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Cheap Software

By sidvail ·
Is discount OEM software legal? You know, the stuff from Russia and eastern europe?

We are getting ready to build about 30 new machines for our company and will need operating systems. My boss, wanting to save money, asked about buying the software from one of those places you get email spam from. Todays email was a company that claims legal OEM versions at a 1/10th of the price of retail.

Personally, I have bought a copy of Quicken through a discount house out of Czechoslovakia - and it worked out fine. It was a real disk with real CD Key. I registered it and have had no problems. I'm still unsure though of it's legallity.

And the place my boss is looking at doesn't even look that good. You have to download it and are provided a CD key through email.

I just feel like this is wrong for some reason. But not quite sure.

Any ideas or advice?

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Cheap Software-Reply

by wzeig In reply to Cheap Software

I have found a website called Soft Portal that advertises boxed products along with keys-fully legal, for instance Windows Xp Pro for $50.00. I have never purchased from them, so can't verify their integrity, but maybe someone else out there has?

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Soft Portal... Uncovered!

by mll1013 In reply to Cheap Software-Reply

I stumbled across the Soft Portal site as well,
and did some digging around. The first (and
most obvious) thing about these guys was that
they were from Signapore, as indicated by the
.sg domain name.

However, while all of their products have
pictures of boxes, they are falsely advertising
their real products. It took me a while to find
the following on their FAQ page:

"You will receive installation CDs only (no
original retail packing). Although OEM
software does not come with a box or a manual,
it is the typical and actual software, no
trial or demo versions."

Best wishes,
Mike

BTW, don't I remember hearing about China
software piracy issues in the headlines recently?
And isn't Singapore just a hop, skip, and a jump
away, with historic roots tied to China? Hmmm...

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Re: Soft Portal Uncovered

by lungfish In reply to Soft Portal... Uncovered!

Just a clarification, Singapore have anti-copyright laws, which is much better than what China have currently. However, as far as I understand of the law right now, if the copyright holder does not go to the courts, the police have no rights of seizure to go after the software pirate, even if they know about the website.

Come 1 Jan 2005, the law will be amended whereby it becomes a criminal offense for willful infringement, regardless whether the copyright owner approaches the judiciary, so that gives the authorities more "teeth".

As it stands now, there is a gray area for intellectual property rights as stated in the Copyright Act, which allows some s/w pirates to operate w/o worrying about being caught, especially if they are not on the radar screen of the big copyright owners (eg. BSA).

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Re: Soft Portal Uncovered

by lungfish In reply to Soft Portal... Uncovered!

Just a clarification, Singapore have anti-copyright laws, which is much better than what China have currently. However, as far as I understand of the law right now, if the copyright holder does not go to the courts, the police have no rights of seizure to go after the software pirate, even if they know about the website.

Come 1 Jan 2005, the law will be amended whereby it becomes a criminal offense for willful infringement, regardless whether the copyright owner approaches the judiciary, so that gives the authorities more "teeth".

As it stands now, there is a gray area for intellectual property rights as stated in the Copyright Act, which allows some s/w pirates to operate w/o worrying about being caught, especially if they are not on the radar screen of the big copyright owners (eg. BSA).

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Cheapo

by holyearth In reply to Cheap Software-Reply

Look on ebay cause I think something's fishy there.

www.casacertified.org

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Something else to consider

by amcol In reply to Cheap Software

Having read all the posts, not to sound critical but I'm a little surprised no one's brought up the issues of ethics and corporate responsibility.

I'm all for saving money but quite frankly I'm wondering what you're even thinking about here. None of us who have purchasing authority on behalf of our organizations have any obligation to enrich vendors but we do have a moral, legal, and ethical responsibility to operate by the rules.

This is not a rant on free trade...my point is that we all have a personal responsibility to operate at the highest standard of ethical behavior, and a corporate fiduciary responsibility to protect our organizations from harmful products. We also have a larger responsibility to the IT community and the entire business community to discourage the proliferation of shady operators by refusing to do business with them.

If a deal sounds too good to be true...it is. I believe you knew when you saw the solicitation that it was almost certainly bogus, or else you wouldn't have posted the question.

Spam is spam, and a scam's a scam. If it smells bad, walk away.

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relkinjb is Absolutely Right

by noo-yawker In reply to Something else to conside ...

Besides the issue of the risk of getting pirated software or never getting it at all, business and personal ethics and corporate and individual responsibility should be a primary consideration. Buying from pirates, or not questioning the legality of the enterprise, is giving them explicit support to continue. Would you buy a stolen bike? If not, then the same principles apply here.

Whether you love or hate Microsoft or any other software vendor, stealing is stealing. Your management would not want anyone stealing their products and this is no different. Plus there's the risk of being caught with unlicensed software and its legal implications.

In addition, there is the risk of running your business on software that may be questionable. You should always be sure of what you're getting and if you've got a doubt in your gut, listen to it.

Good luck.

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. . but you aren't.

by apotheon In reply to relkinjb is Absolutely Ri ...

I agree that rekinjb is correct: none of us should expose clients or employers to the kind of legal repercussions that can arise from using unathorized copies of strictly commercial software. To act in a manner that places clients or employers at risk like that would be highly unethical. I don't believe the original poster would intentionally do such a thing, and that he was asking for some guidance on a particular instance where he wasn't sure whether the offered software was legal. By now, with all the responses, I'm sure he's come to the conclusion that it's better to avoid the software in question because of the probability that it is illegally distributed.

There is a huge difference between legality and ethicality, however, despite the fact that legality should unerringly flow from ethicality (in a "perfect world"). His ethical responsibility is to protect the interests of those who depend on his advice. It is not his ethical responsibility to protect an extortionary business practice. So-called "pirated software" is just data that is distributed without conforming to wholly arbitrary rules of supposed ownership.

While the people who make a business of "pirating" software, particularly when they represent their illegally distributed software as legal copies (essentially committing an act of fraud), are certainly not ethical in their actions, the reasons for that are not what people like Microsoft executives, RIAA and MPAA representatives, and the popular news media would have us believe. They're unethical because they misrepresent the legal status of what they're offering, not because what they're offering is illegal.

In fact, by exerting extortionary, legal controls over the distribution of information, the vendors themselves are often as ethically in the wrong as the illegal distributors who represent their "products" as legal copies. The entire concept of "intellectual property" is essentially an institutionalized scam on a massive scale. It is in many ways a contravention of the right to free speech.

So. Don't assume everyone buys into the same assumptions you do about "illegal" being equivalent to "unethical". While I do not use illegally copied software (it's not worth the risk), and I certainly don't recommend others do so (it would be unethical to expose others to that risk, particularly when there are better options out there and paying for software for indemnification is a better return on investment), I won't condemn anyone for taking one's legal status in one's own hands, using illegal copies of software. It's not up to me to judge that person for that act. It's not up to you, either.

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Original post questioned legality

by AcesKaraoke In reply to Something else to conside ...

The original post queried if discount OEM software was legal to purchase. I didn't get into corporate ethics because the original post didn't ask if they should buy "pirated" software.

If it was legal to buy the discounted OEM version then there would be no question of ethics, and the fact that they are concerned about the legalities of buying discount OEM software doesn't suggest a lack of ethics, just a concern for the bottom line.

Other posts suggested that it might in actuality be pirated software, but that was not what the original post asked about.

I cannot question their ethics or fault them for wanting to get software at the best legal price.

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Is "sidvail" REALLY that stupid?

by johnn In reply to Cheap Software

Or is this just some fiction posing as "journalism"?

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