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Microsoft stance on pirating


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#1
SlayerX

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Hello. I'm not sure if this issue is allowed to be discussed here nor am sure if this is the correct forum, but this is a serious question so please indulge me:

I had a version of Windows XP Professional edition, and it was legit and original and fully above board. There was nothing shady about the disc. Anyway. The computer that it was installed to pretty much stopped working, which lead to me purchasing a laptop. The laptop had XP media edition OEM pre-installed, so I had no use for the orginal XP Professional. Thinking that I could recoup some money out of the XP Pro, I sold it on an online auction site. Only got £4 from it.

Anyway. It turns out that this version of XP Professional was an OEM version, which I wasn't aware of. Nor was I aware that you couldn't resell it. The person who purchased the XP Pro from me complained that it didn't work, or at least his serial number didn't work on this version so he proceeded to list it on ebay. The listing got pulled and he then forwarded the disc onto Microsoft. They then sent him a letter with the statement that the disc was counterfeit and that they will be looking into the activities of the supplier (aka me)

I offered to give the person a full refund.

Am I in trouble here? Has this sort of incident got any precedence? Would they legally prosecute a person whose only crime was ignorance?

I'll be honest here, I'm a little scared.
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#2
dsenette

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well...your "crime" was selling an OEM version of windows without being an OEM retailler..and not following the protocol for selling OEM software (which is to sell the OS with qualifying hardware attached)..the "Mistake" you made was not including the COA with the sale...as that would be required to install the software (not all COA's work with all windows disks...such as OEM installs..you have to have an OEM COA to install an OEM version and you have to have a retail COA to install a retail version and you have to have an upgrade COA to install an upgrade)....microsoft has prossecuted "unscrupulous" sales organizations before for selling OEM products outside of the scope of the OEM license...i can't say for sure what your fate is...but i would imagine that a plea of ignorance would work since you sold a single disk not a multitude of them
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#3
SlayerX

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I know. I did make mistakes and I could kick myself because of them.

You think it would be wise or just another mistake if I wrote to Microsoft and explained myself?
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#4
bobmad

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My $.02 is that you do not contact Microsoft about this, unless you have a case number or some other unique identifying string of characters.

Most likely they will not get your letter to those that are involved in this (if anyone still is involved) and it could cause a second investigation to be started.

I would suggest you write the letter. Proofread it, and keep it handy. DO NOT OFFER INFO to them answer only what they ask.

My guess is this will not be a big deal. DO NOT DO ANYTHING TO MAKE IT A BIGGER DEAL.
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#5
SlayerX

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Thank you very much for your help, bobmad.

I'll definitely do that. And yeah, not triggering the incident by making them aware of its very existence may for the best. I hope so, at any rate.

You know, I'd never thought about going to prison before now. Kinda scary.
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#6
ScHwErV

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You wouldn't get prison for a first offense and 1 disk. Fine maybe, but not prison.
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#7
warriorscot

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From my experience ive never heard of MS ever actually going after something like that especially if it was one disk and an honest mistake its doubtful anyone will actually investigate ebays actions and MS were just protocol, MS only go after the big real piraters usually governments and corporations, they will though sell the guy you sold a heavily discounted copy of XP for his trouble. You made a mistake an honest one that happens pretty often i wouldn't worry about its not a prison able offence anyway especially not in the UK.
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#8
bobmad

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Didn't mean to make you paranoid. These guys are correct in that jail/prison is not the way this would go. Please though do not send letters or make contact. Let them IF they want to.

I can see many ways that you sending a letter and possible follow-up could CAUSE this to be a big deal. Relax some. What you did was wrong but not WRONG or criminal.
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#9
SlayerX

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Thanks guys. it definitely goes a long way to putting my mind at ease. I can't tell you how much stressing I've done in the past few days. Unbelievable.

I think I did something stupid, though. I didn't write to a letter of quilt to Microsoft but I did email them asking what would be the implications if such an incident did transpire. So It wasn't as much an admittance of guilt rather than a hypothetical query. I told them that I was doing research in the whole piracy issue. There's no reason why they should find something fishy in my email, right?

I gave them a fake name, but they will have access to my IP so I guess that renders the name thing as useless. Although I find it hard to believe that they would track me as a result of a seemingly harmless question.

Please tell me I didn't just put myself in it. (btw, I wrote to them before I came here to conduct this thread)

warriorscot: Love the banner in your sig.
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#10
bobmad

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Not an issue.

My concern isn't as much an admission of guilt as it it concern over involving extra people in Microsoft. I could picture you writing a letter to M$ and the person who opens it saying "wow I've got a pirate here who's bragging about it". (no matter what you write they could react poorly). They opening a case, and investigating.

You don't hear back soon enough, write another letter.... new case.
Soon you could be under investigation for 3 or more cases of piracy for the same single CD. Trying to get them to realize that several investigations are all the same may not be easy.

In a large corporation, you cannot trust that the right person will automatically get what you send. Also do not expect common sense from a large corporation, like any bureaucracy they do things their way. Anytime you get a bureaucrat doing something they don't normally do the results CAN BE ....unexpected.

Not saying don't trust bureaucracies or bureaucrats... just saying let them do their jobs. Less stress all around.


And yes, admitting guilt BEFORE you know the PENALTY is not smart. Lying is worse. Silence is very good.
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#11
SlayerX

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Definitely good advice, bobmad. Though I wished that I asked before I got in contact with Microsoft.

I actually sent that particular email to two sections of Microsoft, the typical [email protected] and also [email protected]

I actually received a reply from the [email protected] department, it contained little more than links to FAO. So I think they pretty much brushed my email off as just a random person seeking help. Phew! It's [email protected] I'm worried about. I hadn't heard anything back from them yet. You think they could take it a bit more serious and suspect something?

I know how it looks. It looks very much like I'm doing everything in my power to rouse suspicion, but of course I'm not.

Has anyone had any dealings with "UKPID" in the past? It was that part of the department that sent the letter to the person who purchased the XP from me, so I'm guessing that they are the department of piracy investigations.

You think I'm okay?

Oh. FYI. I think the "remain silent" advice is very good, so good that I'm now taking a vow.
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#12
james_8970

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Take this as a lesson learned and don't repeat the same mistake. You have already recompensated someone else for their losses supporting the fact that your not in this to make money off someone elses work. Microsoft has bigger fish to fry and won't worry about the little guys till they deal with the larger guys. I think you'll be fine, they may send you a warning at the worst. You personally have not made any gain out of this so Microsoft has no reason to prosecute you.
James
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#13
SlayerX

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Thanks, James.

I really hope that you're right. And yeah, "they have bigger fish to fry" has pretty much been my mantra since Wednesday.

I have definitely learned my lesson. There is no way that I want to replicate this situation in the future. Life is all about mistakes, if you don't learn from them then you probably have a bumpy road in front of you.

I want to thank everyone here for your support and for your encouragement. I didn't know what I expected when I first posted my thread because I hadn't browsed around before created my first thread. For all I knew, I could've been greeted by a bunch of people welding torches and pitchforks telling me tales of piracy and the terrors of piracy related stuff. :whistling:
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#14
SlayerX

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Update:

I finally received a reply from the guy who purchased the XP from me and he stated that he didn't mention my name or my details to Microsoft. I think it's time for me to sigh a heavy sigh of relief.

I've now sent the money back to the guy so I've officially not profited from the original transaction.

I think I'm out of the woods. Thank god. :whistling:
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