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On local BBC radio this morning a consumer programme dealt with an interesting complaint.Briefly a woman bought Norton anti-virus from a local dealer and found her computer did not have enough memory to run it.On returning it for a refund, she mentioned to the shop that they had sold her an O.E.M version, and her friend had told her this was illegal to sell on its own.The shop owner pointed out that e-buyer and many other retailers happily sell O.E.M direct to the customer seperate from a computer system.
The radio programme contacted Symantec who issued a statement saying that it did not allow O.E.M. versions of its software to be sold direct to the public, and that it must be part of a computer system.
It would appear that many advertisers selling O.E.M. software in magazines and on the web are doing so illegally.
Symantec are quite correct in their statement, and I think that it is a well known fact. But traders got round this by selling something like a usb cable or similar small item, after it all it is a 'part of a computer system'.Not breaking the rules, just slightly bending them a little, in favour of the consumer.
Is OEM kit or software only supposed to be used the first computer it is added to?
Good one we are off and running on this subject, minefield springs to mind !!!
Billy, No. If you obtain an OEM version of Windows with a new computer, then it can only be used with that computer. If you get one with say a hard drive, and you move that hard drive to another machine, then you MUST also move that copy of Windows to the other machine. As regards small hardware items, I have seen confirmation from Microsft that a mouse would qualify as a suitable item of hardware to be suppled with an OEM copy of Windows. But when the mouse goes belly up, as they do, Then what?
But there is also the point that OEM versions of Windows, Office etc can only be legally sold by a certified Microsft systems builder. That lets ebay out for a start.
As regards Norton I have recently bought three Dell PC's. They all came with Norton AV OEM. It only lasts for three months. It was also a nuisance because I didn't want it.
Misuse of OEM software is now completely out of hand, usually because purchasers are unaware of the rules, and everyone likes a good deal. Hopefully one day not too far off both Microsift and FAST will come down like a ton of bricks on these vendors, who are really duping people into buying illegal software.
Meant also to mention this last night, not really OEM, but a good example of just how much of a nightmare licencing can be.
The scenario: You have a laptop supplied by your company, which you also take home and use there for company purposes. You then wish to print the work you have done on your home printer. Normally it is just a matter of installing the driver and away you go. According to FAST you cannot do this. Not without a separate licence from the printer vendor anyway. Apparantly the printer is your own personal property, and is licenced to you only. If it does not appear on your firm's asset list you cannot use it for business use. The only way around this that I can see is for your employer to buy you a printer for home use, which then has to clutter up your desk, and will be used possibly only seldom. Unless it's an identical model. Just leave it in the box. Personally I think this is a bit over the top, but I can appreciate where they are coming from.
eBay are not breaking any rules. eBay only provide the means for vendors to advertise and find buyers, they do not themselves sell anything. Only the vendors are breaking the rules by using eBay to sell illegal software, and in so doing also breaking eBay rules. eBay do work with Microsoft and others to try to stop illegal software selling.
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I am aware of the situation regarding ebay, but even if one gets through their "net" they are responsible, simply by providing the means. I know it is extremely difficult, but my view is that if there is any risk, do not allow that type of product to be sold.
Just had a look on EBuyer. Another one selling illegal OEM versions of Windows. No mention of the terms under which it may be used, or any qualify item of hardware being included. Quite simply they are not allowed to sell OEM versions of Windows. But it seems no-one cares, even Microsoft.
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