VOGONS


First post, by magicmanred

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Not sure where to post this, but I wanted to know if there were any legal issues that would arise if someone were to sell an old IDE hard drive with old OS's, Games & Software from Pre-Windows XP era.
I understand that that content is so old that it is out of Warranty & Support range.
But I don't want to assume that just because it's out of the range of Warranty & Support, that it isn't subject to some resale legal issues (or others) I'm not aware of.

Anyone have any information to share on this? Any links to the legalities?
Much much appreciated!

Reply 2 of 18, by magicmanred

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iraito wrote on 2024-06-14, 17:19:

Go to amibay and sell it there.

Thank you for that option.

But I was asking what are the legal issues of selling if at all any elsewhere?

Reply 4 of 18, by magicmanred

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Disruptor wrote on 2024-06-14, 17:56:

Copyright does not expire.
If there is no other license (freeware, public domain), don't play with it.

Thank you for this info.
Do you have any links about this? I wouldn't know where to start with googling something like that and I'd like to read up on it.

Also, I imagine context is important... because if someone were to sell a retro computer with all of that stuff installed on it, doesn't seem to be an issue there...

Reply 7 of 18, by douglar

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Disruptor wrote on 2024-06-14, 17:56:

Copyright does not expire.
If there is no other license (freeware, public domain), don't play with it.

In the USA, copyrights expire, it just takes much longer than it used to.

Reply 8 of 18, by Shponglefan

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Unless you are selling licenses you had previously purchased (e.g. transferring them to a new owner), then it's not legal to load up a PC full of software and sell that.

In practice, there are not likely any consequences to doing so. I've bought a few old systems that came loaded with software. No one is actively policing this as far as I know.

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Reply 10 of 18, by ElectroSoldier

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It depends on what version of Windows you are talking about, however having said that it is always illegal to sell a drive with an OS installed that doesnt have a unique licence key.

If you are talking about Windows 95 & 98 then you can install the OS to the drive and in the registry delete the licence key in the registry so on the customers first boot they will need to input the licence key to make it work.
This is what the OEMs used to do when they installed Windows 98, at least I know Tiny Computers did when they sold in the UK. Time Computers did a few models with this too so the customer had to type in their licence on "first" boot.

Its not a mine field I would recommend anybody to venture into these days, as it can get very nasty legally speaking very quickly and with such a small profit to be made its hardly worth it to boot.

And on top of all that then you would have to create a stripped down image to put onto the disks you are selling, which would mean you would need an image per computer or a very stripped down install that would install drivers on first boot.

Also worth noting is that Microsoft dont seem to chase people who give away old abandoned versions of their software for free but as soon as somebody starts making money from it then that changes toot sweet.

Reply 11 of 18, by douglar

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ElectroSoldier wrote on 2024-06-14, 21:01:

Also worth noting is that Microsoft dont seem to chase people who give away old abandoned versions of their software for free but as soon as somebody starts making money from it then that changes toot sweet.

That matches my understanding. If you sell a hard drive that happens to have copies of really old software on it, it isn’t going to be an issue. If you advertise hard drives featuring that they have software on them, then you should expect cease and desist letters before very long.

Reply 13 of 18, by magicmanred

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Seems there are a lot of conflicting opinions.
Thank you for all of the thoughts, but I'd really appreciate someone to direct me to some concrete literature so that I can read up on it.

Reply 14 of 18, by douglar

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magicmanred wrote on 2024-06-14, 23:11:

Seems there are a lot of conflicting opinions.
Thank you for all of the thoughts, but I'd really appreciate someone to direct me to some concrete literature so that I can read up on it.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_piracy

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abandonware

Last edited by douglar on 2024-06-15, 00:02. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 15 of 18, by Shponglefan

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magicmanred wrote on 2024-06-14, 23:11:

Seems there are a lot of conflicting opinions.
Thank you for all of the thoughts, but I'd really appreciate someone to direct me to some concrete literature so that I can read up on it.

If you're looking for legal advice, your best bet is to consult a lawyer. In lieu of that, you can look up legal documents such as those pertaining to copyright law or read about past legal proceedings.

This forum isn't going to be your best source for legal information.

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Reply 16 of 18, by ElectroSoldier

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magicmanred wrote on 2024-06-14, 23:11:

Seems there are a lot of conflicting opinions.
Thank you for all of the thoughts, but I'd really appreciate someone to direct me to some concrete literature so that I can read up on it.

Windows 98 is subject to a copyright.

https://www.copyright.gov/what-is-copyright/

You can read up on the legalities of such laws there, but in short the copyright expires 95 years after publication, so 25th June 2093.
Or if Microsoft release it into the public domain as a free product. Which they have not yet done, and given it would be a security risk for any computer running it given it has no recent updates it is unlikely they will ever do that.

Downloading a copy of Windows 95/98 and using a key you find online (or have bought legally) installing it onto a hard drive and then selling multiple copies of that licence/hard drive would be illegal under current US and UK law.
About other countries Im not sure because they are not all bound by the same laws, but I know UK law and a little of US law and in both places it is a criminal offence.

If you get up their nose dont be surprised if you get a bogy.

Reply 17 of 18, by Horun

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AND to add to the last post, in USA: https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-digital.html
"The Copyright Act does not permit anyone to sell backup copies to third parties separately from the original copy of the software. If you lawfully own a computer program, you may sell or transfer that lawful copy together with a lawfully made backup copy of the software, but you may not sell the backup copy alone."
There are some places that are permitted or licensed to sell backups but they are not us normal computer users. The media does not matter if it is not the original media sold with with "backup" aka copy of.
Don't forget: hard drives came only two ways new: as separate retail or oem sale (with nothing on them) or in a system loaded specific for that system OR with a system that includes original media.
In USA yes an old PC can be sold with OS and whatever apps came on it originally because you are transferring ownership, as long as the PC has just what it came with originally...

Question: are you asking because you want to sell HDs loaded on purpose or just a old PC pull ?
I have bought pulled HD's that were not wiped but they were not advertised as to having anything on them, just as "pulled from working computer".

Hate posting a reply and then have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor. Stuff: https://archive.org/details/@horun

Reply 18 of 18, by magicmanred

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ElectroSoldier wrote on 2024-06-15, 02:06:
Windows 98 is subject to a copyright. […]
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magicmanred wrote on 2024-06-14, 23:11:

Seems there are a lot of conflicting opinions.
Thank you for all of the thoughts, but I'd really appreciate someone to direct me to some concrete literature so that I can read up on it.

Windows 98 is subject to a copyright.

https://www.copyright.gov/what-is-copyright/

You can read up on the legalities of such laws there, but in short the copyright expires 95 years after publication, so 25th June 2093.
Or if Microsoft release it into the public domain as a free product. Which they have not yet done, and given it would be a security risk for any computer running it given it has no recent updates it is unlikely they will ever do that.

Downloading a copy of Windows 95/98 and using a key you find online (or have bought legally) installing it onto a hard drive and then selling multiple copies of that licence/hard drive would be illegal under current US and UK law.
About other countries Im not sure because they are not all bound by the same laws, but I know UK law and a little of US law and in both places it is a criminal offence.

If you get up their nose dont be surprised if you get a bogy.

Horun wrote on 2024-06-15, 02:22:
AND to add to the last post, in USA: https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-digital.html "The Copyright Act does not permit anyo […]
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AND to add to the last post, in USA: https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-digital.html
"The Copyright Act does not permit anyone to sell backup copies to third parties separately from the original copy of the software. If you lawfully own a computer program, you may sell or transfer that lawful copy together with a lawfully made backup copy of the software, but you may not sell the backup copy alone."
There are some places that are permitted or licensed to sell backups but they are not us normal computer users. The media does not matter if it is not the original media sold with with "backup" aka copy of.
Don't forget: hard drives came only two ways new: as separate retail or oem sale (with nothing on them) or in a system loaded specific for that system OR with a system that includes original media.
In USA yes an old PC can be sold with OS and whatever apps came on it originally because you are transferring ownership, as long as the PC has just what it came with originally...

Question: are you asking because you want to sell HDs loaded on purpose or just a old PC pull ?
I have bought pulled HD's that were not wiped but they were not advertised as to having anything on them, just as "pulled from working computer".

Beautiful!!

Thank you for this! This is the info I was looking for.
Much, much appreciated!