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Serial numbers why can't we sell them?

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I have a question why is it illegal to sell or trade serial number of programs you are not using anymore I do not intend to use it in the future. If I would have bought the program on disk or the boxed version, I could have sold it. So isn't it just right that you should be able to sell your serial number to someone else. I paid just as much for the programs as if I had bought the boxed version in many cases and in mant cases there is a boxed version. I have a lot of Fs2000 programs that I do not use since I use Fs2002, should I not be allowed to sell them or trade them, since they are useless to me. I want to hear other memebers of the sim community point of view on this subject.David AlbrightFAA Flight dispatcherSingle and Mult-engine rated pilot

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You tread upon a sticky legal issue. Most software out there today is licensed. Ergo, you do not own the software - you own a license to *use* the software. There are as a many flavors of licensing schemes out there as there are software. Legally, it all depends on the terms of the license-agreement. Selling a serial number legally is probably a rare find. Many licenses I've read allow you to surrender the product, all copies of it, the license, and all associated materials to someone else. Electronics Boutique resells used software, but in order to do so, the license must have a surrender re-sale clause. Some software is totally non-transferrable - which, to me is silly, but it would probably hold up in court.At some point this whole licensing software idea is going to need serious revamping. I, for one, subscribe to the "book license" policy regardless of the piece of paper some company stuffs in the box (you can install on multiple machines as long as both are not in use by different people at the same time). I sure as hell won't pony up $1500-$2000 for a site-license just because I happen to personally operate 4 computers in my home. I have no moral qualms with this whatsoever. Alternatively, for my own business, I purchased site-licenses for every copy that was in use by my employees - because in that context, it was appropriate.The information age is upon is - and in the next 10 years we will see a boom in the number of families that have computers and software distributed all through the house. The idea that your average family will pony up $20K-$30K in unique software licenses so they can operate a home network is ludicrous.There's a major licensing push right now for music as well where you would not actually own the CD (or other media) that you buy...only a license for you and only you to listen to the contents. Utter silliness.Software and Media companies need to wake the he** up and realize that more stringent copy protection will never fly - it will only perpetuate illegal distribution. They need to make it *easier* to license/own multiple copies of software. Like the prohibition of alcohol in America in the early 1900's, turning the screws tighter will only add fuel to the piracy fire.JPS. What's the answer here in your case? I would sell the software for fair market value and transfer everything in full to the new owner. If you're looking to "run the software for a while"...and then hand a copy to a buddy for a month or two so he can play it, then I would advise against it (strictly from a legal standpoint). Although this kind of "casual-piracy" is commonplace, and the impotus for Microsoft including their wonky XP registration scheme.

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Jason I agree completely with your views on s/ware EULAs.I had hoped that with the move towards the consumer market some years ago the normal 'selling' practices of that market would force the s/ware industry to adopt similar practices, unfortunately that was not the case.I know of no other product range that enjoys such restrictive agreements, especially those (the majority) products that have the EULA inside the shrink wrap so you have to buy before you can read the EULA, and you can't return the s/ware to the store once the wrap is off.As you point out there is a real danger that other products will see this form of 'sale' as very lucrative and adopt a similar approach.It does not help redress the balance when a certain large s/ware producer *appears* to run rings round any judicial ruling and ends up doing what it wants anyway.Rant over :-)

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What I did not mention before was that I tried to sell or trade certain software online, the serial number and because I was not using the programs and certain well known sim companies threadened me with legal action. Are we in the United States or are we in some third world cyber dictatorship with software companies secret police. I bought the software, it doesn't matter if I bought it in a box or downloaded from online and activated with a serial number, I should have the right to sell that software. After being threatened by these companies I asked them to buy there serial number back, they refused. If I had purchased the same software in the box I could go on ebay and legally sell the same software without legal problems. What are these companies afraid of. I know there are a lot of illegal software on the market but these buiness practice need to be changed and they can only be changed by the consumer complaints. I like to hear from some of the software companies that make software with serial numbers and they explain to me why serial numbers can not be sold or traded if the product is only used by one person at a time. Also why you can sell there boxed version but not the same program that was downloaded and than activated with a serial number. Are they not the same piece of software?David AlbrightFAA Flight dispatcherSingle and Mult-engine rated pilot

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I'm afraid the waters are significantly more muddied with downloadable software. I have transferred ownership of downloadable software before through my business, but it involved my contacting the companies and their legal department beforehand. The deal was brokered privately. Not every company is willing to do this, however. With all the piracy in the sim community, most companies in this hobby have neither the means or the resources to enforce or ensure that your copy is "transferred in full". That's a little easier to do with hard media - especially if it contains digital encryption which prevents copying to an alternate medium.People abuse e-bay to promote piracy all the time, and so it's not surprising to me that someone slapped your wrist for trying.I guess this is one of those "caveat emptor" issues when it comes to deciding whether or not you should order downloadable software or get the boxed edition. In general, if you download software from the web and register it - you should expect that it cannot be publically transferred, sold, etc...J

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99.9999999% of all people that sell or give away license keys are software pirates. They give the same key to many different users.Even if you are legit yourself (no proof to the contrary, so I'll give you the benefit of doubt) such actions make you look like just another software pirate.Reselling licenses without physical transference of the product is always wrong, and with downloadable stuff there is no physical product to transfer.If you send me your license key, how can I be sure you have destroyed all copies you made of it (printed, on floppy, backup tapes, CD ROM backup, ZIP disks, etc. etc. etc.).If there is a CD to go with it and it is the original from the manufacturer, I will have least have something to show for my purchase from you other than your email stating I am now the legal owner of that license (if transference of license is allowed of course).

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Well stated. While I can understand the perspective David has, like you stated, the companies have no proof that David isn't selling pirated software, and there lies the problem. And it would be far more time consuming to try to determine who is honestly not using the software anymore and who is just giving away copies to all their friends. So they don't allow this practice to happen at all. Like Joreon stated, most people doing this are involved in piracy so you stand a very good chance of being correct by assuming everyone means ill-will by sharing the registration number.

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Let me say this, what stops a person from buying the boxed version of the software and turning around loading it on the computer, burning a copy and than selling the software. There is no proof either that the person has not burned 5 or 6 copies and is still using the software on his computer. Maybe a good way for companies to handle this is to give so kind of trade up or exchange credit. I have software I have serial number for that I do not use because they are strictly FS2000 programs and I would like to sell, so I can buy FS2002 software. An example of this is FSClouds and FStraffic (ie if Lago software would give me a buy back credit, than maybe comsumers would be happier in the end). If I had bought the boxed version than I would be ahead beacuse I could sell it. Another solution might be that if you could sell your serial number but you would also have to advise the company so they can exchange owners of the serial numbers. I mean there has to be a solution to this problem.David AlbrightFAA Flight dispatcherSingle and Mult-engine rated pilot

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There is a solution that's simple in theory: eliminate software piracy and return honesty and trust to the business.Sadly this is next to impossible to achieve.You state that the seller could retain a copy of the CD, this is true. But the buyer would not be liable to be arrested for posessing pirated software if police were to search his house, so he has that security.Your idea of notifying the software company has merit, maybe some would accept it (though setting up such a system would cost them money, you have to remember that too).

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It's still easier to legally enforce a transaction involving physical goods than something nebulous as a serial number. As I mentioned previously, some companies are digitally encrypting their CD's so that you CAN'T copy them - period. If you need a replacement CD, you have to go through the company directly to obtain it - and then, you must prove you are the authorized owner of said software. Other CD's contain a magic fingerprint that the startup application looks for (like FS2000 - for which many "patches" are available). I find this latter technique most irritating. Microsoft's WPA takes this all a step further by physically binding a digitally signed CD with you, the owner, and the hardware onto which you install said software. High end packages (i.e. Maya, for instance) require hardware dongles or smart cards which serves as an authentication mechanism for the license. Regardless of your take on software copy protection, from a company's standpoint it is MUCH easier and cost effective to enforce copy protection if a *physical* medium is present. Additionally, as someone stated earlier, if a company were to prosecute a software pirate, it is easier to substantiate in court than a registration number that any Tom, Dick, or Harry could have pulled off the Internet.As for a trade-up credit...what do you think "software upgrades" are? This is a good thing and it exists! If you're talking about a vendor/distributor giving in store credit for used software - as I said before: some do, but most don't, and then only "sellable titles" will be taken. I guess I don't see why you feel you deserve a 'buy back' credit in addition to all this. You purchased software for FS2000, you used that software, and you paid a $-value for its use. The company marketted a product for a specific platform and you got what you paid for. Just because you elected to stop using it doesn't mean you are due anything from the vendor or company that sold it to you. Software depreciates like anything else. From an IRS standpoint, software has a 3-year life-span. There is nothing barring you from using that old software other than your personal decision not to use it. And many companies will recognize that you owned the previous version and will offer an inexpensive upgrade path which recognizes your investment in their product. The catch to the latter scenario, is that if you sell the upgrade, you must sell the original with it, because they're a package deal. The upgrade incorporates the "trade-in" value of the original purchase (most upgrade software won't even install without the original software present in one physical form or another). Of course, all this applies to physical tangible merchandise. Selling a registration code publically on the Internet for downloadable media would seem mighty dubious to me. Even if I thought 1% of those cases were legitimate - I would disallow the practice entirely. All a company has in that case is your "word" that you delete the file - an unlikely scenario given you've used the product already for an extensive period of time. There is no sane way for a company to do this without seriously infringing on the customer.In theory, the installer could generate a unique encrypted key and sign your software, and then transmit some kind of public-key to a registration service. This signature could be authenticated everytime you run the software. If you wanted to sell, then it would involve invalidating your keyfile and authorizing another for that particular CD-KEY. This opens up a whole ball of privacy concerns...requires internet connectivity...raises issues about what happens if the keypair is lost (disk failure, new hardware, etc...) - or if the software must be reinstalled, yada yada...enter the nightmare that is WPA. Most companies aren't willing to go that far - it's not cost-effective nor is it customer-friendly. Even Microsoft had to take several steps back from their original vision of WPA. The upshot is that companies just employ a blanket policy of what you can and cannot do with their software - downloaded software just happens to be more restrictive.If you download software from the internet that is activated by some magical code, it's yours...forever :) Enjoy it while you have it, and then, like a good movie, walk out and say, "yeah...that was $20 well spent".J

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J,While I can appreciate the arguments you have made above for their excellent merit and thoughtful presentation, I'd have to disagree with almost all of it (as well as some posts made above).If you keep up with the ever flowing legal grounding for everything being discussed here, you know that the law on much of this is anything but clear. That technology and practice has allowed EULA's, click-wraps, multiple and varied forms of copy protection, etc does *not* mean that any of these things are *legal*. As a matter of fact, the whole idea that the software industry has some legal footing to "license" software to you when you have purchased it prior to agreeing to any license (just like a tire or a meal) is on extremely shaky grounding legally. There has been a few precedent setting cases in this area that have both gone against and for such practices... Conclusion: its still too murky until a case is taken beyond the district courts. Most experts believe the forced practice so loved by the software industry (forced "licensing" of sold products through click-wraps) will never hold up if pressed in the courts. The software industry knows this and hence no case has made it out of the lower or appeal courts to date.In particular, I have to question this statement:"I don't see why you feel you deserve a 'buy back' credit in addition to all this. You purchased software for FS2000, you used that software, and you paid a $-value for its use. The company marketed a product for a specific platform and you got what you paid for. Just because you elected to stop using it doesn't mean you are due anything from the vendor or company that sold it to you."That "buyback credit" statement and the idea that as soon as a purchase is made the value of said purchase is now nil is beyond reasonable thinking in my opinion. If I purchase anything of value, I fully expect it to have some remaining value six months down the line. What you are saying is: if you purchase something and use it, its value is now exhausted... Thank heaven this is *not* how our market economy works: my Palm hand-held has served me well, yet I just sold it a few months ago for a depreciated but worthwhile return.That the software industry has no ancillary resale market that orbits it is proof that the industry has manipulated and distorted its user base into thinking like you presented. It is astounding that after all these years there is no appreciable market for used software. As many briefs have made claim to this, I expect the situation will come to a head in the near future. I have no personal doubt that user rights will prevail in the face of this long standing deception and practices by the software industry.Take care,http://members.rogers.com/eelvish/elrondlogo.gifhttp://members.rogers.com/eelvish/flyurl.gif

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Finally I get one person that can see the light. That above made me think that the software industry with it's license agreement can and have produced software that does not work or make claims that they can't keep. Example you go your local retailer and see a piece of software that you have seen online and read reviews about. After opening the package and installing the software you find that there are things that do not work and things that it claimed it could do it doesn't. Now you wait for the patch...or you hope there will be a patch. Ok say for laughs a patch is made, say a month or two down the road. The programs still does not work right as it was claimed. You wait for the second patch. It gets a little better but never what it claimed to do. Than they come out with version 2, the improved version. You are supposed to pay for the improved version. What has happened in my opinion is that through the license agreement the software comapnies can rush out and produce a inferior piece of software, sell it to the public. You can't take it back to the store and say this does not work I want my money back or tell the software company I want my money back. I tried that and what anwser did I get, wait for the patch and I did until a new version came out. What we the consumer are doing is paying to be beta testers and we can't do a dam thing about it. I am trying to figure out one thing how these pieces of software are getting these good reviews and than when they come out being such pieces of inferior software. Where is the problem? Is it that sites are reviewing software are also the places that these companies are advertising on and the site do not want to loose the advertising money so they give marginal software good reviews. Or is it that companies are lying to the sites and telling them this is a beta version and these things will be fixed and the reviewer believes then and reviews it overlooking the problems. If I go to a site and see a piece of software got a good review I take it on faith that it was tested and the reviewer is telling me the truth. I have purchased that software, I have recently been burned and now I take these reviews with a grain of salt. I have a whole drawer full of software that was inferior and never got patched to work as it was supposed to. I am not trying to point the finger at anyone or anyone site or anyone at this site. We all have to be more careful, starting with the publishers, to the reviewers and even the consumer. If the license agreement for software were changed all this would stop and the consumer would stop seeing inferior software because these companies would be getting the software packages returned and it would start reducing there profit margin. The software would be right when it is first published not on maybe version 6. Now I will get off my soap box and fly my sim. Thank for reading this I hope some of you agree with me on this.David AlbrightFAA Flight dispatcherSingle and Mult-engine rated pilot

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Elrond,I appreciate your thoughts and willingness to lay your opinion out in such detail, but I feel you've taken me somewhat out of context. If you reread my original response, you'll see I am not a proponent of the licensing concept. In fact, I often go to great lengths, to jump past the licensing hoops of software I have legally purchased. I am only illustrating the reality of what is and the motivations the industry has for enforcing a EULA at all. More to the point, is the original posters confusion over why a company would perceive the sale of a registration number would differ from the sale of a "boxed" product. In fact, if you reread my original post, I explicitly state that this whole pay-per-license scheme can't possibly work in the long term. However, whether you love it or hate it, it's how the industry operates and has done so for years. As you noted, EULA's teeter on sketchy legal ground. It's alot harder to enforce a EULA when there's no physical medium present. The whole mechanism is paradoxical. You need the medium to prove ownership, but the EULA says you don't *own* anything...only a piece of paper which permits you to *use* the software within the terms of the agreement - but you can't transfer/sell the paper without giving up the medium (if the EULA allows transferrence at all). So which is it? Who's CD is it? This is why your hand-held differs from software. It's physical, tangible, and it can't be replicated (in theory, one could :) - the concept of ownership is very clear and distinct. You buy it, it's yours. You sell it, it's not. Not so clear with software.There is no mechanism currently in place which allows me to express, "I purchase and therefore own this sequence of data bits, represented as a series of files, that was transmitted via web for storage on my hard drive" Software is for all practical purposes intangible property - all the moreso if it never once touches physical media between the point of origin (the seller) and you the buyer.Some companies even "expire" their licenses and force a renewal fee on users - like a driver's license - again reaffirming this idea that you *own* nothing, therefore you have nothing to sell or transfer (again, I'm NOT advocating this as a moral business practice). The idea is that you "buy the right" not the software itself - there is no value to software. In fact, in places in US tax code, some software purchases can be treated as a professional licensing expenditures - just as you might expense your company registration dues, or pay an attorney annual legal fees. The model is more like buying a ticket for a movie...you buy it, you sit 2 hours for the show, you walk out, and your ticket no longer has value. Walk out an hour into the movie - you still have the ticket but it has no intrinsic value. Are you buying the movie or are you buying the movie experience? The software corrolary to this: are you buying the bits or are you buying the experience the bits deliver? Depends who you ask :) Right now, in many cases, you are buying a "right to use and experience" in one form or another. "But I can experience the software over and over again so isn't that the same as owning it?" Some say yes, some say no. You have the same issue with purchased film - do you own the presentation medium or not? A small company in the state of Utah offered a service allowing customers to bring in their Titanic VHS tapes in to have them edited for content. Paramount had a fit. Lawsuits went flying everywhere. Does Paramount care if I sell my copy of Titanic to you after using it for 5 years? Probably doesn't care one whit. Yeah, I might have copied the movie to my own personal VHS tapes, but if they wanted to they could enforce their copyright and there would be tangible evidence to substantiate the claim - but this is the "fringe" case. Now what happens when I start buying my movies online as .mov's? Will Paramount suddenly care if I sell my .mov file - you bet your shorts they will...how easy it has become now to distribute this ONE copy ALL OVER THE WORLD to virtually anyone who wants it! Dollars and profit in the toilet disappearing at exponential rates. You can rest assured they are as paranoid as the music industry is over the proliferation of MP3's.Does that suck? Yes. Is it unfortunate for the consumer? Absolutely. Does it surprise me - not really - because there is no model that correctly accomodates this massively huge spectrum of multimedia, and protects both the rights of the consumer and the people making it. The software industry loses mega-$ to piracy (right now, that balance is regrettably shifted far and away from the consumer). It would be convenient if the topic of software ownership was really as cut and dry as it might be for your toaster or your palm pilot, but it isn't. Here's another key (and disturbing) difference to consider: in the software industry, companies are permitted to knowingly ship defective software w/ ABSOLUTELY ZERO WARRANTY WHATSOEVER. Windows 2000 shipped with nearly 60,000 known bugs. Enter the EULA which may (or may not) offer you the right to get a less-defective version of your product free of charge. Who would buy a car in this manner? Or your palm pilot for that matter? "Here's a refrigerator, and we'll have the freezer working in a future service pack?" When did you last hear of a software recall? Yet we continue to buy software in this manner. In many regards the consumer is as much at fault for perpetuating this cycle because the modus operandi in most of the software industry is "ship now, fix later - and they will flock to it in droves". The other major fubar is that with few exceptions, you can't "try before you buy". You could play with your toaster, fiddle with your palm pilot, or test drive your car before you committed to the purchase. You have no way of verifying the integrity of software unless you pony up the cash first, but once you do - you're in the movie and your ticket is void. Catch 22. Fortunately, there are a few reputable businesses like EB which allow you to return software you simply "don't like" and sell the software you no longer use. The onus is on the consumer to vote such business practices with their dollars (or pounds, or euro, etc...).Anyway...if one lives in this century and is surprised at the reality of EULA's, you have got to be living in a bubble. The industry *does* work this way and has worked this way for a very long time. EULA's are the only established mechansim in place for dealing with the wide variety of complexities of this problem - silly and outrageous as some EULA's may be. Regardless of its content, a EULA is only as good as a company's ability to enforce it. It's hard enough to enforce with tangible media - prohibitivly difficult and expensive with no media at all: so it's almost always disallowed. Dishonesty has been around since the beginning of time, but technology has made it a whole lot easier to get away with it. That's the bud that your corporations would like to nip.The system is broken and I agree that this issue must inevitably come to a head. However, I think it will get worse for consumers before it gets better. That said, sucks as it might, if you purchase and download software you might as well treat it as an exhaustible expenditure with finite liftime (just like your movie ticket), and once you've "experienced" it there is no incentive - zero...doughnut...for distributor or manufacturer to buy it back from you or to believe you if you promise not to use it again. The days of the honor system are dead. The world is fraught with frivilous litigation and ridiculous lawsuits against which companies must insulate themselves. The consumer has, in many ways, become the enemy. A strange dichotomy indeed.Welcome to the 21'st century and the era of corporate government :)J

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Count yourselves lucky!Most business software forces you to pay an annual fee.You end up buying the thing every year! Most of the software is very old dating to the Cobol days, usually running on Unix platforms.Often to get it to run properly, there are expensive 'programming fees' involved.What has never been settled is what should the license cost?Some of that crappy software mentioned above costs $50,000 to install with a $5,000 annual fee. The last place I worked, if you pressed certain keys on the keyboard, the program would end or other keys would send weird print commands like 100 form feed to the printer etc.All because of very sloppy and lazy programming.The other side of the coin is that I've seen $9.99 software that just blows me away. Elegantly written and great to use.I take it all with a pinch of salt! Sure, I always click the 'Agree' button. What? I'm gonna click 'disagree' & return it to the place I bought it. I make sure I'm informed about the software I buy.Even then, I can end up with something that I just don't like about it, that the reviewers missed. It didn't even occur to me that I could 'sell' the software to someone else till I came upon this thread. Actually, I'm sure that if I remove it I'd get better frame rates!

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Not to go off on a tangent,But I think that another idea more software companies should be looking at is a demo version. I know I was extremely dissapointed to find that in the PSS airbus, many (if not most) of the buttons on the overhead and pedestal are painted on. I know you can't simulate a cockpit lock, but do like Dreamfleet, and at least give us a dummy switch!Many people feel that they didn't get what they expected could be solved by a demo...

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