterzog (189797)

        Unless I specify otherwise, any communication I send you is intended for you, and you only. If you forward it to someone else, or, say, post it online for all to read, I can sue you. It's quite similar to how you may not tape-record a conversation without my permission.

        That sounds absolutely incorrect. Have you ever heard of investigative journalism?

        I don't know what the exact state of the law is in the US, but certainly where I am (New Zealand) it's fully legal to record and/or disclose a priva

  • by mrpuffypants (444598) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [stnapyffuprm]> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @07:59PM (#5670599)
    Some guy in my dorm must work for microsoft too. He gives out copies of everything that microsoft makes on CD for free. All the programs have names like Verbatim, Memorex, and CenDyne.

    I've never heard of those programs, but they work for typing up term papers really well!
  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @08:00PM (#5670602) Homepage Journal
    Man stops MS from giving away there software.
    when asked, the person replied "well its obvious? I'm a pendantic ass".

    well there you have it...

  • Hi, I'm one of those poor students who fight against evil by pirating softwarez and downloading mp3z. Look, I'm being opressed by Evil Corporation. Pity Me. Click here to send money to my PayPal account so I can buy more beer, party and make life difficult to seventh-tier Corporate Contractor Drones over a piece of software I got for free. Stay tuned, more emails from Evil Corporation next week, here for all to see. And hey, the Uni server can take the load, so what do I care!!1!

    Yes folks, right here on t

  • I find it interesting that somebody is going through all this trouble to find about the license. I would have kept a print of the e-mail from the MS rep that says it was OK to use the software for non-commercial use.
  • by DrakkenFire (641666) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @08:07PM (#5670642)
    I work for a major retail computer chain. We used to have training events with all kinds of software vendors (microsoft, mcafee, mgi, datavis, roxio, etc.) and they used to give out all kinds of free software so that we could try thier products in hopes that if we used them we would reccommend the software to our customers. Now, due to the current economy a lot of these training events have stopped, but even at the ones that still do occur (microsoft included) we dont get NEARLY the amount of handouts that we used to. Again, it could probably be argued that this is due to economic conditions, and I would agree if they were handing out keyboards or processors, but for the cost of them to manufacture a CD they dont lose money as compared to what they will make on our reccomendations to customers.

    Anyway, back to my point. It seems to me that this guy is just trying to cause trouble for troubles sake, OR is trying to prove a point with regards to liscencing laws. While I agree with the sentiments, I DO NOT agree with the ammunition he is using for his fight.

    All he is effectively doing is making these companies more gunshy to hand out free software to resellers like myself, or anyone else who attends training events like the one he did to get his software. The companies wont want to deal with a deluge of email like this, or go throught the trouble of making special key sets for promotional NFR (not for resale) software, etc. Actually, we USED to get software that was stamped NFR all over it, but they stopped this and started handing out "real" versions under volume lisences because there were more costs involved with producing NFR sets rather than using existing stock.

    Youre looking a gift horse in the mouth and will end up ruining things for yourself and everyone else just to prove a point!
  • I don't believe it's possible for someone to pirate their own software.
  • The real problem isn't that Microsoft is giving out free software. It isn't a problem that they can give software out for free and not require a license.

    The real problem is that when the feds come knocking on your door, you aren't going to have a license for that CD and they're going to bust you for it. Microsoft isn't going to help you then, unless for some reason they kept a list of names of people to whom they distributed the CDs.
  • In the same way that I have $50,000 stolen from me every year, you know.

    Someone stole $20,000 from me and diverted the funds to the IRS. Someone else stole $10,000 from me and diverted it to Safeway, Albertson's, and Bob's IGA. And I lost another $20,000 to miscellaneous companies in my area.

    The culprit? My wife and that damned checkbook.

    I'm sure the SPA finds billions and billions of dollars of pirated software. You know. Microsoft pirates McAfee, McAfee pirates Norton, and Norton pirates Microsoft. It'
  • an anonymous soource, known only as 1337 dud3, how he felt about this issues, he responded with:
    "Man. this shit sucks. I bust my ass to download cracks for there key, then bust my ass to put their stuff out on kazaa, now there giving away there software? wtf? Man microsoft sucks, and this is just another example of how the stick it to the little pir^H^H^H guy."

    The is Walter Kronkite saying "Sucks to be you."

  • I left a few minutes early and they said they'd mail us VS.NET because they couldn't find it.

    Seriously though, why would you be such a biatch to someone who's trying to do something FOR you. She helped coordinate the event that gave you FREE food (although those wraps were a funky colour), FREE software, and FREE sessions.

    Oh well, I've read enough complaining in this post already; it's about time I stop contributing to it. I can't believe this made the front page.
  • by DragonHawk (21256) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @08:29PM (#5670742) Homepage Journal
    You can obtain a media kit for just about any Microsoft product by calling your local Microsoft Product Fulfillment sales office. Most of the kits cost $24.95. That includes things like Windows 2000 Server, Exchange 2000 Server, etc. Any software media you get this way will be marked "Unlicensed Software -- Illegal Without Separate License From Microsoft".

    The general idea here is that software -- all software -- is licensed independently of the media it comes on. For example, if you lose or damage your Windows install CD, you can order a replacement for a small fee. The license that you purchased originally is still valid, and is what counts.

    These CDs are also used with the various volume licensing programs (Open, Select, and so on) that Microsoft offers. Basically, you order licenses for your organization separately, and then order however many media kits you want or need. You can find more information on these programs at http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/ [microsoft.com].

    Now, as far as these discs go: Without a separate license agreement, they are not legal to use. It sure sounds to me that no such license agreement was distributed. I would be very careful about using such media unless I received an agreement.

    The fact that some marketing dweeb at Microsoft handled them out is not enough. The fact that the same dweeb said it was okay is not enough, either. A dweeb is not a legal license agreement. Those facts would give you plausible denial in court, and likely decide the case in your favor, but it would have to go to court.

    Finally, I doubt Microsoft has any nefarious intentions here. I suspect that Microsoft is just like any other large company, and that as such, they employ people (like this marketing dweeb) who don't understand that software licensing is a legal contract. I'm sure it never occurred to him that he was doing something wrong. Most people don't think before they pirate software. Heck, far too many people don't think, period.

    The fact that Microsoft's own people have this problem is certainly ironic, and highlights just how crazy the world of software licensing is.

    Zealots, please note: Free/Open Source Software is still licensed. You need to very carefully understand your rights and obligations under a software license, be it a Microsoft EULA, the BSD license, or the GPL. Failure to do so may open you up to legal problems, regardless. (Go ahead and incorporate some GPL code into a closed product, and see how the FSF reacts.)
  • by WebCowboy (196209) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @08:31PM (#5670751)
    ...to the University of Calgary. The license need not be represented by one of those nifty little certificates with intricate graphics, numbers and holograms all over it. It is entirely possible that in return for letting MS put on its dog-and-pony show microsoft granted some sort of volume licensing deal with the UofC.

    I agree with the article that "Sasha" (the MS point-of-contact for the student tour) is out of the loop concerning licensing issues--understandable since keeping everything straight is something akin to brain surgery and rocket science. Sasha might reply after talking to one of the MS High Priests of Licensing saying as much as I've stated above.

    If in doubt, ultimately I'd talk to the UofC's Computing Services department--or the departments of Computing Science or Computer Engineering--to inquire about how student licensing works (ie it it technically property of the U of C and you only buy the media--or whatever).

    I don't know how it works at the U of C, but at the U of Alberta bookstore, you didn't need to be a student to buy most anything there, but for software it was a different story--you needed to present a valid, current student ID card and fill out documentation before you could cart your purchase home.

    It was many years ago when I did that (1996), however when I bought MS Office it didn't come with the same licensing documentation (certificate, registration postcards, etc) that retail (or even OEM) software was packed with. Perhaps that meant it was licensed to the U of A for use by all students who bought the media. However I didn't really care then about the legal details of licensing at the time. Come to think of it, I don't now either. I don't purposely go out of my way to "steal" MS software, but it gets legally murky when your software library from MS is a mishmash of retail, OEM, NFR copies obtained from being a former "MS Partner" and student editions. If I worried about it I'd get ulcers and never have time to do real work.
  • by mark-t (151149) <{markt} {at} {lynx.bc.ca}> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:03PM (#5670885) Journal
    They wrote the software, they can give it away, and give people permission to use it without a license if they so choose. Although it might be in their best interests to have done so in writing.
  • by devnullkac (223246) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:17PM (#5670930) Homepage
    Poor Lance is already in violation of the restrictions on the media they gave him... he made an illegal copy [ucalgary.ca] and posted it on the Internet.
  • by sheetsda (230887) <doug DOT sheets AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:39PM (#5671002)
    sometime in early March last year. I had the same concern and I didn't install any of the stuff I got until some time later I read on MS's site that the software was licensed. They also gave out Visual Studio .NET Academic t-shirts, a free full copy of WinXP Pro (using it on my gaming machine), some mints in a strange tin that you have to press on the top to open and squeeze the sides to lock (mmmm... mints), a Visual Studio .NET pen and I can't remember what else. In short, this story is a false alarm, MS does a lot of evil stuff, but this isn't a case of it.

    Wow, I never thought I'd be defending MS, especially on /.
  • bah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:43PM (#5671018) Homepage
    Microsoft isn't at fault here. Good grief, all everyone here does is complain about Microsoft's draconian licensing system, then when they try and give something away they get jumped all over.

    I mean, geeze. In that e-mail exchange the story linked to, one participant wasn't making sense, and it certainly wasn't Microsoft. 'Here, have this software' 'There's no license' 'Well you can use it for non-commercial use' 'Just this software?'. That last one kills me; he knows perfectly well that 'for that single piece of software we gave you you don't need a license' doesn't imply in any way that he doesn't need a license for ANY Microsoft software ever again. Don't try to make it sound like MS is being all contradictory.
  • Civility, please? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chymaera (607989) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @09:55PM (#5671067)
    Although it was wise for the submitter to check whether he was on solid legal grounds, it seems most uncivil of him to bring all this attention to the employee over such a relatively minor matter as this. Sasha seemed to be handling the problem with all expediency, and I imagine the issue would have been resolved had submitter merely waited and continued to correspond with him. Now tens of thousands of people know about this and Sasha risks getting in trouble with his superiors.

    Submitting the site to slashdot was unjustified in light of how the problem was being handled, and it was a breach of trust on the part of the submitter.
  • by terradyn (242947) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:10PM (#5671137) Homepage
    Sasha's last response went like this:

    Hi Lance
    I am going to forward your request to my managers. Please stay tuned, I will get back at you ASAP.

    Sounds like he's gonna sic the ms lawyers on you for messing with him. =)
  • Drugs and software (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quill_28 (553921) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @10:27PM (#5671212) Journal
    Yes, software is like drugs.
    You give it away or sell it very cheap, until your enough customers are hooked.
    Then you raise prices.

    Remember piracy is the best thing that has ever happened to Microsoft.

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Saturday April 05, 2003 @11:44PM (#5671521) Journal
    RMS was caught pirating his own GNU software at a tradeshow.

  • Oh yeah. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sj0 (472011) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:12AM (#5671635) Homepage Journal
    There's another phrase for when a company pirates it's own software.

    It's called "legitimate and legal use".
    oops.
  • by KC7GR (473279) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @03:16AM (#5672207) Homepage Journal
    Think about it.

    Spammers usually define spamming as "That which they do not do."

    Here, we have a case where Microsoft is simply redefining software piracy as "That which we do not do."

    Since Microsoft has also been known to spam, and has tried to weaken anti-spam laws [nwsource.com] in their favor, it comes as no surprise to me that the left hand has no idea of what the right is doing when it comes to handing out software.

    Spammer logic. Amazing -- and kind of frightening -- how contagious it is.

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel

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