Not For Resale? But what if I really want to?



  • I recently attended Microsoft's "Ready for a New All-Afternoon-Long Commercial for Vista" event.  The only good thing to come from it was a "Resource Kit" that contains a product key for Office Professional 2007 and a product key for Groove 2007...completely full, unrestricted versions, as I understand it.  You download the trial versions from a specified website, ignore the temporary product keys you get with the trial download, use the product keys from your "Resource Kit" and shezaam!  You've got Office Professional 2007 and Groove 2007.

    That's pretty great.  And it is very generous of Microsoft to just hand these things out to attendees.  Thing is, I use Office 2003 at work (with no choice of upgrading), and at home, Open Office suits me just fine.  I have no need for this "copy" of Office Professional 2007.  There are others, though, that would like to have it, I'm sure.  They might even be willing to pay $299.00 for it.  And if it weren't for this pesky little "Not for Resale" notice on the back, I would have sold mine already; I'd love to have a Wii instead of a some product keys for some software that I'm not going to use.

    So, my question is: How unscrupulous would it be of me to list this on eBay?

    And, regardless of the answer to the above question, how much real trouble can I get into for selling it?  I've heard horror stories of Microsoft raining down ruin upon the insolent.  Ruin showers are something I typically try to avoid, but if the if there's only something like a 1% chance of ruin precipitation during the week of my hypothetical eBay auction, I probably wouldn't even bother to grab an umbrella on the way out.



  • Well, considering there are people from MS who participate here.... :)  

    I'm certainly not going to turn you in, but the mother ship does seem to be testy these days.  Personally I wouldn't take the chance.  (But then, they can fire my ass...)

    -cw



  • @CodeWhisperer said:

    Well, considering there are people from MS who participate here.... :)  

    I'm certainly not going to turn you in, but the mother ship does seem to be testy these days.  Personally I wouldn't take the chance.  (But then, they can fire my ass...)

    -cw

    I knew several people here were MS people, and I am particularly interested in what they have to say about the issue.  However, I really, really, really, wasn't looking to turn anyone in.  I'm afraid I wasn't thinking about that when I posted the link above.  If Alex would be so kind, I would greatly appreciate it if he could edit my first post in this thread and remove the link to the eBay auction.



  • >g<  It looks like there's someone else there doing the exact same thing, but starting at $276.99 :)  

     

     



  • @UncleMidriff said:

    If Alex would be so kind, I would greatly appreciate it if he could edit my first post in this thread and remove the link to the eBay auction.

    Done. IMO selling such stuff on eBay is calling for trouble. By far too visible. Are all of your friends Linux users? Has your grandma switched to FreeBSD?  Neighbor's son uses a Mac?



  • @ammoQ said:

    @UncleMidriff said:

    If Alex would be so kind, I would greatly appreciate it if he could edit my first post in this thread and remove the link to the eBay auction.

    Done. IMO selling such stuff on eBay is calling for trouble. By far too visible. Are all of your friends Linux users? Has your grandma switched to FreeBSD?  Neighbor's son uses a Mac?

    Thanks.

    And yeah, I should probably see if I can get a deal that's a little bit more on the down-low.  But see, I'd feel bad about charging any of those people $150.00, whereas it wouldn't bother me a bit to extract $300.00 from <random eBay guy>. :-)

    Say, does anyone here need an office productivity suite straight from the cutting edge of awesome?  If you act now, it's only $275.00!  ;-) (I am completely kidding)

    A coworker of mine suggested selling a pen for $250.00, with the software thrown in for "free."  While that sounds satisfyingly devious, I can't imagine it would actually work if I did manage to get into some hot water.



  • @CodeWhisperer said:

    Well, considering there are people from MS who participate here.... :)  

    I'm certainly not going to turn you in, but the mother ship does seem to be testy these days.  Personally I wouldn't take the chance.  (But then, they can fire my ass...)

    -cw

    Working at Microsoft is nothing like it used to be...  which is why I don't play there anymore. 



  • I've only been here 6 months...and while I'm working on some fairly interesting stuff (next gen dev tools), I'm just not feeling it. 

    They pay fairly well, but not as much as I was making at my last job,  And, you know, I'm not super impressed with the quality of folks I'm working with...I see a lot of "MS Entitlement"... folks that have only ever had one job, been here for 10 years, and now somehow think they don't have to work unless it's something they _want_ to do. I had one dev...the guy dragged 2 weeks work out over 3 months, the tester had to fix a bunch of his work, and I'm still finding things he didn't do that he was supposed to.   In the real world I would have fired him in a heartbeat, but here he gets to go on to a better gig in another group. 

    Sometimes being a professional means doing stuff you don't really enjoy...apparently they don't spend a lot of time teaching professionalism to their new-grad hires.

    On the other hand, there are a few guys here I really respect...guys who are 10 years younger than me and I still think "damn, I've got a lot to learn from this one...", usually it's about how to negotiate the political landscape here, but that's a big part of my job.

    Anyway, this is a whole other discussion :)

    -cw



  • Ahh...  you're still really new to Microsoft.  Some free advice then

    1) Never, ever ever ever ever ever work for ITG (or OTG or MSIT or whatever they're called this week). They're an expense, and because of that, have very little budget.

    2) Once you hit your year, try and get on the PIX team (Digital Image Suite (sometimes called PictureIt!) and the Photo Library in Vista). Everyone on that team is great. Well, and they have all sorts of digital cameras that you can borrow for the weekend if you're so inclined. :)

     



  • Buy a computer without a productivity suite.  Sell a computer with a productivity suite.  Or just give it to a friend.  Also, tons of people on ebay sell tickets by selling an item (like a pen) and throwing in "free" tickets with the pen.



  • Microsoft can try to create trouble, but ultimately that "not for resale" sticker is just a polite request for people not to buy it from you. It has no legal force. There is something called the "first sale doctrine" which means that anything which has been given or sold to you can be resold, in a complete form, to any other entity.

    There are limits on this with regards to software, due to those dubious EULAs that you have to agree to when you install the software. However, everybody agrees that if you are holding a sealed box that you obtained fairly, you can damn well do whatever you want with it so long as it remains sealed and you don't attempt to do anything with the software yourself.

    Exactly the same thing holds true with those multipack bags of crisps - it is entirely legal for you to buy a 12-pack, open it, and sell the individual packs to different people. The labels saying "not for sale separately" are just a request, you can ignore them if you want. In general this is true for any physical item that you can own, unless you enter into a contract where you agree to do otherwise. 



  • Technicality?

    Hmmm...that's kinda what I had been thinking.

    I've noticed that on the actual package I received at the MS event, it says, "Software not for resale."  Now, the actual Office professional 2007 software is nowhere in that package; all that package contains are product keys for the software.  In order to obtain the software, you have to download the trial version of it and then use the product keys listed in the package.

    As software makers everywhere are so fond of telling me, they don't actually sell me the software, they sell me a license to use the software.  In my case, I would be doing the same thing.  I would not be reselling any software, just product keys.

    Grrr...this just bugs me so much.  I went to their event, I listened to their spiel all afternoon, and they gave me something of value.  It doesn't have any value for me, but it would for other people.  I have something I don't want, that other people do want and are willing to give me money for, so why I can't I just make that exchange?  Microsoft still got to advertise to me for 4 hours.  Their software still ends up in the hand of someone who's willing to pay for it and will likely tell all his friends how awesome it is...So what's the deal?  Why should I even have to think about this?



  • @UncleMidriff said:

    the actual Office professional 2007 software is nowhere in that package; all that package contains are product keys for the software.  In order to obtain the software, you have to download the trial version of it and then use the product keys listed in the package.

    @asuffield said:

    In general this is true for any physical item that you can own, unless you enter into a contract where you agree to do otherwise. 

    Emphasis is mine.  You don't have a physical item, you have permission to unlock a trial version.  I'm not sure if that permission is resaleable :)    It's your call, but I'd take a look at the accompanying license and see what it says.  

    How did that other auction turn out?

    -cw

     



  • @CodeWhisperer said:

    How did that other auction turn out?

    -cw

    I've seen various people sell theirs for anywhere from $200 to $300.  Now that more are popping up on eBay, though, the prices seem to have come down a bit.



  • @CodeWhisperer said:

    You don't have a physical item, you have permission to unlock a trial version.  I'm not sure if that permission is resaleable :) 

    It is. Consider what a gift voucher actually is - this is the same thing. Just about anything that's represented by a physical item can be resold. The courts would say that the intangible "permission" is tied to possession of the cardboard, and otherwise treat it like any other object.

    It gets more complicated when you have to deal with things that don't have a physical form (like an email message containing product keys). The status of things like that is decidedly unclear. But if there's a real physical token involved, it's easy.



  • @asuffield said:

    It is. Consider what a gift voucher actually is - this is the same thing.

    Hmm... I suppose you're right.  I suspect they'd still put up a fuss if they caught you trying to sell it, but it might just be a paper tiger.  Personally I wouldn't.

    On a different topic, I came in to work today to find every coffee machine, bathroom stall door, glass partition, and slow moving developer festooned with little fake sticky notes reminding us of the Vista/Office launch (and an associated presentation going on presently).  Boy, I had almost forgotten, what with the big countdown signs around the campus, the daily news segments, we even had fireworks a couple days ago.   Sheesh...

    -cw



  • Work-around

    Bidding starts at $249

    Buy-It-Now for $299

     

    You are bidding on one unsealed plain white security envelope.

     

    When you receive this envelope, you will find a gift from me. This gift is one key code for Microsoft Office 2007 and one key code for Microsoft Groove 2007. Both keys are for the full versions of their respective software.



  • I have a suggestion.

    Why don't you, I dunno, actually try the software? Seriously, I picked up a free copy at the same event you did, and I love it. I've only used Word 2007 so far, but I've *really* liked what I've used. My only complaint is that the software can be a little.... clunky. Slow. It's definitely a memory and processor hog, that's for sure.

     

    Of course, that means it's just like Open Office. You should be quite happy with it.



  • @Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Over. said:

    I have a suggestion.

    Why don't you, I dunno, actually try the software? Seriously, I picked up a free copy at the same event you did, and I love it. I've only used Word 2007 so far, but I've *really* liked what I've used. My only complaint is that the software can be a little.... clunky. Slow. It's definitely a memory and processor hog, that's for sure.

     

    Of course, that means it's just like Open Office. You should be quite happy with it.

    That certainly is an option...but I'd rather have a Wii instead. :-)  Of course, I could just go out and buy a Wii with money I already have, but that wouldn't be half as fun.



  • @asuffield said:

    Microsoft can try to create trouble, but ultimately that "not for resale" sticker is just a polite request for people not to buy it from you. It has no legal force. There is something called the "first sale doctrine" which means that anything which has been given or sold to you can be resold, in a complete form, to any other entity.

    There are limits on this with regards to software, due to those dubious EULAs that you have to agree to when you install the software. However, everybody agrees that if you are holding a sealed box that you obtained fairly, you can damn well do whatever you want with it so long as it remains sealed and you don't attempt to do anything with the software yourself.

    Exactly the same thing holds true with those multipack bags of crisps - it is entirely legal for you to buy a 12-pack, open it, and sell the individual packs to different people. The labels saying "not for sale separately" are just a request, you can ignore them if you want. In general this is true for any physical item that you can own, unless you enter into a contract where you agree to do otherwise. 

    IANAL: Your last statement isn't true. The "not for sale separately" is NOT a request. It is part of a contract between Hostess (or whoever) and ABC Grocery Store. ABC agrees to buy a case of twinkies for cheap, but only if they resale them in packs. Just like the "do not remove tag" on a matress, that is a contract between the manufacturer and the suplier and has nothing to do with you.

     Now for your first statement. If I handed you a box, and said here its yours for free. Sure you can sell it. On the other hand, if I said "I will only give this box to you if you agree to not resale it" Now we have a contract, and you will be breaking that contract. For example, if I buy a product from my company store, for cheap (which is label "Not For Resale") I am purchasing that with the contract that I will not resale it. But if I give it to a friend or family member, then there is no contract between that person and the company I purchased it with.

    Typically the "Not For Resale" sticker is to tip off a buyer that they are buying a product on the grey market. Most resalers (used bookstores, etc) will not buy a product that is labeled as such.

    Now I bet if you read the fine print of your class, you will see something along the lines of if you take the product key, you are agreeing to not resale the item.



  • @chrismcb said:

    Now for your first statement. If I handed you a box, and said here its yours for free. Sure you can sell it. On the other hand, if I said "I will only give this box to you if you agree to not resale it" Now we have a contract, and you will be breaking that contract. For example, if I buy a product from my company store, for cheap (which is label "Not For Resale") I am purchasing that with the contract that I will not resale it. But if I give it to a friend or family member, then there is no contract between that person and the company I purchased it with.

    Typically the "Not For Resale" sticker is to tip off a buyer that they are buying a product on the grey market. Most resalers (used bookstores, etc) will not buy a product that is labeled as such.

    Now I bet if you read the fine print of your class, you will see something along the lines of if you take the product key, you are agreeing to not resale the item.

    Here's the only thing I could find:

    "** FREE copy of Microsoft Office Professional 2007 and Microsoft Office Groove 2007. Offer good only to registered attendees of event on the date they attend, while supplies last. This offer is nontransferable. Limit one item each per attendee. Taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the recipient. The free software will be distributed as a downloadable file. To download the software, an access code will be required. The access code must be claimed onsite at the event."

    Now, please excuse me while I grasp at straws ;-):

    What do they mean by "offer?"  They say the "offer is only good to registered attendees of the event on the date they attend, while supplies last."  Does that mean I can't go download my free software now since the date I attended the event has long since passed?  Or are they referring to the giving of the resource kit to each attendee when they say "offer?"  It makes a difference, because the next sentence says that the offer is nontransferable.

    If they are referring to the contents of the resource kit when they say "offer," then that means I can't sell those contents...heck, I can't even give them to a friend.  But it also means that I can't even get the software for myself now, since it is no longer "on the date I attended" the event.  If they are referring to the giving of the resource kit to each attendee, then that means I couldn't register myself for then event and then send my brother or coworker to go pick up the resource kit for me.

    They have the same statement on the page that you go to to download your software (http://launchtour2007.com/download/), except the statement is attached to the following:

    "On the product page, click "Try now for FREE!"*"

    And that doesn't make a damn bit of sense, because the free trial page they link to is accessible by anyone.  Just go to office.microsoft.com, click Products at the top, click "Try the 2007 release" toward the top, click the "Download Now" button, then click the "Try Now" button for Office Professional 2007.  Do a little registering and there you go, you're downloading the free trial, without any mention anywhere of any requirement to attend an event.  So attaching that statement to "Try now for FREE!"*" doesn't make any sense to me.

    I'm about to just say the heck with it and do whatever I please, and I realize that in the time I have been thinking about all this, I could have gotten a paper route or something and earned enough money to go buy a Wii.  So yeah, I realize this is all a bit silly, but I find the discussion interesting regardless.


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