Software on ebay

  SDJ 18:23 04 Feb 2003

I frequently look around ebay for photographic parts and sports memorabilia. Oh and of course a cheap IPAQ when a good one comes around.
My question though is what is the general feeling towards buying hardware and software on ebay? There are many software bargains and many of them seem to indicate for what you get that they are OEM even though they do not state this.

Any opinions?

  Djohn 18:30 04 Feb 2003

ebay can be a good source of software when it is an individual trying to sell on a no longer required item, even a dealer selling on older or over bought stock.

Where you need to be cautious is when you see the same person selling multiple copy's of the same software at cheap prices. Ask yourself, "how can they do it"

  Pesala 18:35 04 Feb 2003

OEM software was intended for sale in bulk to PC builders, hence it is much cheaper than an off the shelf products. I don't think one should use it unless one is building a PC from scratch.

If you ask those companies who sell OEM software they may tell you, "Its legal if you install a new hard drive, or some more memory." I cannot see how this is ethical at all. Probably not legal either. If it is legal, then go for it.

The difference in price is huge: like £35 instead of £145, so very tempting.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if this thread generates a lot of strong views.

  Amry 18:51 04 Feb 2003

As a general rule, I tend not to buy software via eBay or any othe auction sites. It's easy to flog pirated goods, and nowadays, the pirates are smart enough to create good, authentic-looking discs...

  SDJ 19:53 04 Feb 2003

Could we clarify the position re OEM, I was under the impression that oem software was for bulk purchase and for trade only and therefore used by pc builders.
Pesala, you mentioned this however you also mentioned that you should only use it if you are building a computer from scratch, I have built my own machine surely I cant buy oem software for myself?

One piece of software caught my eye on ebay, it was Norton Systemworks, 20 copies at £15 each, the software comes in a cd envelope with no box (to save postage!) this must be OEM?
What are the rules for selling oem, shouldnt they specify that it is oem by law? if an unsuspecting consumer where to buy oem software not knowing it was what would their legal standing be?

  Pesala 20:35 04 Feb 2003

Let alone OEM software, if one inadvertently buys illegal copies of software, one has not rights whatsoever. If one buys OEM software, license agreements are different. Carefully read the license agreement before purchase of ask for a copy.

My local supplier is the Software Club, and someone there told me I could use an OEM copy of WordPerfect Office Suite if I installed a Hard Drive or some more memory. I shopped around, asked a few questions from Corel, and eventualy went for a copy of WordPerfect Family Pack for about £70. More expensive and less powerful than the OEM version of the full WordPerfect Suite I was offered, but at least I have no doubts about its legality. Ask the Software Club for the legal stuff regarding OEM and see what they say:

click here

It is my belief that one can legally install OEM software on a home-build system. I hope someone will correct me if I am wrong.

  midase 21:16 04 Feb 2003

You will see OEM sofware and hardware advertised in most Computer mags so it is legal to buy and use it. Usually OEM is for system builders as it comes without frilly packaging and manuals, sometimes without drivers, hence the difference in price. As a home user you will probably want to buy the full package unless you are competent to overcome those issues.

As with any auction "Let the buyer beware" When buying on Ebay you have the option to ask the seller questions about the goods, so use it.

"...You will see OEM sofware and hardware advertised in most Computer mags so it is legal to buy and use it"

I would not for one moment suggest that anyone relies on the mere fact that a magazine carrying an advert renders the software "legal" or even "Legitamate".

Quite easily, I can buy all the parts / ingredients / instructions for some horrendous "Devices" that are topical at present (Think Castor oil...;-(( it is the purpose to which I put these legitimate ingredients etc to use that will render them illegal.

I have recently sold a piece of software on ebay and this was my first experience of the site. I have many enquiries as to the product and eventually sold it, in its box with manuals etc for three times the amount I would have accepted.

It was genuine and the purchaser paid within five minutes of the auction closing. It can work well for both parties but, as has rightly been said above, Caveat Emptor!

  midase 22:52 04 Feb 2003

Hi Smiffy99, yes like all auctions people get carried away and pay well over the odds. I've attended live auctions and seen people pay far in excess of the retail value.

Regarding the OEM issue I don't think that editors of computer mags would be party to illegal operations. There is nothing wrong with buying OEM products if you don't want the packaging etc, wheather you are building for yourself or someone else its just more cost effective.

  Forum Editor 23:39 04 Feb 2003

stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, and originally applied to companies which buy components from other makers and incorporate them into a product of their own. Most computer manufacturers are OEMs - Dell for instance, buys chips from Intel for its computers.

When applied to software, the term refers to a version that can (in some cases) be modified to a degree by an OEM licensed manufacturer in order to brand the product. Taking Dell as our example again, the company can brand Windows XP to a degree - so that various non-Microsoft icons may be placed on the desktop by default.

Members of the public may buy OEM software under certain circumstances, and in Microsoft's case the company is prepared to allow the sale of OEM Windows versions provided the operating system is purchased in conjunction with hardware. The amount (and type) of hardware isn't actually specified, but I doubt that Microsoft would be happy to see an OEM version of Windows XP being sold with a floppy drive. The sale of OEM Windows versions as standalones - without any accompanying hardware sale - is in direct contravention of the OEM terms and conditions, and any company selling that way would be liable to have their Microsoft OEM licence revoked.

  SDJ 18:15 05 Feb 2003

Thanks Forum Editor, so basically what we are saying is any software for sale branded oem cannot be purchased on its own by the public only with hardware.

So therefore anyone selling oem on its own must state that it is oem and only supply to the trade, if it is only software it is selling.

So what about the software you find on auction sites, I guess if its too good to be true then it isnt legal.

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