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Licensing issues, we may have pirated software RRS feed

  • Question

  • We are a very small business (8 computers total) and hired a third party IT firm to handle all of our computer stuff. After several months, we became unhappy with them and canceled our service plan. Shortly afterwards, we started having problems, so we found someone a new IT company. This new company came in and found that we did not have licenses for anything. Apparently, the last IT group sold us 8 new computers, but only 1 OE windows license and just installed that on all of them (we had no idea).

    We have gone back to the original IT group and requested licensing, but they have refused, saying that they only sold us one (even though windows 7 professional came installed on each computer). We just naturally assumed that they would be above board with everything, and that it would of course come with windows. The new IT company is telling us that it doesnt matter... if they installed it, it has to be licensed and that they have to provide us a license. I tend to believe the new company, but really dont know about any of this. Who is right? 

    Thursday, February 20, 2014 8:54 PM

Answers

  • Personally I would first review the contract to see what exactly was sold.  Secondly, even if they only sold you one copy of the OS as per the contract, the fact is that they installed illegal software onto computers they sold to you.  That alone should be enough for you to have something over them.  I would look into a lawyer contacting them and be sure to have them use the words "software piracy", "illegal" and "report to Microsoft" liberally.

    Also, this experience should drive home the importance of reviewing carefully the installs on any PC sold to you.

      

    And finally I need to mention most important thing: Legal advice sought on the internet can be fraught with misinformation, (intentionally given or not).  Your legal mileage may vary.  I am not a lawyer nor a licensing expert, nor do I play one on TV.  All or part of what I have said here could be wildly inaccurate and it is solely my own personal opinion.  Heed it at your own leisure and risk.

    Good luck and I hope your next IT company is more reputable.


    Please do not read this sentence. Please ignore the previous sentence.



    Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:31 PM

All replies

  • Personally I would first review the contract to see what exactly was sold.  Secondly, even if they only sold you one copy of the OS as per the contract, the fact is that they installed illegal software onto computers they sold to you.  That alone should be enough for you to have something over them.  I would look into a lawyer contacting them and be sure to have them use the words "software piracy", "illegal" and "report to Microsoft" liberally.

    Also, this experience should drive home the importance of reviewing carefully the installs on any PC sold to you.

      

    And finally I need to mention most important thing: Legal advice sought on the internet can be fraught with misinformation, (intentionally given or not).  Your legal mileage may vary.  I am not a lawyer nor a licensing expert, nor do I play one on TV.  All or part of what I have said here could be wildly inaccurate and it is solely my own personal opinion.  Heed it at your own leisure and risk.

    Good luck and I hope your next IT company is more reputable.


    Please do not read this sentence. Please ignore the previous sentence.



    Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:31 PM
  • A few questions, if I may, in order to try and find out the true situation with regard to the computers you acquired through the original supplier.

    1) Are these computer from a large manufacturer (HP/Compaq/Dell/Toshiba, etc..) - or are they one-offs?

    2) is there a COA sticker on each machine?

    3) does your original contract include the purchase of the machines, or was that under a separate invoice? - what does the invoice in either case say about the number of machines provided, and the licensing involved?

    Please pick two machines, and run MGADiag reports on those - post the results in a response here.

    To properly analyse and solve problems with Activation and Validation, we need to see a full copy of the report produced by the MGADiag tool
    (download and save to desktop - http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=52012 )
     Once saved, run the tool.
    Click on the Continue button, which will produce the report.
     To copy the report to your response, click on the Copy button in the tool (ignore any error messages at this point), and then paste (using either r-click/Paste, or Ctrl+V ) into your response.
     
    Please also state the Version and Edition of Windows quoted on your COA sticker (if you have one) on the case of your machine (or inside the battery compartment), but do NOT quote the Key on the sticker!
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/howtotell/Hardware.aspx


    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi
    CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    No - I do not work for Microsoft, or any of its contractors.

    Thursday, February 20, 2014 9:47 PM
    Moderator
  • there was never any contract. we asked for new computers, and they sold them to us. there wasnt much discussion past them asking us if we though we wanted them with larger storage. now that we have gone back to see what was on the invoice that our accountant paid, it shows 8 AMD based computers and 1 Windows 7.

    Honestly, we hired this company because we dont know anything about this stuff. we were kind of relying on them. 

    Thursday, February 20, 2014 10:03 PM
  • 1) i think they built them for us. there arent from dell or anything. 

    2) no, there are no stickers anywhere i can see. could be inside?

    3) the machines were invoiced to us. see above. 

    The sticker i think you are asking about, is on the plastic box with the windows disk. its windows 7 professional oem 64 bit. 

    i am not in front of the computers right now, so i will have to do the rest later.

    Thursday, February 20, 2014 10:05 PM
  • "there was never any contract"

    Yeah, I'm thinking this was a big mistake.  But did THEY install the OS on the 8 computers or did your company?  And yes, post the diagnostics like Noel requested, and check on the COA sticker(s).  There is a (small) chance they everything is legit.


    Please do not read this sentence. Please ignore the previous sentence.

    Thursday, February 20, 2014 10:10 PM
  • 1) Bad sign

    2) VERY bad sign - if the stickers are inside, they are breaking the rules anyhow (in the letter, if not the spirit), and it's unnecessary for desktop computers (although it's actually a good idea for laptops)

    See here for examples of COA stickers...

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/howtotell/default.aspx

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/howtotell/whattolookfor.aspx


    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi
    CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    No - I do not work for Microsoft, or any of its contractors.

    Thursday, February 20, 2014 10:14 PM
    Moderator
  • we had a contract with them for basic outsourcing, but new computers were outside of the scope of that contract, and they simply billed us. THEY installed windows and all software on our computers. they then came and set them up and networked them at our office. 

    the other company ran "belarc" (whatever that is) and were able to show us that the cd key used on every computer was the same. when presented with that information, we asked the previous company for licensing, and they told us that we only bought one (which we do have ONE plastic box, which has the key and sticker... but just one)

    Thursday, February 20, 2014 10:24 PM
  • There are certain circumstances where a Belarc report is not sufficient to demonstrate legality or otherwise - it's for this reason that I asked for an MGADiag report.

    The report will show the exact Product Key Type installed, and whether a hack has been used to bypass activation requirements. It can show definitively if an install is counterfeit.


    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi
    CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    No - I do not work for Microsoft, or any of its contractors.

    Thursday, February 20, 2014 10:39 PM
    Moderator
  • i wont have access to this site tomorrow, so is there anything you could tell me to look for on the msdiag report?
    Friday, February 21, 2014 2:12 AM
  • It's a fairly complex read :(

    Check the Product Key Type, and the BIOS section - specifically, the SLIC entry.

    If the Key type is OEM_SLP then the BIOS SLIC entry will tell you the make the Key is supposedly valid for.

    Inside the Office Details section, you'll see a manufacturer's name and model number (at least if it's a real OEM board) - check that against the SLIC table. If it's the same make, then the installation *may* be genuine - if not then it's definitely counterfeit.

    If the Key Type is Volume MAK or Volume KMS, then the installation is probably counterfeit.

    If the Key Type is OEM_NSLP (or System Builder) then you need to check it against the others - if the Key itself is the same, then all are counterfeit.

    Certain Retail Keys are also almost ccertainly going to be counterfeits - see this post for an explanation...

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/genuinewindows7/thread/a2444f34-0aff-4f29-a8ac-67e28b0c0285



    Noel Paton | Nil Carborundum Illegitemi
    CrashFixPC | The Three-toed Sloth
    No - I do not work for Microsoft, or any of its contractors.

    Friday, February 21, 2014 7:43 AM
    Moderator