How do I know if I can legally sell or buy software licences? What are some of the consequences for violating this law? If I violate it and am caught by authorities, what will happen to me? These questions and others like them have been asked many times before. But now that Microsoft has changed its stance on selling software over the internet, we thought it was worth revisiting these issues.
The answer to all of your questions boils down to one simple concept – the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect on May 25th 2018. This regulation applies to any business operating within Europe which holds personal data about individuals. It also applies to companies who offer goods and services to people across Europe. So basically, anything that involves "personal data" needs to comply with GDPR. And guess what? Software falls under this category. If you're not sure whether your company uses software, then check out our guide to identifying software usage here.
But let’s back up for a moment. How does this affect us as consumers? Well, in short, there are three main points to consider when thinking about buying software online. Firstly, you should ask yourself why you need the software. Secondly, make sure you understand exactly what rights you would retain if the vendor decides to stop providing support for their product. Finally, remember that if you purchase something from someone else, they may still own copyright to it. This means you could potentially face infringement charges if you don't obtain permission first.
So let's take a look at each point separately.
This question comes straight from the FAQ page of Microsoft itself. In fact, the only thing that changes between versions of Windows 10 is the wording used to describe the process of transferring licenses. To see the difference, go to Settings > Update & Security > Activation and click Get Started. You'll find two different options depending on whether you purchased via retail sales channels or licensed through volume licensing agreements (VLAs).
When purchasing retail copies of Windows 10, you simply tick the box beside “I bought my copy directly from Microsoft” underneath Activate using a retail code. Once activated, you can move licenses around freely between machines running the same version of Windows 10. As long as you keep the original key card attached to the machine, you won’t encounter any problems.
However, VLAs allow you to share activation keys between multiple users, allowing you to avoid paying Microsoft monthly fees. When activating such licenses, however, you must enter a unique serial number when prompted. That way, if anyone tries to activate the software again after it expires, they will receive a message stating that they cannot proceed because the software has already been activated elsewhere.
To learn more about VLA licenses, read our article detailing everything you need to know about Microsoft Volume Licensing Agreements.
In order to prevent piracy, most countries require computer owners to pay for access to copyrighted material. For example, in Australia, the Copyright Act provides penalties for downloading content illegally. However, most governments tend to leave the actual enforcement of laws regarding digital media up to individual states, meaning that the exact rules differ from country to country.
For instance, in the United States, copyright violations fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Therefore, the maximum penalty available for illegal downloads is $150,000 per violation, according to US Code Section 2319(b)(1). Some states have even gone further than this.
According to Florida Statute 790.21, those charged with criminal offenses involving the theft of intellectual property can be sentenced to prison time or fined up to $10,000. Furthermore, Florida residents convicted of stealing music files can spend five years behind bars. Meanwhile, Maryland makes it a felony offense to steal software and other electronic devices.
In addition to fines and jail sentences, the owner of a pirated item might also lose the right to sue the infringer, making it difficult to recover damages.
Licenses typically come with restrictions, stipulating what kind of computers or hardware you can install the program onto. Without proper authorization, you run the risk of being cut off from accessing certain features and functionality. While this doesn’t necessarily pose much danger, it can cause frustration for legitimate customers trying to enjoy programs fully.
From a technical perspective, licensing helps protect against unauthorized copying of software. Additionally, it allows administrators to track where licenses are located and ensure that everyone is complying with terms and conditions.
Finally, licensing ensures that employees aren’t wasting money on unnecessary upgrades and subscriptions. In a perfect world, every employee would work solely with the latest version of software and never upgrade anything. Unfortunately, though, life isn’t always fair. Many businesses rely heavily on legacy systems to perform essential tasks. As a result, upgrading old equipment often results in downtime. Plus, new technologies frequently carry hefty price tags. By requiring employees to renew licenses regularly, companies save a lot of money while ensuring that staff remain productive.
Software license sales
There are two main types of software licenses. There's a type which allows you to use the program only once (a one-time user), and there's another which enables unlimited usage.
The first type includes all sorts of programs such as games, music players, office suites and even web browsers. This kind of software needs an initial payment to activate the product. Once activated, however, it cannot be used again unless you pay more money for a new licence.
This kind of software is known as "shrinkwrapped". A shrinkwrap licence comes with the software itself in a box. It is typically sold at retail stores but also via e-commerce sites.
"Unlimited" versions are available in two forms. One version lets users download the program from the vendor site directly into their computers without ever installing the application onto hard drives. Another model requires installation on the computer through digital media files called.iso images, which are then burned onto CDs or DVDs during the activation process. Both models require users to make payments after activating the products using credit cards provided by the vendors.
But what about those who want to purchase a copy of a licensed program online? Is it allowed? And how much does it cost?
Selling software online
In most countries around the world including Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, Singapore and United Kingdom, the sale of software is illegal because it involves transferring ownership of intellectual property rights between individuals. In other words, when you transfer the software licence, you're automatically giving up your right to own the copyright.
The new year brings another opportunity to take stock. As we look back on 2017 and reflect on our successes as well as failures, it’s also an excellent time to consider where we are headed next. One thing that stands out when looking at what happened in 2017 is that there was no shortage of news around copyright law.
So much so that even Google had something to say about it! In fact, the company published a blog post titled “Copyright Law Is Changing – What You Need To Know About Copyright Licenses And Resales” which explains why they have updated their terms of service to allow users to resell copies of licensed content.
But before getting into all this jargon, let's first clarify some common misconceptions. So if you're wondering whether or not you can legally resell your Microsoft Office 365 subscription (or any other type of software), here are three things you need to know...
Software licenses serve two main purposes. First and foremost, they give owners the right to use particular pieces of software without paying royalties or fees to the original creator(s). There are several reasons for owning such a license, including personal use or for work-related activities. For example, many companies require employees to own certain types of software, and others may only want to purchase software from one vendor.
Second, software licenses help creators protect their intellectual property by ensuring that people who buy copyrighted material don't copy it themselves or pass it off as their own creation. This means that even though you purchased a license to use a piece of software, it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll always be able to do just that. If someone else decides to make a similar product using the same code but with different features, then you won't be allowed to use those additional features unless you pay again.
Microsoft takes this second purpose seriously, especially since its business model relies heavily upon selling subscriptions to Office 365. A recent report found that Microsoft makes more money through sales than through operating profit, meaning that customers must keep coming back in order for them to stay profitable. But while Microsoft does take these issues very seriously, it hasn't been immune to criticism over the years -- and some of those criticisms stem from the way it handles user rights in relation to third party apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc.
In short, if you've bought a Microsoft Office 365 subscription, you should be aware that you aren't guaranteed full ownership of the software you paid for. Instead, you will simply receive permission to use specific functions within the app. That said, it isn't illegal to resell your license. Although it might raise eyebrows among some lawyers, the law allows you to resell your license for up to 90 days after making a purchase. After that point, however, it becomes illegal to resell a license because you essentially lose control of the right to use certain technology.
No, software licenses never expire. They last forever, provided that you continue to renew them every single month or quarter. Software licenses come with expiration dates that indicate when you must start paying again or stop using the licensed software altogether. Some licenses specify that they remain valid until the end of 2021, whereas others expire after five years. Either way, once the license expires, you cannot extend it further.
If you thought that expired software licenses were useless, think again. While they technically cease to function after the specified date, most vendors still honor the old terms and conditions. When buying a license, you will typically agree to follow whatever rules apply to the version you currently hold. These include restrictions regarding the number of simultaneous installations, how long you can maintain usage records, and even limitations relating to the number of devices that you can install the software on.
Some vendors offer extended warranties on their software packages, allowing you to extend coverage beyond the standard term. Others charge extra on top of your monthly fee each year to cover maintenance costs. Whatever the case, you shouldn't expect to find a refund if your software suddenly stops working due to an expired license.
Perpetual licenses refer to contracts that automatically renew each year, often at a discounted rate. Typically, these agreements are offered by software developers as part of a bundle deal along with other items like support services and training. Perpetual licenses usually last for anywhere between six months and eight years, depending on the vendor. Most importantly, unlike traditional software licenses, perpetual licenses don't expire. Rather, they are renewed annually, regardless of the customer's needs or wants.
Although some companies provide special discounts for annual renewals, you can generally expect to see the same amount charged every 12 months. However, this figure varies based on your location, industry, and other factors. It's important to note that some vendors do charge higher rates during peak seasons, such as holiday periods. Therefore, it pays to shop around and compare prices before committing to a contract.
While software licenses are great for protecting your brand and providing access to essential tools, it's worth noting that the laws surrounding this area vary across countries. Before embarking down the path of reselling or purchasing a perpetual license, check with local authorities in your region to ensure that doing so won't cause problems.
We hope that this article helped clear up some confusion around software licenses and gave you plenty of information to choose wisely moving forward. Now that you understand the basics, you're ready to move onto the next step: finding a trustworthy provider.
With the recent ruling by the European Court on the legality of selling software licences, this topic might seem like something only geeks discuss over drinks. However, these types of issues affect everyone who uses technology.
In order for us all to understand how important such matters can be, let’s first examine some basic terminology. A license is permission from one party (the licensor) to use or copy someone else's work for certain purposes under specific conditions. For example, if you were asked by your employer to write a piece of code but weren't allowed to sell it without their approval, then you would need an appropriate license agreement with them before being able to do so. This type of arrangement allows both parties to benefit from each other’s contributions while protecting the interests of both sides.
The term “software license” refers to any formal written document which contains terms governing the rights granted between two or more parties in relation to computer programs or related data files. These agreements typically cover things such as distribution of the program itself, whether the user must pay royalties on its sale, and even restrictions on the way they may modify or redistribute the program once installed.
A key point here is that many people don’t realize just how much control the creator of a particular software product has over how others will use it after purchase. Indeed, many of those products come pre-installed onto computers – often without users ever having given consent to have them included! In fact, according to research conducted by NPD Group, almost half of US PC owners had never read the licence agreement associated with the operating system installed on their machine.
The question about whether you can buy or resell software licenses comes up quite frequently. There are many different kinds of software licenses that vary from product to product so I will try to explain why some people choose licensing over selling their own copies. In this article, I’m going to look at what happens when you decide to purchase a software package instead of taking advantage of its free trial period. But first let me share with you my experience as an IT professional who was once involved in the sale of software licenses!
I have been working for more than 15 years in Information Technology (IT) industry and I had a chance to work on several projects where the client wanted us to perform tasks which were beyond our scope of expertise. For example if they needed to install new hardware components such as servers, networking equipment etc., then these clients would hire external vendors because they couldn’t deal with those issues themselves. So, they preferred hiring someone else rather than learning how to solve problems by themselves.
And even though I am sure there are lots of things out there that are simple enough to be done without any help, most of them require certain skillsets and knowledge base which may take time to acquire. And that's exactly what happened to me during one project when I tried to learn everything myself. After spending weeks trying to figure out all the technical details behind every step, I got frustrated and decided to just give up. It took me only three days to find an alternative solution and deliver a much better result. When asked whether he could do something similar in future, he simply replied that he didn't know anything about computers and wasn’t interested in learning either. He also mentioned that his company was very good at paying other companies to do all the hard stuff while he focused on marketing their business. This kind of attitude makes sense since he made $30k per year plus bonuses while I earned less than $20k per year.
So, the reason why we don’t like buying software is pretty obvious – if we want to save money, we need to spend more hours learning how to fix basic computer problems ourselves. If we want to earn more, we should focus on understanding the market and finding ways to make our customers happy. However, this doesn't mean that we shouldn't pay for software packages that come bundled with support services.
There is no doubt that having a well-trained team is extremely valuable especially if your company is growing fast. In addition, being able to access specialized tools gives employees additional freedom to complete their jobs faster. These factors contribute significantly towards improving productivity levels. Unfortunately, if you aren’t familiar with all the ins and outs of operating systems, programming languages, databases etc.., then you won’t be able to provide the best service possible to your clients. Moreover, it might cause confusion among your colleagues and eventually lead to conflicts within the organization.
In fact, according to McKinsey & Company study conducted in 2015, “the average U.S. employee spends 20% of her total job day doing noncore activities including repetitive administrative chores, searching for information and communicating with others”. According to another report published earlier this year, “over 60 percent of workers say their managers expect them to multitask across multiple applications, programs, devices, websites, and files. And they're right. That means nearly two-thirds of workers are expected to juggle information across multiple screens simultaneously—which doesn't always happen easily."
Another issue is the lack of control on data stored inside organizations. Even though it may seem obvious now that sensitive information needs to be protected from unauthorized users, it used to be handled differently. Many times companies hired third party firms to host their data centers. These facilities were mostly located far away from the main offices where employees worked. As a result, it became difficult to monitor user activity, identify suspicious behavior, manage security incidents etc...
How does this affect the end-user? Well, imagine that you are working in the finance department and suddenly receive an email containing confidential financial reports. You open up the attachment expecting to see the spreadsheet but instead of seeing numbers, you see code written in HTML language. Then you realize that the document came from somewhere outside the corporate network and probably ended up in the hands of hackers. Now imagine if the same thing happened to thousands of employees around the world. How long until the whole system collapses?
Software licenses allow businesses to protect against these types of risks. They enable enterprises to keep track of every single piece of software installed on each device in order to ensure compliance with regulations. Software licenses are also great way to avoid unnecessary costs associated with training new hires and supporting outdated technology.
Finally, another major benefit of using licensed software is that it provides peace of mind to both the vendor and the customer. Since the vendor knows that the software is going to be properly managed and supported, he feels safe knowing that he isn’t responsible for unexpected expenses caused by bugs and malfunctions. On top of that, the customer gets the assurance that the software is reliable and secure, which ultimately leads to higher conversion rates.
As previously discussed, there are plenty of reasons why businesses opt to buy software instead of getting it through a subscription model. However, what if you still want to sell it later? What prevents you from offering a perpetual license to your customers? Why can’t you offer unlimited number of installations? Can you actually sell a software license?
Unfortunately, the answer to these questions is yes and no. Selling a software license is illegal in almost all countries worldwide. According to the United States Code, Section 1201 "No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, possess, or sell any patented invention" unless the patent owner consents. Therefore, if you want to sell a software license, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder otherwise you risk facing fines and criminal charges.
However, it seems that the situation changes depending on the type of software. Some software packages are available for free and therefore cannot be legally purchased. Other software titles however, are distributed under terms which prevent their owners from distributing them freely. Microsoft Office for instance, allows you to create personal workspaces online and download them onto your PC. Once downloaded, you can modify them and distribute them to other individuals. While this practice is considered perfectly acceptable, it is still prohibited by the EULA.
If you plan to build custom solutions for small businesses or individual consumers, the chances are high that you won’t encounter any obstacles regarding distribution. However, if your goal is to develop enterprise level software that will be used internally by large corporations, then you definitely need to seek approval from the copyright holders before launching your product into the marketplace.
What is the difference between using software under a license vs purchasing a copy?
Nowadays, most business owners tend to think that it is cheaper to buy software licenses rather than renting subscriptions. Indeed, purchasing a license usually saves companies hundreds of dollars compared to the monthly fees charged by cloud providers. Also, you don’t need to worry about maintenance costs since you already paid upfront.
But here lies the biggest problem with this approach - it depends entirely upon your willingness to invest in updating your software regularly. If you don’t follow the recommended schedule, you run the risk of losing functionality and compatibility with newer versions. In addition, your customers will likely notice significant performance degradation due to frequent updates. And lastly, you'll need to upgrade your infrastructure in order to accommodate new features added to your application. All these extra steps can turn into costly headaches if you fail to budget accordingly.
On the contrary, subscribing to SaaS platforms enables you to enjoy constant upgrades without sacrificing your investment. Your customers will never face downtime, performance bottlenecks or unresponsive interfaces. Instead, they will continue to receive new content seamlessly thanks to automated processes. Plus, most SaaS companies charge low flat fee per month regardless of the amount of storage space consumed.
Overall, choosing to subscribe to SaaS platforms over purchasing software licenses has numerous advantages. First of all, it eliminates the headache related to upgrading older versions of your software. Second, it provides consistent quality throughout the entire lifecycle of your application. Third, you can focus on adding value to your customers rather than struggling to stay current with the latest trends. Finally, you will save money by avoiding installation and maintenance costs.
In conclusion, although there are several benefits to opting for subscription models, it is imperative to understand the differences between buying and renting software versus selling a software license. Only after making informed decisions based on specific requirements will you be able to determine the optimal course of action.
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