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WINDOWSL XP PRO LICENSE STICKERS - LEGAL QUESTION.

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by compubyte, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. compubyte

    compubyte Guest

    Okay to make this as short as possible ..

    I have about 100 pc's that I am selling . However I have my techs wiping the
    hard drives on them, and removing the Windows License Stickers on them, so
    that I can decide on wether to sell those seperatly on ebay or where ever..
    because they were never used.. we bought all the pc's and then instantly
    installed 2000 Pro on all of them . never activating the Win XP Pro version
    on them. ( in the future we may start using xp thou) . but anyways. the
    problem is.. One of my techs (Tech 1) said to remove the stickers. and sell
    them on ebay. because they were never used and still good, my other tech
    (Tech 2) said No.. that they should stay with the computers. because they
    can get more money for the systems. Yet tech1 said whoever gets the pc's may
    not install xp, may do what we did with 2000 pro, or put 98 on it etc. and
    if they install xp . would have there own xp cd and licenses and woudn't
    need ours.. Tech2 then said. We can't sell the stickers. even thou I PAID
    FOR THEM and didn't use them. he's telling me they must stay with the pc's
    or be thrown out?? .. I asked Tech1 to call Microsoft to find out what the
    deal was, being that the stickers were never used / activated .. and he said
    that MS would say "NO" automatically cuz they would make more money..

    SO my question is.. which one is right?? They are BOTH very intellegent
    techs and I respect both of there opinions. but.. I do not want to "play
    favorites" or side with one or the other.. BUT I want to do the right
    thing.. Which I'm torn on, simply because I paid for these and was under the
    impression from Tech1 since day 1. that I was wasting money purchasing these
    systems with stickers, but when I contacted Compaq. they said it would cost
    MORE to have the systems WITHOUT the OS on them .. so I continued to
    purchase them with it..

    thanks for your help to settle this dispute..
     
    compubyte, Feb 3, 2006
    #1
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  2. I'm not a lawyer, but if you simply read the license for MS OEM
    software, it says it is valid ONLY for the computer that it's
    installed on. Basically, even the owner of the computer is not allowed
    to change OEM software to another computer. So I'd say your tech no. 2
    is correct.
    Charlie Hoffpauir
    http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~charlieh/
     
    Charlie Hoffpauir, Feb 3, 2006
    #2
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  3. compubyte

    DCA Guest


    This is not recognised in EU law. MS have not prosecuted anyone in the
    EU because of this. You may not get any support from MS but there is
    nothing legally that prevents you from using the licences.
    There have been many previous debates about this which you should google
    You havent stated what country you are in but this should be enough to
    answer your question as - you will not get a definitive answer
     
    DCA, Feb 4, 2006
    #3
  4. compubyte

    Paul Rubin Guest

    I have a vague memory that there was a US court decision that it's not
    enforceable in the US either. The OP's best bet may be to ask on a
    legal forum, or ask his own lawyer.
     
    Paul Rubin, Feb 4, 2006
    #4
  5. Your license says you can't separate the XP sticker license from the
    computer it was sold with. Yes, even if it was never installed.

    Depending on the vendor, those license stickers were probably
    invalidated a year or so back when M$ realized that people were using
    OEM keys and selling license stickers.

    So you aren't allowed to sell the stickers separately, and they may
    not work even if you do.
     
    William P.N. Smith, Feb 4, 2006
    #5
  6. compubyte

    Paul Rubin Guest

    My impression is the EULA doesn't apply if the user hasn't agreed to
    it. See: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Softman_v._Adobe>.

    My laptop has one of those stickers and I can't imagine any reason why
    I shouldn't be allowed to remove or sell the sticker. I never agreed
    to the license so I don't see how any of its terms can be binding on
    me. The first thing I did when I bought the computer was wiped the
    hard disk and installed a GNU/Linux distro. What's next, "Do not
    remove this tag under penalty of law" (seen on old mattresses) is
    enforceable against the consumer?

    Whether selling the physical sticker legally transfers the XP license
    to the sticker's new owner is of course a more complex question than
    whether the sticker itself can be sold. I don't know the answer to
    that one, and whatever the Microsoft license might say about it is
    merely Microsoft's opinion. On the other hand, the fact pattern isn't
    exactly the same as in _SoftMan_. The correct answer can only be
    decided by a court.
     
    Paul Rubin, Feb 4, 2006
    #6
  7. compubyte

    compubyte Guest

    THANKS FOR ALL of your answers.
    I see I'm stuck back where I was. I suspect BOTH techs are right? and yet
    both can be wrong? .

    Well IF it helps.. I realize the license agreement says this and that.. BUT
    I did not insall the software. the license says to UNINSTALL if I do not
    wish to abide by the rules of it..

    Also.. the license are GOOD . I know because over the past 2 or 3 years we
    have used about 7 or so of them with an XP CD to install on some systems we
    needed XP on . the Stickers were already on so. was never an issue to me I
    guess?..

    SO I guess my question is. IF I PUT these things up for Sale on EBAY.. will
    the MS cops come knocking? and will it cost me more in LEGAL LAWYER Crap to
    fight it? or best just to throw them all out? .. which I"m starting to think
    even thou I FEEL I"M RIGHT.. I should just chuck all these licenses.. just
    because if I need to fight it, will cost more than I get for the licenses??
    WHICH BTW what would / should they go for. should I check with a lawyer on
    it and decide to go that way? Any ideas on what they should go for??

    Thanks
     
    compubyte, Feb 4, 2006
    #7
  8. READ YOUR LICENSE - and find out.

    Peter
     
    Peter T. Breuer, Feb 4, 2006
    #8
  9. Apparently there are vendors selling XP Pro from situations similar to
    yours.... except they sell the license and the CD as an OEM package
    (see this site, for example:
    http://www.directdeals.com/category-windows-xp-professional-sp-1.aspx)
    It looks like they expect to get $138 for that package, so I'd think
    something less than that for just the license. Of course, that still
    leaves the most difficult part of the problem, finding a buyer who's
    willing to trust you that this is a valid license. AND you'd need to
    advertise fairly low profile, else MS takes an interest.

    My son-in law was "given" an XP Pro license by his company....
    probably because of a situation similar to yours..... you might
    consider doing the same for your employees.
    Charlie Hoffpauir
    http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~charlieh/
     
    Charlie Hoffpauir, Feb 5, 2006
    #9
  10. compubyte

    Joseph Fenn Guest

    I noted in Office Max yesterday they sell original xp disks.
    They have both the "update" and/or the nonupdate versions, but
    wow the price is way up there for the xp/pro. BTW does either
    of you guys know what is the difference between "WIPE" and
    "WIPE MEDIA"???????? I bought both, but used the "WIIPE" to clean
    the c: drive and my god it not only cleaned it but did't even leave
    the c: prompt for the HD. I wonder if WIPE media instad of WIiPE
    would just clean all the files and partitions of the disk, or just
    clean the file out and leave the preset partitions in tact??
    Jose


    **********************************************************
    * Ham KH6JF AARS/MARS ABM6JF QCWA WW2 VET WD RADIO SYSTEM*
    * Army MARS PRECEDED by AARS (Army Amateur Radio System) *
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    **********************************************************
     
    Joseph Fenn, Feb 5, 2006
    #10
  11. Legally, you can't sell the sticker separately and should not remove
    them from the computers.

    Microsoft has different "types" of Windows licenses. All of the
    licenses that have stickers attached to the machine are "OEM" licenses,
    although within that category, there are two subcategories (one for
    large OEMs like Dell, HP, Compaq etc., and one for small OEMs, such as
    local shop "system builders").

    An OEM copy of windows is married to the comptuer it was first installed
    on FOR LIFE. LEGALLY, it can never be moved to a different computer, no
    matter what.

    There are two questions which this raises that I don't know the answer to:

    First, does Microsoft's "product activation" actually enforce this?
    That is not clear. For non-OEM (e.g. "retail" copies of Windows), the
    product activation server resets after 120 days, and also if you have a
    problem, the human product activation specialists will give you a new
    key if you tell them it was wiped from an old system and is being moved
    to a new computer. The human specialists absolutely will not do this
    for an OEM copy, although there are some other explanations that may get
    you a new product key. It's not clear if the 120 day reset is applied
    to PA on OEM copies by the PA servers or not. Also note that since last
    February (2005), ALL re-activations of "large-OEM" (e.g. Compaq, Dell,
    etc.) copies MUST be done in person with a live product activation
    support specialist. OEM copies no longer activate online automatically.

    Second, Microsoft has never been able to define what constitutes "the
    computer" that the serial number is tied to.

    In any case, legally, you can't sell the sticker separately and, in
    fact, Microsoft's legal firms have specifically been targeting and going
    after unauthorized sales of COA's. I can practically guarantee you that
    if you put COA's on E-Bay, you will be inviting a HUGE problem to come
    and visit you.

    Tech2 is generally right that you can't sell the stickers. I see one
    possible glimmer here, which is that if you truly never used the OS at
    all, and if it never contacted the MS PA server, then one could argue
    [possibly] that the "marriage" of the OS to the Hardware never actually
    occured. However, the license for OEM copies of Windows (which is very
    different in some regards from the license for "retail" copies) involves
    THREE parties, Microsoft, the system builder (Dell or whoever) and the
    end user. The bottom line is that even if the end user never used the
    software, not even once, I think that there are terms in EULA that still
    make it illegal to transfer the COA to any other system.

    [Another consideration here is that I think that the stickers are made
    in such a way that any attempt to remove them mechanically void them
    anyway.]

    Tech2 is, if not exactly right in all regards, much closer to being
    correct on the legalities than tech1.
     
    Barry Watzman, Feb 5, 2006
    #11
  12. Re: "SO I guess my question is. IF I PUT these things up for Sale on
    EBAY.. will the MS cops come knocking?"

    Yes. MS literally has a staff that "patrols" E-Bay.

    Re: "or best just to throw them all out?"

    No, it's best just to leave them on the machines in the first place.
    You MAY get more for the used machines by doing so.
     
    Barry Watzman, Feb 5, 2006
    #12
  13. Re: "there are vendors selling XP Pro from situations similar to
    yours.... except they sell the license and the CD as an OEM package
    (see this site, for example:

    http://www.directdeals.com/category-windows-xp-professional-sp-1.aspx)"

    That's different, and it's at least possibly legal. Those are new,
    unopened "small OEM" copies of Windows, and they can be legally sold (on
    E-Bay or elsewhere) if it's done properly, in accordance with
    Microsoft's license agreements (not the EULA, but a reseller license
    agreement) covering this practice. That said, it cannot automatically
    be assumed that all copies offered for sale are being sold in accordance
    with those licenses, or even that they are genuine and not counterfeit
    at all. At some level, you have to exercise caution anytime you buy
    copies of Windows from other than known, trusted sources.
     
    Barry Watzman, Feb 5, 2006
    #13
  14. The copies sold in retail stores are "retail" copies, which are legally
    different from "OEM" copies in a number of important regards. They have
    a more "friendly" EULA, and they are quite a bit more expensive.

    Joe, I assume that these programs are designed to basically DESTROY the
    data on a hard drive, operating system and all, as when you want to get
    rid of a computer (sell it, donate it or simply trash it) and want to be
    absolutely sure that there is no personal data left on the hard drive.
     
    Barry Watzman, Feb 5, 2006
    #14
  15. They are also legally married to the systems they are (literally)
    stuck to. Since you can sell those systems for ~$100 more than you
    can if they don't have licenses, why not just keep them together?
     
    William P.N. Smith, Feb 5, 2006
    #15
  16. compubyte

    J. Clarke Guest

    The bottom line on this is that computer techs and random persons met on
    USENET are not a substitute for a real lawyer.

    The _safe_ thing to do is leave the stickers in place or remove them and
    destroy them. If you are going to do _anything_ else then talk to a lawyer
    first.

    The MS cops may or may not come knocking, but if they do it will likely be
    _very_ bad, and after them the _real_ cops may also get in a few licks.

    Your feeling that you're right is dangerous when dealing with the law, the
    law is about the law, not about morality.

    By the way, are you the CEO? If not then you should be talking this kind of
    risk taking over with those whose job it is to decide what kinds of risks
    the company will take.
     
    J. Clarke, Feb 6, 2006
    #16
  17. compubyte

    J. Clarke Guest

    I found a statement on the Microsoft site that they consider it to be the
    combination of case and motherboard, however they allow motherboard
    replacement for repair purposes. Whether that definition has any legal
    force or not I have no idea.
    Even if this is a valid theory of law, I don't think it has been tested in
    the courtroom, and the costs of testing it even if one wins are going to be
    more than one is likely to make off the sale of 100 OEM stickers.
    FWIW, I've got a laptop with an OEM XP Home sticker on the bottom that seems
    to be doing its best to come off, but it looks like it's going to leave a
    layer of something when it does.
     
    J. Clarke, Feb 6, 2006
    #17
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