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Microsoft Software for Sale, Slightly Used 159

Alsee writes "The Register reports that recent UK business Discount-Licensing.com has been having booming growth reselling pre-owned Microsoft software licenses 20-50% below retail, after spotting the opportunity in Microsoft's licensing terms and Britain's insolvency laws for insolvent and downsizing businesses. Sorry, no discount personal OS resales, corporate bulk resales only."
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Microsoft Software for Sale, Slightly Used

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  • What a crazy idea! (Score:5, Informative)

    by IntelliAdmin ( 941633 ) * on Friday April 14, 2006 @06:52AM (#15128352) Homepage
    What a crazy idea - the thought that you actually can do what you want with something you purchased. I wonder how long it is before the BSA finds some way of shutting these people down.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "I wonder how long it is before the BSA finds some way of shutting these people down."

      And if they don't, you'll never hear about it on this forum.
    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @08:20AM (#15128657) Homepage Journal
      What a crazy idea - the thought that you actually can do what you want with something you purchased.

      Well, it would be, if Microsoft sold sofware.

      Which they don't.

      Whether you think i's a good idea for society or not, they sell licenses. A license by its very nature is more ambiguous than ownership, because it is, at its heart, an agreed upon, ungoing relationship between the licensee and licensor.

      So, what is going on here is something a bit extraordinary. It's saying that licensees have in certain cirumstances the ability to transfer their relationship with the licensor to a third party, without the licensor's consent.
      • Does M$ ever see any cheddar from this transaction, like they would on the first sale of a license? So aren't we getting ripped off by this company? Shouldn't they be selling the licenses for way less, like 50-75% off instead of 25-50%?
      • Whether you think i's a good idea for society or not, they sell licenses. A license by its very nature is more ambiguous than ownership, because it is, at its heart, an agreed upon, ungoing relationship between the licensee and licensor.
        Beh. They may claim they sell licenses, and that you only rent the software from them. But if a court decides that's just a loophole and in fact they sell software, and after you've bought it then you own it, then that's how it is.
        • by DavidTC ( 10147 )
          While it is perfectly valid to point out that they're trying to charge the terms after the point of sale on purchased-in-stores software, this article is about business licenses, which, I assure you, are licenses. The company sits down with MS and hammers out an agreement, and then they both sign it.

          No one walked into a store and out with a box, it's not an install EULA, or even a shrinkwrap license, and I have no problem with MS trying to keep people from reselling them. They are almost always company or

          • I wish I had mod points today. . .

            I've been saying that for a while now - courts have been pretty clear since the first cases involving such things (software and media); if it's sold as a commodity item, right of first sale applies. You OWN it and you can resell it, rent it, give it away, shred it, make backup copies in accordance with Fair Use (but if the original changes hand the backups must accompany them or be destroyed), and so forth.

            Volume licensing is a contract - you don't buy commodity items when
      • by ehrichweiss ( 706417 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @09:41AM (#15129201)
        There's really absolutely nothing extraordinary about this at all. At least here in the States, "shrinkwrap licensing" doesn't hold water in the higher courts and the only real way to keep someone from selling their software is by signed agreement.

        SGI has for years sold software under a license where you physically sign an agreement to purchase, and the license forbids resale of the software without express permission of Silicon Graphics. The thing is, they have the attitude toward their media that most of us wish that the record/movie companies had toward CD/DVD's..if it gets damaged, lost, stolen, etc. then they replace it for free...usually overnight Fedex. But that was back in the day, I'm unsure if they still do this now.

        Anyway, I'm glad to see someone do this with the corporate licenses; it's about damn time.

      • by Bogtha ( 906264 )

        Whether you think i's a good idea for society or not, they sell licenses.

        When you walk into a shop, pick a box off the shelf and pay for it, does it say "Windows" on it, or does it say "A license for Windows" on it? When you see adverts for computers in magazines, does it say that they come with Windows, or does it say that they come with a license for Windows?

        If Microsoft aren't selling Windows, then millions of people around the world have not got what they legitimately paid for and have been de

      • by Sparr0 ( 451780 ) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Friday April 14, 2006 @01:47PM (#15131576) Homepage Journal
        Let me direct you to one of my favorite Sale vs License rulings, Adobe v Softman. Relevant excerpts follow:

        A number of courts have held that the sale of software is the sale of a good within the meaning of Uniform Commercial Code. Advent Sys. Ltd. v. Unisys Corp., 925 F.2d 670, 676 (3d Cir. 1991); Step-Saver, 929 F.2d at 99-100; Downriver Internists v. Harris Corp., 929 F.2d 1147, 1150 (6th Cir. 1991). It is well-settled that in determining whether a transaction is a sale, a lease, or a license, courts look to the economic realities of the exchange. ...

        Other courts have reached the same conclusion: software is sold and not licensed. See, e.g., RRX Indus., Inc. v. Lab-Con Inc., 772 F.2d 543, 546 (9th Cir. 1985); Applied Info. Mgmt., Inc, v. Icart, 976 Supp. 149, 155 (E.D.N.Y. 1997) finding that whether a transaction denominated a "license" was in act a sale conveying ownership was a disputed question of fact); Novell, Inc. v. CPU Distrib., Inc., 2000 U.S. Dist. Lexis 9975 (S.D. Tex. 2000). In Novell, a software manufacturer was pursuing a discount retailer for copyright infringement. Like Adobe, CPU argued that it purchased the software from an authorized source, and was entitled to resell it under the first sale doctrine. Novell claimed that it did not sell software but merely licensed it to distribution partners. The court held that these transactions constituted sales and not a license, and therefore that the first sale doctrine applied. 2000 U.S. Dist. Lexis 9975 at *18. ...

        The Court finds that the circumstances surrounding the transaction strongly suggests that the transaction is in fact a sale rather than a license. For example, the purchaser commonly obtains a single copy of the software, with documentation, for a single price, which the purchaser pays at the time of the transaction, and which constitutes the entire payment for the "license." The license runs for an indefinite term without provisions for renewal. In light of these indicia, many courts and commentators conclude that a "shrinkwrap license" transaction is a sale of goods rather than a license.12 ...

        The reality of the business environment also suggests that Adobe sells its software to distributors. Adobe transfers large amounts of merchandise to distributors. The distributors pay full value for the merchandise and accept the risk that the software may be damaged or lost.13 The distributors also accept the risk that they will be unable to resell the product.14 The distributors then resell the product to other distributors in the secondary market. The secondary market and the ultimate consumer also pay full value for the product, and accept the risk that the product may be lost or damaged. This evidence suggests a transfer of title in the good. The transfer of a product for consideration with a transfer of title and risk of loss generally constitutes a sale. VWP of Am., Inc. v. United States, 175 F.3d 1327, 1338-39 (Fed. Cir. 1999). ...

        [signed]
        DEAN D. PREGERSON
        United States District Judge
        • Indeed, the fact that software vendors typically will not send you replacement media if your media is lost, without charging you for a full additional license, also suggests that the value is in the media, not in the license.
        • When we're talking about an ordinary consumer going into a store and buying a normal box of software to install on a single machine, I am with you 100%. Copyright law explicitly says that you do not need any sort of copyright license to install and run software on a disk you bought, and thus do *not* need to agree to any EULA that they offer. You can decline the EULA and install and use the software.

          HOWEVER...

          In this particular case, in this particular story, is one of those very rare times where we really
      • So, what is going on here is something a bit extraordinary. It's saying that licensees have in certain cirumstances the ability to transfer their relationship with the licensor to a third party, without the licensor's consent.

        No, it's not. It's using terms in the license that allow the licensee to transfer the license. The featured company is acting as a broker, matching interested parties, and they use MS's own forms to do the transfer.
      • It's no more a licence than when I go into a bookstore, put down some cash, and get a book. Copyright law prevents me photocopying that book and giving away the copies, or replacing the cover and pretending I'm the author, or put it up for rent (along with a couple of other things) - but importantly, under first sale doctrine it's mine to do as I wish afterwards, including defacing or reselling it.

        If it's a business contract, such as software assurance, where I pay a continuing fee to the software holder fo
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 14, 2006 @07:05AM (#15128384)
    Microsoft will start putting a non-transferability clause in license agreements. Simple as that. US Bankruptcy law may or may not create an out for such a clause, so that a trustee can sell a debtor's licences. If the law allows it and if it causes a drain on sales revenue, you can bet that there will be another anti-consumer amendment to the bankruptcy code.
    • Three words: "Exhaustion of Rights".

      In the UK at least, once you sell something -- even something nebulous like a licence to do something the Law of the Land already gives you the right to do -- then it is no longer your property and you lose control of it.

      They can put a clause in the licence that apparently forbids transfer of licences; but UK law gives you the right to transfer licences. And a promise not to exercise a statutory right is worthless, so invoking the "severability" clause found in almo
      • So if the license says you can't transfer it, you can still transfer it?

        Does that mean that if it says you can't install the software multiply that you may indeed install it as many times as you want? Does it mean that licenses are completely worthless to the licensor?

        Are you a lawyer?
        • by m50d ( 797211 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @08:01AM (#15128570) Homepage Journal
          So if the license says you can't transfer it, you can still transfer it?

          Yes

          Does that mean that if it says you can't install the software multiply that you may indeed install it as many times as you want?

          No, because copyright law prevents that.

          Does it mean that licenses are completely worthless to the licensor?

          Licenses are useful for one thing only - making exceptions to your copyright. Any other terms are meaningless.

          Are you a lawyer?Not yet

          • Surely making copies for my own computers isn't in breach of copyright. I know I can't redistribute the copies to anyone, and I'm not suggesting that at all. However I am suggesting that if I am not bound by the license terms then I am not restricted from making as many copies of the media as I like and using those copies for my own private use in any way I see fit. I am only restricted because of the terms of the license.

            Unless I'm not understanding some weird UK-style legal mumbo jumbo that doesn't all
            • Unless I'm not understanding some weird UK-style legal mumbo jumbo that doesn't allow you to make copies for private use. God knows you guys have totally screwed up what was once a beautiful language (English).

              I'm pretty sure there's no entitlement to do this. There are a few general copyright exceptions - "copies necessary for the intended use of the work" and "transitory copies the sole purpose of which is an otherwise legal use of the work" are those which spring to mind - but nothing like as extensive

        • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2.earthshod@co@uk> on Friday April 14, 2006 @08:08AM (#15128598)
          So if the license says you can't transfer it, you can still transfer it?
          Yes, because the Law of the Land says you may transfer a licence -- and rights given to you by the Law of the Land cannot be denied to you by entering into a contract. That's what the magic words "Your statutory rights are not affected" mean. It's also the reason why EULAs have a severability clause; that's the bit that says if any provision is found not to be applicable it shall not prejudice any other provision.
          Does that mean that if it says you can't install the software multiply that you may indeed install it as many times as you want?
          No, because the Law of the Land does not say you may install it as many times as you want. Though, you might argue in court that this constituted Fair Dealing {a deliberately ambiguous term: it is for the courts to decide what does or does not constitute fair dealing}. If you were successful, you would set a precedent.
          Does it mean that licenses are completely worthless to the licensor?
          Pretty much so, yes.
          Are you a lawyer?
          No, but I know my rights.
  • by gameforge ( 965493 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @07:13AM (#15128405) Journal
    From TFA: "The secondhand resale of a license agreement is not the intended purpose of these provisions."

    Apparently, a Microsoft rep said that to the article writer.

    Something tells me that Windows Vista and future versions of Office, etc. will probably restrict their licenses somehow to prevent this. Some company had "net saving in the region of £10,000." That means Microsoft probably lost a lot more than that.

    Too bad they won't sell to individuals; I might actually purchase a Microsoft product if I could just download it from P2P and go buy a cheap license from these guys. Even better, someone should go start collecting unused Windows licenses and giving them away to those who need them, like college students (okay, just kidding).
    • Ahhh but you forget that UK law would prohibit this (the forceable non-resale of a licence agreement). In the UK you can legally resell your copy of Windows, with the licence agreement, even if it is an OEM copy and was intended to be used (as Microsoft says) 'only on new computers'.
      • So MS can't do anything about it? Well, that makes me feel a little warmer inside. :) I live in the US; I wish we could resell OEM licenses... I never thought it would be a problem since I build my own computers, but then I bought a ThinkPad. I kept Windows on it just because it's more power-friendly than Linux is (or was when I bought it) but it still bothers me that I don't have a choice and am stuck with it.
    • by Ironsides ( 739422 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @07:20AM (#15128426) Homepage Journal
      Something tells me that Windows Vista and future versions of Office, etc. will probably restrict their licenses somehow to prevent this. Some company had "net saving in the region of £10,000." That means Microsoft probably lost a lot more than that.

      Microsoft didn't "lose" any money on this sale, neither did they "make" any money. This is similar to me buying the Monopoly(tm) board game at a garage sale. Parker Brothers neither lost nor made any money on the deal.
      • Microsoft didn't "lose" any money on this sale, neither did they "make" any money.

        You're right, Microsoft didn't lose money per se. However, Microsoft did lose a fairly substantial potential business because of this.

        This is similar to me buying the Monopoly(tm) board game at a garage sale. Parker Brothers neither lost nor made any money on the deal.

        Perhaps Parker Brothers should put some kind of license agreement in their board games that prohibits resale of Monopoly. This is of course, the move
      • I see what you're saying... for instance, I have no problem illegally copying music because I wouldn't have bought it to begin with, therefore the record company didn't lose my sales.

        Companies are different; they are taking a huge risk by illegally copying the software they use. As in my quote, one company saved £10,000; had the used license reseller not offered them cheaper licenses, they would have had to buy legit first-hand retail versions, and MS would have made the money.

        In essence, because of
        • ...and I robbed GM when I bought a used car.

          Remember, the licenses aren't copyable the way music/software is, so the doctrine of first sale isn't even a grey area in this case.

          • Software makers (Microsoft) would have you think that you did indeed rob GM when you bought a used car.

            Remember also, cars wear out and die; a used software license installs and works perfectly every time. The CD might wear out, of course, but that's not what you paid for (that's why backing up any piece of media should always be legal... you didn't pay $300.00 for a $0.03 piece of plastic, you bought the numbers recorded on it).

            You could argue that software goes obsolete; but the company that saved all th
            • We agree about what should be done, but your evaluation of Microsoft's accounting is dead wrong. It's only costing them money in bizarro world. They lost a sale, yes, but losing and gaining sales is how capitalism is supposed to work. You know, competition and all that. Windows licenses are a commodity, and the market does not believe they are worth what Microsoft wants to charge.
              • Then how come every time customers don't walk in the door where I work my boss tells me he's losing money?

                I'll agree to look at it your way, that even though companies have always had to purchase their bulk MS software directly from MS or one of its licensed vendors and now, for the first time ever, they don't, they aren't losing any money because of this. I'm sure that's how MS looks at it as well; "it's no bother, we're not losing anything..."

                I wasn't trying to say that this company is stealing money fro
            • Bit rot (Score:2, Interesting)

              by tepples ( 727027 )

              Remember also, cars wear out and die; a used software license installs and works perfectly every time.

              True, but the software itself bit-rots as crackers discover new vulnerabilities in an end-of-lifed operating system.

              I don't believe software makers should have the right to this "forced non-resale" licensing

              If it's banned, publishers of proprietary programs will just phrase their EULAs as 95 year rental agreements.

            • I am in sales. Microsoft lost a potential sale, not an actual sale. You have to leave the possibility that the company would have decided NOT to buy the new MS licenses if they had to pay the extra $10K.

              -A
              • This can't be stated enough.

                Microsoft only "lost" a potential sale, and even then, they lost a potential sale at a much lower price then they probably would have been willing to accept. I don't know what the pricing on used licenses is, but if we assume (just for the sake of argument here) that a used license is £50 and a new one is £200 and 10 licenses were purchased, they should only be able to claim that they 'didn't receive' £500. Because to claim £2000 is to say that the company
        • Your mistake is that he didn't copy the Monopoly board game. He re-sold it, so he no longer has it.
      • I see where the logic is going with this and I agree, somewhat. A reply to this thread gives the example of buying a used Ford.

        I see software as being different. Whereas Ford has the -potential- of making money even from someone who bought a used car (e.g. spare parts, repairs) assuming they go to a Ford dealer, MS provides for free patches to its OS. So no income unless you make many support calls. So if you've paid nothing for it to MS, they still have to pay bandwidth to let you download the updates. Thi
      • Thats not actually correct. When you buy Monopoly, you are enforcing Parker Brothers market dominance, and adding to the original value of their product. If I know that I can sell monopoly for $2 after playing it for 5 years, it is worth $2 more than if I cannot sell it.

        From another perspective, if the person who previously bought a parker brothers product has spare spending money, they will be somewhat more likely to buy another parker brothers product (this last one is influenced highly by the satisfact
    • "Something tells me that Windows Vista and future versions of Office, etc. will probably restrict their licenses somehow to prevent this."

      XP already does it with its activation scheme. Heck, my dad had to call Microsoft to get XP reactivated after he upgraded a couple of components in his computer.

      Okay, that's a bit harsh, maybe it won't PREVENT resale, but it sure makes it more difficult. It'll be a sad day when I'm forced to 'upgrade' from Win2k.
      • It'll be a sad day when I'm forced to 'upgrade' from Win2k

        Aw, it isn't that bad. A couple years ago, I was finally forced to upgrade my primary system from Windows 98SE Lite (that's 98SE with IE totally stripped out), because for some reason, the OS would go into seizures when there was more than one DIMM installed in the motherboard.

        The upgrade was fairly painless. I went to Knoppix, then Mepis, and finally settled on pure Debian Sid. Haven't had any major problems with that system ever since then (othe

    • Some company had "net saving in the region of £10,000." That means Microsoft probably lost a lot more than that.


      Microsoft didn't lose anything. They made their money from the original sale of those licenses which were then resold. That would be like claiming nVidia would be losing whatever the current retail value is of the used GeForce card that I may sell, since I have replaced it with a new one. They made their money off it already.

      • So where were you going to go to buy bulk licenses for MS' software? eBay? This company was already willing to shell out tens of thousands for a bunch of licenses to a five year old release of Office. I'm guessing if these bulk license resellers weren't starting to turn up (this one started in Nov. 2005), they would have had to go to Microsoft. Therefore, MS lost a sale (and thus money). Everyone keeps saying they didn't lose anything... and, again, I'm sure that's how MS looks at it too. They probabl
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 14, 2006 @07:15AM (#15128408)
    This is legal in the US too. And protected under the "Doctrine of First Sale", much as the software companies would like it didn't exist.

    "US copyright case law supports that consumers cannot make copies of computer programs contrary to a license, but may resell what they own."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine [wikipedia.org]

    "Software publishers claim the first-sale doctrine does not apply because software is licensed, not sold, under the terms of an End User License Agreement (EULA)."

    but if it's licensed then one should be allowed to make backups of the disc or receive a replacement disc if the disc gets lost or damaged. Software companies will argue either way where it suits them.

    they can't have the cake and eat it. It's either or
    • The exact same argument applies to the media (**AA) corps too (IMHO, IANAL). If I'm licensed to watch/hear your product, then replacing the physical medium or getting it in a different format should be a very nominal (pennies!) charge since I can show that I've got a license for the product. If I'm buying a copy of the product for my own, then how do they have any right to restrict what I do with my copy for my own use?

      • They own the copyright. That means they have the right, by law, to restrict how you copy the product. This right is limited, both in duration and in effect - there are fairly complicated fair use practices established by legal precedent and by acts of Congress, that govern the circumstances under which you do not need permission to make a copy.

        So in fact they do have a right to dictate certain things you might do with your copy of the software. But one of those rights is not the right to coerce you in
    • but if it's licensed then one should be allowed to make backups of the disc or receive a replacement disc if the disc gets lost or damaged. Software companies will argue either way where it suits them.


      For Microsoft licensing you can get replacements, not for free, the media kits are normally around $10-$20.
    • Let's be careful to dissect the different rights granted to a copyright holder.

      Here is the distribution right:

      Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following: . . . to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. 17 U.S.C. 106(3) [cornell.edu].

      Here is first sale doctrine:

      Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(3), t

  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday April 14, 2006 @07:15AM (#15128412)
    Typically, when you think of used goods, you think of worn out hand-me-downs donated to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. But software licenses are not anything at all like that. In fact, they do not wear out, nor do they have any physical form except for the paper they are printed on. They are purely logical constructs.

    But IP owners would have you think otherwise. They want you to think that licenses are akin to the actual CDs that the media came on. One CD, one installation. However, this is prima facie ludicrous. One CD suffices to create a farm of PC installations, the only thing needed is multiple licenses for each individual installation.

    So don't be fooled into thinking that buying CDs is absolutely necessary. All you need are valid licenses and you have the rights to install as many times using the same CD as you have licenses.
    • But software licenses are not anything at all like that. In fact, they do not wear out

      But they do become obsolete faster than most other products. The Windows98 license I own is pretty worn out in one sense.

      • Oh I wouldn't go that far. My Windows 98 was first, last, and always used for classic wargames here and it isn't worn out at all. I keep one machine configured just for that reason. True, it spends most of its time in an off condition, but the OS is still fulfilling the purpose I bought it for today. [These games will not run under an NT-based OS no matter how you fiddle with the WoW settings.]
    • But IP owners would have you think otherwise. They want you to think that licenses are akin to the actual CDs that the media came on. Well no. Software vendors clearly make the distinction that although you own the physical media (CD), you do not own the software. You are granted a license to use the software, subject to various conditions. If you don't agree to the conditions, go somewhere else! Pretty much every EULA makes that distinction.
      • Perhaps the EULA does but when MS/FAST/BSA/RIAA etc talk in public they rarely make a distinction. In fact they seem to go out of their way to give the impression that the customer has no legal rights at all. The MS Windows EULA says that if you don't agree you can get a refund, but MS says "not from us, talk to who ever sold the computer." Dell etc say the software EULA belongs to MS so don't expect a refund from us. So who and what exactly is the EULA protecting?

        Most EULAs have yet to be tested in co

    • But software licenses are not anything at all like that. In fact, they do not wear out

      Your license to use a particular version of Windows has effectively worn out once Microsoft announces the version's end of life and crackers find an exploitable vulnerability.

  • It's pretty annoying that whois.sc has turned to crap under this pointless rebranding, because I want to check if discount-licensing.co.uk [domaintools.com] is still available.

    If it is, these guys are clearly aiming for international business, because any British person could tell you that businesses operating inside the uk always go for .co.uk domains.

    That being said, there are a few mentions of being in the UK on the first page.

    The best part so far has been seeing how they've dealt with the challenge of materialising somet

    • Possible interpretations of the discount-licensing.com icon:

      - Hash and Sickle (those dirty commies)
      - Sore nipple
      - Scratched magnifying glass
      - Stylized Islamic star and crescent
      - Drunk Asian with hair in a topknot
      - Drunk grandmother with hair in a bun
      - Stylized '/.'
      - C#/.
    • The best part so far has been seeing how they've dealt with the challenge of materialising something as abstract as software licences into a picture for a lgo. What the hell is that thing?

      The favicon looks a bit like Netscape.

      Strange that despite their business name they only claim to resell Microsoft software licenses. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on a copy of VMS.

      I wonder what their Licence Procurement Division does. It that like dumpster diving?

    • The best part so far has been seeing how they've dealt with the challenge of materialising something as abstract as software licences into a picture for a logo. What the hell is that thing?

      My best guess is that it's a tennis racket, implying that they're "bouncing back" licenses to people. But yeah, who knows??

  • So does this apply to volume license editions of Windows? :P
  • Good and Bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2.earthshod@co@uk> on Friday April 14, 2006 @07:21AM (#15128429)
    On one hand this is good because it reaffirms such doctrines as "fair dealing" and "exhaustion of rights", which are statutory rights that cannot legally be abridged by contract. On the other hand it is bad because it perpetuates the myth of dependency on Microsoft {though I suppose I shouldn't complain about that without actually trying to do something positive, like build and try to sell a sexy little all-in-one business server based on i-tal software}.

    Disclic aren't doing anything illegal, nor are they doing anything wrong {an important distinction in the UK, where many things that are not wrong are technically illegal, and many things that are wrong are not illegal}. I'm sure Microsoft would like to have a pop at them; but I don't know of anything that they could actually make stick. And if they do try, it will almost certainly call into question the legal enforcibility of EULAs in the UK.
    • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @09:21AM (#15129037) Homepage Journal
      On one hand this is good because it reaffirms such doctrines as "fair dealing" and "exhaustion of rights", which are statutory rights that cannot legally be abridged by contract.

      Wow, I'm underwhelmed.

      Wake me up when you can sell the crappy CD that comes with your non-naked PC the same way you could sell it's floppy drive, the manuals or any other worthless component. It's funny they want to extend all of the limitations of physical property into the binary world and then binary limits into the physical world.

  • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Friday April 14, 2006 @07:46AM (#15128516)
    ...Now, is there any chance I can legally buy a used driver's license?
    • Now, is there any chance I can legally buy a used driver's license?

      I am pretty sure you can do that where I live (Victoria, Australia) but if a cop asks to see your license and you show them something other than the license the state Government issued to you then you would be in trouble.

    • by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot.kadin@xoxy . n et> on Friday April 14, 2006 @08:12AM (#15128611) Homepage Journal
      Sure, I have a few old expired ones hanging around; I'm not sure how far you'll get, seeing as they have my name and picture on them, and a corner is cut off...but they were given back to me by and employee at the DMV because I asked nicely, so I assume I can do whatever non-fradulent thing I want to do with them now.

      In some states you can also buy old license plates. That doesn't mean it's legal to put them on your car, but you can get them. In fact, I know of at least one state where the DMV sells "novelty" plates direct: they're not legal to actually use as a license plate, but if you wanted to get a historical one for your Model T, they'll sell it to you.

      You can buy and sell all sorts of stuff that would be illegal if used in a certain way.
    • Usually, the driver licenses are given for free to whoever wants them. They are mainly concerned that you buy the hardware. The software that lets you use your shiny new video card isn't where they make thier money.
    • Here, you are violating different laws. (Note, I am not a lawyer, but it makes sense this way.) All a license mean, is that a privilege is to be conferred to you by making an exception to an existing restriction. If the restriction is not there in the first place, there are no exceptions that can be made as you already have the rights.

      Think of a license this way: You are prohibited from driving on the road. A license is given to you, which means you are excempt from the restriction. But you are not prohibit
  • So licenses are an expense, not an asset. I don't understand that if you plan to use a std image on every pc in an organization you must 1st have a volume license for the org, then each pc has to have it's own individual license for the OS, yet you cannot resell the individual license once removed from your organization. Wouldn't the license number be available to the buyer of your used equipment, as it is still afixed to the pc? Why can't you sell them seperate of each other?
  • This is neat and all, but who is going to want to buy a license for something like Microsoft Word when someone has already used up some of the words you can type? I mean, is there an easy way to figure out how many of a particular word is left?
  • Imagine A company like Red Hat PURCHASING Microsoft stock at discount prices! :D
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is what permits and governs the reselling of used books, LPs, CDs, and cassettes. If you bought it, you can sell it. It was established by the US Supreme Court about a hunnert years ago (forgot exact date). In the mid 1800s, books used to have a license agreement prohibiting transfer. I'm a book collector. Software license agreements are nothing new.

    Retail software licenses are treated the same way by the court. Commercial agreements can be almost anything, though, that's why there is so much non

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