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The Register: German ruling loosens MS lock on reselling of Windows

Jul 11, 2000, 19:02 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Lettice)

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"Microsoft's ability to sell a whole new operating system with every PC that ships, and to block the growth of a secondary/secondhand OS market, has been checked slightly - in Germany. A Berlin appeal court has ruled that Microsoft can't stop dealers selling software it intends should ship only with new PCs separately."

"...from what the court said when delivering its verdict, the implications of the ruling seem rather wider. The court feels that you can only exercise your rights of authorship once, which presumably means that you can place restrictions on the initial sale, but not on secondary sales. If that's the case it possibly means it's legal for OEMs to sell on copies of Windows they've already paid for (or even to sell licences, without shrinkwrap), and it's certainly legal for you to sell your copy of Windows after you've finished playing with it. In Germany."

"The fallout from this, even in Germany, is however substantially muted by a cunning plan Microsoft prepared earlier. How easy is it to buy a PC with an unlocked copy of Windows on delivery media that you could physically sell, these days? Microsoft has of course been going over to bios-locked installations that will only run on a particular machine, and protected medialess delivery where the code is on the hard disk, and can't easily be shifted onto another machine either."

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