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What legally constitutes a license?

By Choppit ·
Having inherited a disorganised IT dept, I need to collate existing software licenses. Can anyone explain to me (and provide documentary evidence) of what actually constitutes a valid licence. Software which I believe we are entitled to use consistsof W95/98/2000/NT4 Srv under retail, OEM and MOLP agreements. In the case of retail and OEM is possession of the EULA evidence enough or is proof of purchase required as well. From a technical standpoint it appears to me that licencing rules (and particularly MS) are deliberately "grey". Having approached FAST and our MOLP reseller for advice it appears that there is no concensus as to what is actually the case.

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What legally constitutes a license?

by maxwell edison In reply to What legally constitutes ...

I've heard from a variety of sources - none confirmed by the BSA, however - that if you have two out of the three of the following: The original packaging, the original license, or the original media, that it will be counted as a legitimate license.

However - and this is a big however - The BSA (Business Software Alliance) has a paper on their Web site that addresses that issue as follows:

"ONLY the ORIGINAL license gives you the right to use the software and spells out the terms. Having an original CD or floppy disk for the software doesn't necessarily mean you have authorized copies."

Link to article: http://tinyurl.com/42ov

Personally speaking - especially in light of the BSA's statement - I count the original paper license AND the original media as a valid license.

(I will admit, however, that I also save the original packaging, cutting up the boxes so they fit nicely into a file, and the purchase reciept. I want ALL my bases covered.)

Here are some other links that may prove helpful to you.

http://tinyurl.com/42p3

http://tinyurl.com/42p5

http://tinyurl.com/42p6

Best of luck with your new position/challenge,

Maxwell

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What legally constitutes a license?

by Choppit In reply to What legally constitutes ...

Thanks for your input - It seems clear to me that the situation is unclear and I guess I have to take my chances with the evidence that I have available. I will however be keeping everything in future.

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What legally constitutes a license?

by memyslfni1969 In reply to What legally constitutes ...

Look for the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) label on your PC chassis included in software purchased seperately or for Microsoft Windows operating systems preinstalled with PCs sold before June 2000 came with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) integrated into the front of the user manual.

or visit

http://www.howtotell.com/ww/what.asp
or
http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/samguide/03quiz/default.asp

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What legally constitutes a license?

by memyslfni1969 In reply to What legally constitutes ...

also try http://download.microsoft.com/download/msia/install/2.1/win98mexp/en-us/msiasetup.exe

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What legally constitutes a license?

by Choppit In reply to What legally constitutes ...

Thanks for your input - It seems clear to me that the situation is unclear and I guess I have to take my chances with the evidence that I have available. I will however be keeping everything in future.

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What legally constitutes a license?

by Choppit In reply to What legally constitutes ...

Memyselfni has provided me with information that clarifies the MS situation a little but also opens up more questions.

1) If the EULA is online (i.e. not hardcopy) how does this constitute a license? It appears to me that an online EULA only can only make the user aware of the Ts & Cs of software use as it will also be distributed with an illegitimate copy.

2) How can a purchase invoice be tied to the license if the invoice does not refer to the software S/N?

3) Presumably the invoice must be addressed to the person using the software and be issued by a party authorised to sell the software in the first place?

4) I could be wrong with this one, but am I correct in thinking that some EULAs do not specifically mention the software with which they were originally packaged?

5) If the COA proves authenticity of the packaging then what proves authenticity of the EULA?

Apologies if this sounds a little pedantic but I have stacks of what I believe to be authentic media, stacks of COAs with CD keys, some hard copy EULA and a small number of invoices.

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What legally constitutes a license?

by jereg In reply to What legally constitutes ...

A few years back I went round and round with the issue. All companies have a different view of their EULA. I spoke with our corporate lawyers and some folks with different software companies. While this won't clear things up, there are things to consider.

If you have 50 EULA agreements offsite and your building burns down, no software company will provide you with new software. The EULA usually states that they own the software and you're just using it. So even though you show valid EULA numbers, and the company says they will provide media, chances are they won't, not without a fight.

If you have 50 PC's with no license numbers, but you can show paid invoices for the software, chances are you would win a court case.

We always went that standard. When I buy a Dell, it comes with a S/N on the invoice, and shows the included software. That's valid anywhere. You have to think in terms of a suit or civil action, and what passes a reasonable test of ownership.

Now if you are buying those "grey" copies, you may need all the proof you can get.

And yes, everyone you speak with will give you a different opinion.

Hope that helps.

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What legally constitutes a license?

by Choppit In reply to What legally constitutes ...

Thanks for your input - It seems clear to me that the situation is unclear and I guess I have to take my chances with the evidence that I have available. I will however be keeping everything in future.

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What legally constitutes a license?

by Choppit In reply to What legally constitutes ...

This question was closed by the author

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