Questions and answers about the End-User License Agreement
Microsoft licenses many personal computer system manufacturers to preinstall system software directly on the hard disks of their computers for sale. In some instances, computer manufacturers are also licensed to preinstall specific application software on the hard disk. These titles can include system software such as Microsoft Windows 2000 and server software such as Microsoft Windows NT Server, as well as applications such as Microsoft Works.
For Microsoft software, the computer manufacturers must include inside the computer box an End-User License Agreement (EULA) either in the documentation or online within the software, and, for system software and most applications, a Certificate of Authenticity either in the documentation or as a label applied to the computer. In most instances, computer manufacturers also include manual(s) and a set of software disks or a CD-ROM. Microsoft branded OEM operating system CD-ROMs include, edge-to-edge holograms.
Computer software is protected by copyright law and international copyright treaties as well as other intellectual property laws and treaties. Copyright law and other intellectual property laws in many countries protect the rights of a software owner by granting to the owner a number of exclusive rights, including the right to reproduce or "copy" the software. Copying software without the permission of the owner is "copyright infringement," and the law imposes penalties on infringers.
You make a "copy" of a software program whenever you: (1) load the software into your computer's temporary memory by running the program from a floppy disk, hard disk, CD-ROM, or other storage medium; (2) copy the software to other media such as a floppy disk or your computer's hard disk; or (3) run the program on your computer from a network server on which the software is resident or stored.
Almost all commercial computer software is licensed directly or indirectly from the copyright owner — the software publisher — for use by the customer through a type of contract called an "End-User License Agreement" (also known as a EULA). Different products might have different types of EULAs.
There are several warning signs to alert you to the fact that the software products installed on your hard disk at the time of purchase or available on the retail store shelf are illegal. For instance, Microsoft legally licenses Microsoft MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows version 3.1, Windows 95, and Windows 2000 among other products, to computer manufacturers to include with their computers for sale. However, Microsoft's agreement with computer manufacturers prohibits them from selling and/or distributing Microsoft products by themselves, without an accompanying computer.
Generally Microsoft software distributed on the retail shelf are manufactured only by Microsoft and should not bear the trade name of any other company. Microsoft software distributed on the retail shelf should never include on the front cover of the user's guide a line such as the following: "For Sale Only With A New PC," "For Distribution Only With A New PC," "For Distribution Only With A New PC," or "For distribution with new PC hardware only. Not to be sold as a stand-alone product."
Additional warning signs of illegal software products include:
- No End-User License Agreement (EULA).
- No Certificate of Authenticity for most products accompanying a new computer system.
- No fulfillment mechanism (such as a mail-in card) for backup disks and/or manuals for software preinstalled on a new computer that does not come with packaged software inside the computer box.
- No backup CD-ROMs, manuals or quick start guides, , EULA, and/or Certificate of Authenticity included as packaged product inside the computer box.
- The backup disks that the computer dealer or store gives you contain handwritten labels, are not shrink-wrapped, and/or appear to be inferior in quality.
- The manual(s) that the computer dealer or store gives you are photocopied, are not shrink-wrapped, and/or are poorly printed.
- The person who sold you your computer offers to install software for free — or for a nominal fee — at the time you purchase your computer, without providing packages for the software.
- Product upgrades available on the retail shelf do not contain the specified security features (including Certificate of Authenticity label for all retail Microsoft products).
- The operating system product (including MS-DOS, Windows, Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95, Windows 2000 and Microsoft Windows NT software) that you acquired from the retail shelf without also purchasing a new computer contains on the front cover of the user's guide a line such as the following: "For Sale Only With A New PC," or "For distribution with new PC hardware. Not to be sold as a stand-alone product."
No. The Certificate of Authenticity is a security device that accompanies all Microsoft products distributed with a computer by an OEM (original equipment manufacturer). The Certificate of Authenticity is used to assure the end user that the software program(s) accompanying the computer system is legally licensed Microsoft software. For instance, if you purchased a computer system from a computer store and it came with Microsoft MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows operating system software preinstalled on the hard disk, two separate Certificates of Authenticity should also be included inside the computer box. The Certificate of Authenticity contains anti-counterfeiting devices, such as the thermochromic heat-sensitive ink that lightens when warmed, to prevent the production of counterfeit Microsoft products. If you suspect you might have pirated software, or you have concerns about the legal ramifications of using such software, see the questions in this Help document concerning software piracy.
Yes. All copies together are treated as a single product, regardless of how many upgrade versions you've acquired.
Yes, as long as you have a legitimate license to use the software, your product is not a subscription-based software product, and you follow the terms of transfer outlined in your EULA. You may not rent or lease Microsoft software, but you may transfer all of your rights under the EULA on a permanent basis.
If your Microsoft product was acquired with a computer system, you may transfer all of your rights under the EULA as part of a sale or transfer of that computer system, provided that you also transfer all copies of the software and all written materials, including the EULA itself and, where applicable, the Certificate of Authenticity.
If your Microsoft product was acquired separate from a computer system, you may transfer all of your rights under the Microsoft EULA, provided that you also transfer all copies of the software and all written materials, including the EULA itself and, when applicable, the Certificate of Authenticity. Prior to transferring your rights, you must remove all copies of the software product from your computer.
You may not transfer any subscription-based software products.
For any valid transfer, the software recipient must agree to the terms of the EULA.
Note Any transfer must also include your most recent product update, as well as any prior versions of the Microsoft product, because the original full product and the upgrade product together are considered a single software unit.
If you want to sell or transfer software that was bought and licensed under a Microsoft License Pak, you must sell or transfer all the product copies to a single new owner. Microsoft License Paks cannot be broken up, even on resale.
The End-User License Agreement (EULA) for some Microsoft application software products contains the following sentence: "If you run a business or enterprise, you may install a second copy of the Software Product on a portable Device owned by you for the exclusive use of the person within your business or enterprise who is the user of the primary copy of the Software Product, provided that such person only uses the second copy for business purposes." If your EULA contains this sentence, then, subject to the conditions mentioned, you may make a second copy of the software. Note that the software must be installed on the local hard disk of your computer; you are not entitled to make and use a second copy on your portable computer if you run the primary copy of the software from a network server. . These rights also do not apply to subscription-based software products.
There are five basic forms of software piracy, and all are damaging both to the software publisher and to you, the end user. The following are the five basic types of piracy:
- "Softlifting" or end-user copying This form of piracy occurs when extra copies of a program are made within an organization for employees to use. "Disk swapping" among friends and associates outside of a business environment is also included in this category.
- Hard-disk loading Some computer dealers install unauthorized copies of software on the hard disks of the computers they offer for sale, as an incentive for an end user to purchase a computer from that particular dealer.
- Counterfeiting This is the illegal duplication and sale of copyrighted software, often in a form designed to make the product appear legitimate. Software counterfeiting can be very sophisticated, involving significant efforts to replicate packaging, logos, and anticounterfeiting techniques such as holograms. Counterfeiting can also be unsophisticated, involving inferior-looking or handwritten labels, with disks folded into a plastic bag and sold on street corners. In any form, software counterfeiting is very damaging to both the software developer and legitimate end users.
- Bulletin board piracy This form of piracy occurs when copyrighted software is downloaded by users connected by means of a modem to a public or semi-private electronic bulletin board. Bulletin board piracy should not be confused with sharing public-domain software or providing "shareware." Shareware is software that might be copyrighted but is generally offered for little or no charge by the author for nearly unrestricted use, including copying or sharing with others. Microsoft does not publish any shareware software that is intended for distribution over or use on a bulletin board. Microsoft might, however, distribute updates or enhancements over bulletin boards or online services that are for use solely with licensed Microsoft products. Any unauthorized Microsoft software available over a bulletin board is considered illegal.
- Software rental This is when software is illegally "rented" to end users who, typically, permanently copy the "rented" software to their computer's hard disk and then return the copy to the renter. There are three types of software rental piracy: a product rented from a retail outlet for use on the renter's home or office computer; a product rented through mail-order "clubs"; and a product installed on a computer that is, in turn, rented for temporary use. In some cases, Microsoft authorizes a company to rent or lease computers on which Microsoft products are installed. In those cases, the company is required, as part of the rental or lease agreement, to have the renter agree to the terms of the End-User License Agreement (EULA) for Microsoft software.
No. However, as you acquire upgrades for the new product, you must retain both that product and the upgrade versions, which together serve as a single product.
The EULA is an important part of your software product and should always accompany legally licensed Microsoft software. If you work for a company that has delegated software purchasing and management to a system administrator, the system administration department should be able to supply you with proof that your software is legally licensed. If you purchased your software from a store, through a mail-order catalogue, or even from an individual, and a EULA did not accompany the product, you might have received illegal software. Illegal software, commonly called "pirated software," might expose you and/or your business to legal liabilities. If you suspect that you might have pirated software, or you have concerns about the legal ramifications of using such software, see the questions in this Help document concerning software piracy.
No. Because the original full product and the upgrade product together are considered a single software unit, you must retain the old product as part of that unit.
Yes, the End-User License Agreement (EULA) included with the upgrade version sets forth the license rights for both the original product and the upgrade product. With every new upgrade product, you will receive a new EULA. Upgrade versions are treated as part of the whole product, because an upgrade product often needs many of the basic components in the original software in order to run.
The End-User License Agreement (EULA) permits you to store a copy of the software on a storage device used as a network file server, for the purpose of installing the software on computers connected to that storage device by means of your internal network. In addition, you may install the software on a storage device used as a network applications server so that computers connected to that storage device by means of your internal network can run the software from that source. You must acquire and dedicate a license for each separate computer on which the software is installed and for the storage device as well. By dedicating a license to a particular computer, you are assigning the license exclusively to that computer for an indefinite period of time. A license to use a particular copy of the software may not be shared or used concurrently on different computers.
Provided that you accept its terms, the EULA gives you permission to use the software and grants you some additional rights. The EULA also imposes certain restrictions on your use of the software. The EULA includes the "Grant of License" section, which describes how you may use the software. Also included in the EULA are restrictions against reverse engineering, leasing, or renting the software, and other restrictions that apply to the particular software. In addition, the EULA describes the terms under which you may make a backup or archival copy of the software, and it details the limited warranty provided for the product.
Your use of Microsoft products is governed by the terms of the EULA, as well as by copyright law. The EULA is the contract regarding your use of the licensed product, and it grants you a specific right to use the Microsoft software on your computer.
Software piracy is the unauthorized copying, reproduction, use, or manufacture of software product(s) protected by U.S. and international copyright law. On average, for every authorized copy of computer software in use, at least one unauthorized or "pirated" copy is made. In some countries, up to 99 unauthorized copies are made for every authorized copy in use. Software piracy harms all software companies and ultimately you, the end user. Piracy results in higher prices for duly licensed users and reduced levels of support for users; piracy also results in delays in the funding and development of new products, causing the overall selection and quality of software to suffer.
Piracy harms all software publishers, regardless of their size. Software publishers spend years developing software for the public to use. A portion of every dollar spent in purchasing original software is funneled back into research and development so that better, more advanced software products can be produced. When you purchase pirated software, your money goes directly into the pockets of software pirates instead.
Software piracy also harms the local and national economies. Fewer legitimate software sales result in lost tax revenue and decreased employment. Software piracy greatly hinders the development of local software communities. If software publishers cannot sell their products in the legitimate market, they have no incentive to continue developing programs. Many software publishers won't enter markets where the piracy rates are too high, because they will not be able to recover their development costs.
The first thing to do is to return the product to your place of purchase and ask for a legitimate replacement product or verification that the product you purchased is legal. If the vendor refuses to help you, ask for your money back, and find a legitimate dealer who will sell you legally licensed Microsoft products.
If the vendor refuses to give you a refund, report their actions to your local Consumer Affairs office. You should also call your local Microsoft subsidiary or a regional Business Software Alliance (BSA) antipiracy hotline to report your concerns.
An expanded version of this Help document, titled "Microsoft Licensing Policies: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions," is available in hard-copy format by request from any of the Microsoft legal departments listed below. Any consumers or resellers having questions about the legitimacy of Microsoft products can either contact the Microsoft Antipiracy Hotline at 1-800-RU-LEGIT or [email protected] (accessible in the United States or Canada) or write to the nearest Microsoft legal department to tell us of your concerns:
Australia: Legal Department, Microsoft Pty. Limited, Microsoft Park, 65 Epping Road, North Ryde, NSW 2113 (Sydney), Australia.
Hong Kong SAR: Legal Department, Microsoft Hong Kong SAR, 11/F., Cityplaza 3, 14 Taikoo Wan Road, Taikoo Shing, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong, PRC.
Japan: Legal Department, Microsoft Company, Limited, Sasazuka NA Bldg., 50-1, Sasazuka 1-Chome, Shibuya-ku, Toyko 151, Japan.
Korea: Microsoft CH, 6th FL., POSCO Center, 892 Daechi-Dong Kangnam-Gu, Seoul 135-777, Korea.
Taiwan: Legal Department, Microsoft Taiwan Corporation, PO Box 27-16, No. 6, 10th floor, Min Chuan E. Road, Sec. 3, Taipei, Taiwan.
European Headquarters: Legal Department, Microsoft European Headquarters, Tour Pacific, Cedex 77, 92977 Paris - La Defense, France.
France: Legal Department, Microsoft France S.a.r.l., 18 Avenue Du Quebec, Zone de Courtaboeuf, 91957 Les Ulis Cedex, France.
Germany: Legal Department, Microsoft G.m.b.H., Edisonstrasse 1, W-85713 Unterschleissheim, Munich, Germany.
United Kingdom: Legal Department, Microsoft Limited, Microsoft Place, Winnersh, Wokingham, Berkshire RG11 5TP, United Kingdom.
For all other regions, including the United States and Canada:
Antipiracy Department, Microsoft, Bldg. 8, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052, U.S.A.
For help regarding software piracy of Microsoft products and other software products, contact the Business Software Alliance at one of the following addresses:
United States headquarters:
2001 L Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Antipiracy Hotline: 1-800-688-BSA1 (accessible in the United States and Canada)
London W1Y 8AS
Euro-Net Antipiracy Hotline: 44-711-491-1974
All legally licensed Microsoft products should contain an End-User License Agreement (EULA), which is your primary proof of that you own a legally acquired product. However, we also recommend keeping the original user's manual (or at least the cover and first page of the manual), the product disks, the Certificate of Authenticity, and your purchase receipt.
A user's access to and use of third-party copyrighted material is generally governed by the third party. Your rights to third-party material in Microsoft products are set forth in the End-User License Agreement (EULA). In all circumstances, the user is responsible for respecting the rights to and maintaining the integrity of third-party copyrighted material.
Although these examples do not represent an exhaustive list, you are not permitted to do any of the following with the photos, clip art, font images etc. (“Media Elements”) in the Software Product:
- You may not sell, license or distribute copies of the Media Elements on a stand-alone basis or as part of any collection, product or service where the primary value of the product or service are the Media Elements.
- You may not use or distribute any of the Media Elements that include representations of identifiable individuals, governments, logos, initials, emblems, trademarks, or entities for any commercial purposes or to express or imply any endorsement or association with any product, service, entity, or activity.
- You may not create obscene or scandalous works, as defined by federal law at the time the work is created, using the Media Elements.
- You must indemnify, hold harmless, and defend Microsoft from and against any claims or lawsuits, including attorneys’ fees, that arise from or result from the use or distribution of Media Elements as modified by you.
- You must include a valid copyright notice on your products and services that include copies of the Media Elements.
- You may not permit third parties to distribute copies of the Media Elements except as part of your product or service.