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Donating Software? 42

nuxx asks: "I have a copy of Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition here, with 25 Client Access Licenses which I don't need. I don't want to throw it away, but because it's a Not For Resale copy, I can't list it on eBay. So, I'd like to give it to a charity. It's a completely new, unused, legal copy which was handed to me by a Microsoft rep a few weeks ago, so this should be legal to do. The problem is, I'm not really sure how to donate software to a charity. Does anyone have any experience with this? Do you know of any resources available regarding how to send such donations and which organizations find them useful?"
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Donating Software?

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  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @07:07AM (#16499177) Homepage Journal
    Two things:
    1. Have you checked with your Mirosoft rep to make sure you can do this?
    2. If "yes", then google it, I know there are web sites where non-profit orgs can post their needs.

    This being said, I can't remember the web sites addresses right now. Google is your friend.
  • give them to me, I won't tell anyone.. promise!!

    Anyway, I don't have an idea how to donate a licensed software. Is the software licensed to you? your company? What kind of licensing is it? If there would be any transfer, just be sure you got the supporting documents you need or any sort of written agreement. Wouldn't it be wise to inquire Microsoft with regards to this issue? my $0.02.
    • Is the software licensed to you? your company? What kind of licensing is it?

      Well, the OP said that the software was unused, so I would assume it isn't licensed to anybody yet. I ANAL, but there are precedents in at least some US District Courts indicating that selling this unused software actually may be legal [].

      Oh, but if you get sued anyway, don't come crying to me.

      • ...what's important is that MS can afford better lawyers than you can.
        My favourite IT surplus seller was put out of business after MS threatened them with a long, drawn-out legal battle over the legality of reselling OEM software.
  • techsoup (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mabonus ( 185893 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @07:17AM (#16499239)
    I work at a non-profit, but not the do-goody tipe. Whenever someone asks where they can get donated software I usually hear a reference to [] - so I'd check there first.
    • Agreed (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RingDev ( 879105 )
      I've worked with a few Not For Proffit organizations in the past, and we've always gone through TechSoup for our needs. Great organization.

      • Tech soup has limits (Score:4, Informative)

        by JoeCommodore ( 567479 ) <> on Thursday October 19, 2006 @09:38AM (#16500521) Homepage
        The parent is right Techsoup is a great place to start, and as the other poster said the prices are pretty low so many may just prefer to buy from them.

        But not every non-profit can benefit from the offerings at techsoup (depends on the 'donator' and thier restrictions) For microsoft the restrictions listed are:

        "Microsoft products are not available for distribution to educational institutions (including K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and trade schools), political organizations, religious organizations (except for those with a secular community designation), healthcare networks and healthcare research organizations, or private foundations. Please consult our complete list of ineligible organizations for more information."

        Schools have thier own discounted licensing plan (might be higher $$ though), so if I wanted to help the unhelped I'd probably help my local church, foundation or healthcare research organization.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Techsoup Stock is the registered MS partner for their software donations. This means you can buy _any_ MS product for substainially reduced rates if you are a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Windows XP upgrades are $8 - Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition 64-bit is $160.
      This is a fantastic resource for nonprofits and nonprofit IT managers (like me). They also offer software from Adobe, Symantec & Cisco equipment, amongst others. Excellent resource.
      The answer to your question might be that it is actually cheape
  • NGO in need (Score:4, Informative)

    by j35ter ( 895427 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @07:21AM (#16499263) []
    They might need it, since their "server" runs XPpro and they get a bunch of volunteers to work there.
    As for the legal stuff, you dont need to transfer this license, since the installation can be performed "in your name", hence you are still the owner of this product, but you grant the organisation an exclusive right to use this software (you dont sell or give away, you just let them use it instead of you)
  • by KokorHekkus ( 986906 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @07:23AM (#16499281)
    ...then it probably is. I'm guessing the Not For Resale editions are only for developers and/or demos. For example the Windows XP EULA says:
    10. NOT FOR RESALE SOFTWARE. Software identified as "Not For Resale" or "NFR," may not be sold or otherwise transferred for value, or used for any purpose other than demonstration, test or evaluation.
    So NFR is Microsoft-legalspeak for "trial version" and I'd be very surprised if it meant something else in different software packages. br>
    Source: a.mspx []
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Raynor ( 925006 )
      It says 'transferred for value' so I think taking a tax cut for the donation is right out :)

      But hey, i've been evalutating WinZip for a little while now... ... and it works pretty well. I think it needs more testing.

      IMHO donating to charity shouldn't be a problem, but I agree: Check with the rep.
    • by badfish99 ( 826052 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @08:04AM (#16499541)
      If you've never opened the package then it would be hard to argue that you have consented to the EULA. Did the MS rep get you (or your employer) to enter into any other contract before he handed it to you?
    • by phorest ( 877315 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @08:13AM (#16499611) Journal

      My (multiple) copies of 2003 Enterprise Server (NFR) specifically states in the EULA that "The use of this software does not preclude you from using it in a production environment." The big word there seems to be "preclude"

      There is even a little fly-sheet included in the book that further states (in effect) -You are very lucky to be the benefactor of Microsofts generous gift-

      NFR software is a bit more than trialware and has all the functionality of the retail box version. I have personally bought multiple copies from online vendors, and use them daily in a production environment. Apparently someone is allowed to sell them, as I said before that I did buy them from a reputable Microsoft online reseller (Platinum level I believe).

      I have even been able to reinstall it on completely new hardware more than once with a simple phonecall upon activation. I first became aware of NFR copies when I won one at a TechNet event several years ago.

    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      How could the EULA, or any text therein, possibly be relevant in a situation like this? All he did was stand there while some drug dea-- oops, I mean -- some salesman handed it to him. Unless he signed something, what reason is there to suspect he's under any sort of contract? He owns it, and he can hand it off to someone else just like anything else he owns.

      Of course, there's the whole question regarding how "charitable" it is to give network-effect-addictive malware to some non-profit org...

    • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) *
      Yah, except,.... I am not aware of any legal right they have to make those restrictions.

      copyright gives them the right to say who may and may not make copies. I have yet to see any law (and please, correct me if I am wrong) that gives them the authority to say what you can do, other than distributing copies, with the software. Its also well established that distribution of a legal copy of a copyrighted work is legal. That is, no book publisher can actually stop me from turning around and giving away or sell
      • Yah, except,.... I am not aware of any legal right they have to make those restrictions.

        It's called the "Right of the biggest wallet": he who holds the gun to your head makes the rules.

        Thinking in the term of legal rights is all fine and good, but don't confuse the hypothetical world where right rules to this one where might does. Doing so will simply put yourself beneath the 500-pound gorilla when it sits down.

        The basic problem is that Microsoft can simply drag any court case on until you go banckr

  • Here's the problem (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    You're not allowed to donate the software according to Microsoft. Even if you could transfer it to a charity, in two years they would need to renew it at great cost which they probably can't afford. My suggestion is to give it to a school that can use it to teach students for a couple years then wipe it. Microsoft shouldn't have a problem with that and probably won't sue you or the school and probably won't raid you with the BSA and FBI in tow (though you never know).
  • by bigpresh ( 207682 ) <> on Thursday October 19, 2006 @08:24AM (#16499687) Homepage

    because it's a Not For Resale copy, I can't list it on eBay.

    So, list a CD case for sale on eBay, which comes with a *free gift* of a copy of Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition then :)
    • If you're looking for a charity I can't help you. But I used to go to this school where we were able to setup a cyber cafe and start running it. they are paying for licenses every year. if you want i can give you their info and you can donate it to them. the school doesn't really give the team there a lot of money, so they are always looking for help as far as software or money goes.
  • My 501(c)(3) is a member of Techsoup Stock [], a sort of clearinghouse for corporate nonprofit programs. Through the Microsoft Software Donation Program an XP-Pro upgrade from an existing licensed copy of Windows is US$8.00 through Techsoup Stock.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by laptop006 ( 37721 )
      Which would cost the charity I'm involved with almost $2k a year, that's well over a month worth of rent and simply an expense that we don't need to pay by using linux.
  • hmmm... a possible attempt to hook a non-profit on MS crack?

    Another way might be to give it to a gadget/software blog site and they can start a contest for it. This way, somebody who wants/needs it will get it and everyone can enjoy some interesting entries for the competition
  • If you didn't make any promises to the rep and have not yet installed it and agreed to the EULA you can give it away or sell it as you see fit. If you did agree not to transfer it and you did so anyway you would be in breach of contract but Microsoft would have no legal claim against whoever you transferred it to as they are not party to any contract with Microsoft.
  • That takes in said items we use them to refurbish computers which we in turn hand off to other charities around the world. will gladly take OS as well as hardware. Mike Yust Donation Coordinator
  • Is it... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LordVader717 ( 888547 ) on Thursday October 19, 2006 @05:26PM (#16508627)
    Are you really prohibited from reselling it? Might be like that in the US, but in Germany, I believe it was ruled that they can't stop you from reselling software, no matter what they print on the package. So, stores have lines of "not to be sold seperately" Windows copies and the like, which fetch almost the same price as the ones with a prettier box.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:31AM (#16513779) Homepage Journal
    Often, those 'freebees' you get from your rep may NOT be redistributed in any form, even for free.. ( regardless of the fact you didnt use it )

    However, somtimes they are.. It all just depends. You need to call your rep and see what you got in you hands there. A gift, or a door stop.

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson