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Is it legal to sell OEM Copies of Windows?

Posted on 2011-03-12
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
I have had luck creating my own custom XP disk by including my favorite free programs such as avg, open office, common driver packs etc.

I was wondering, is it ILLEGAL to sell this disk I made to people who want to reload their computer. Serial number from their PC would be required to activate.

What are the legal troubles I would face?
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Question by:stevef22
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Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 35119717
Yes, that is illegal.  Among other other things, you do not get re-imaging rights with OEM licenses so unless you are a registered system builder with the appropriate arrangement with Microsoft, you cannot resell the media.

DISCLAIMER: Licensing advice offered here is a "best effort" and based on the understanding of the respondents. Licenses can change and we may not be aware of these changes or may misunderstand them. Further, licenses can differ by country and/or region and what we understand to be true in our region could be false in your region. "they told me on Experts-Exchange" will not be a valid defense in a software audit.  All licensing questions should be confirmed with the appropriate licensing authority (the maker of the software/issuer of the license).  
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 35119719
To be clear, re-imaging means to take an installation, customize it, sysprep it, and create a new image to deploy with.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 35119738
By the way, to be extra clear - you're not even allowed to do it for yourself unless you have a volume license or purchased Software Assurance (only available for business class systems)
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by:John Griffith
ID: 35119774
Illegal.

Windows OEM versions die with the system it was first installed on.

AVG EULA - http://www.avg.com/us-en/283723
 
"ANY USE OF THE SOFTWARE OTHER THAN AS EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED BY THIS SECTION 2, OR ANY RESALE OR FURTHER DISTRIBUTION OF THE SOFTWARE, CONSTITUTES A MATERIAL BREACH OF THIS AGREEMENT AND MAY VIOLATE APPLICABLE COPYRIGHT LAWS."

Other included software probably have similar terms re: distribution, sale.


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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 35120928
I like leew's disclaimer.

I've put together some sources on OEM licensing here:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/A_3721.html

But the main points are already summarised above.

Despite this there are CDs similar to what you are describing already available for free download on the Internet, with some the only part that is being illegally distributed is the code from the Microsoft Operating System, the applications are either open source or licensed as free to distribute if unmodified.  There are also completely legal versions with alternate operating systems - usually based on Linux.

There is a second problem which is you're asking for payment for utilities which, as a licensing condition of their redistribution, cannot be charged for.  This is sometimes confusing as they will appear on CD/DVD's distributed with paid for computing magazines - the disks are however available at no charge to fufil these condidtions.  So you may not just have a problem with redistributing Microsoft OEM software in breach of license but in charging for apps that the publishers want distributed free you may be breaking their license terms as well.
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