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Microsoft sues UK retailer Comet over fake Windows discs

By Leeky · 30 replies
Jan 4, 2012
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  1. Software giant Microsoft is suing UK electronics retailer Comet after it became apparent the store chain allegedly created, then sold 94,000 unauthorized "recovery" CDs to customers for Windows XP and…

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  2. LOL they made fake copys of windows then sold them. LMFA well they are screwd glad i dont own shars in this company
  3. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,463   +633

    Yep they are *ucked.

    Making copies and then selling = screwed.

    MS doesn't get a cut of your sales for those copies dumb asses it when straight into their pockets what did they expect was going to happen.
  4. They did not make fake copies of windows, they made recovery discs so if your computer crashes you can boot from the disc and restore your system from a backup or do other repairs. They did not have a right to make a profit though.

    Anyone can make a recovery disc, I do it every time I get a new PC, its an option in every new windows install, it's built right in, just pop in a blank CD and type system repair disc in windows search and follow the next 2 or 3 clicks to burn a copy.
  5. freedomthinker

    freedomthinker TS Enthusiast Posts: 140

    If this is the case, they could probably sue half of Europe and Asia. Seriously, most retailers use fake copies, at least thats the case is this side of Europe !
  6. wait what ?

    each machine comes with a license does it not?

    and the copy of windows is just a COPY with no license... which is fine .. they are providing a service of making a disk for the customer.

    or is this NOT the case? PC did not come with license? and used a hack to activate?

    Its NOT clear here.
  7. I don't see the problem, it's not like they were selling actual copies of Windows with fake or invalid CD keys. They were simply selling installation disks, you must actually own or purchase a license to install and register Windows. Microsoft should be providing their own recovery disks. In fact I own a license for all my copies of Windows, however I download the untouched installation iso from torrents since Microsoft doesn't provide recovery disks with new computers. If that's breaking the law, well Microsoft can go eff themselves.
  8. jester376

    jester376 TS Booster Posts: 54

    This statement is entirely false. They didn't make them from the computer, they manufactured them out of another company. So, if customers try to reinstall windows with these discs, they won't get a genuine windows install like they would from a set of recovery discs of the current OS on the computer. Microsoft will know that the installed version is not a genuine windows and then the customer will not get updates and will have a slew of problems. Like Microsoft said, this is unfair to the customer, and on another token, Comet is stealing profits from Microsoft as well.
  9. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,924   +712

    Thats not at all what is being done here, they aren't selling them as full retail copies, just a disc that allows you to reinstall your os with your original license key. Imagine you buy a laptop with a recovery partition and the hard drive crashes? How are you suppose to reinstall your OS? You have a key just no means to install it, so you either bring it to your local computer repair shop where they'll put in a disc corresponding with your version of windows. Now why not just buy a disc to do this yourself? The only illegal part of what is being done here is the sale of the discs themselves. A genuine windows install is in the license key not the disc, but there are disc that exist that bypass the need for such a code and they are the real problem.
  10. No it's not false. There is a big difference in selling a pirated copy of "Windows" as some have said and selling a recovery disc... That's all I was pointing out. Don't argue for the sake of arguing. I never said they made them from a computer I'm saying anyone can make one legally, I always make a back up and a recovery disc of my installs, if I were to just make a backup how could I recover my install if my computer won't even boot up, well I would need a recovery disc.
  11. Comet don't have a leg to stand on - it's pretty much an open and shut case.

    If Comet had been providing a "service" to customers and "acting in their best interests" it would not have needed to set up a factory to produce these discs or to charge £14.99 (about $23.50) for them - effectively charging customers again for unofficial copies of software they have already paid for. Also mickeyshaft provide the means for the end user to produce their own recovery media for the price of a few DVD-R's.
  12. supportme

    supportme TS Rookie Posts: 31

    If Comet had just given the CDs or helped the customers for free then it wouldn't matter. But they charged the customers.
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,944   +3,992

    To the best of my knowledge, M$ doesn't actually sell computers. That said, it isn't incumbent upon them to supply anything. "Recovery discs", are the province of the actual manufacturer, eMachines, HP, or whomever.

    OEM Windows discs are supposed to be installed with an "OEM preinstallation kit. In practice, the end user normally doesn't get the OEM Windows disc, but rather a C:/ drive image, billed as "recovery discs.
  14. @supportme: Of course they charged the customers. They are providing a service. They are creating recovery discs for the customer. It costs manufacturing fees (time/cost of disc/etc). They should make a profit from such a helpful service that Microsoft sure as hell doesn't provide.

    @captaincranky: It is Microsoft that chose to no longer provide an installation disk, this forced PC manufactures to create and provide recovery discs, which cost them money so they now cheap out by creating recovery partitions. What happens when your harddrive dies or you simply want to upgrade your harddrive?

    The point is Microsoft does not sell or provide recovery discs, neither do PC manufactures. Comet is not selling illegal licenses, only recovery CDs (which you can create yourself for free, and legally). This doesn't hurt anyone. Microsoft is not losing any money, neither are PC manufactures. Only Comet and their customers stand to gain.
  15. WTF k i see that some of you do not understand. They put windows on a DVD then sold or charged a a fee. Did not bother informing microsoft that they were charging a fee and did not give them there cut. First off if they had just it gave away and sed sorry we forgot to give this to with your computer. But no they charged a fee making a profit on a copy they already sold and do not have a license for anymore. that license was trasnfeerd to the customer. LMFA you would think there lawyers would have informd them of this befor going forward
  16. also if Microsoft stoped supplyng these then what right do they have to go behind Microsofts back and make them thereselfs then sell for there own profit. I do not agree with what microsoft is doing. You see they must want you to buy a copy if your computer @%#$$ up or pay a fee to fix it to microsoft. I see what there up to but the law is the law. you can not make your own disk and sell it for any reason. case closed
  17. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 602   +81

    What some ppl are failing to understand is that Comet were not making fake copies of windows and selling them on the store shelfs in a way that MS were loosing out in any sort of the revenue. The copies did not include a product key which is essentially what you are buying when you buy from MS. The OEM sticker would have been included on the PC so MS would have made thier money from the sale but like most modern pcs recovery is just stored on a partition of the HD (it didn't used to be and some resllers still dont) many though prefer a hardcopy so Comet stepped and assisted. Comet could argue that a customer is fully capable of created their own recovery disk by comet offer the creation service for them at an additional charge... law suit gone!
    Its just probs been a bad Q4 for MS so they are looking for ways to increase Q1 revenues to start the year off.
  18. DanUK

    DanUK TS Booster Posts: 220   +12

    Troll much?

    +1 to Emexrulsier though, this is being made out to be a lot worse than it actually is. It's just recovery discs not full blown licenced copies. They're not stealing money from microsoft.
  19. So your typical pirate copy is licensed now? The only licensed copies of windows are those supplied by mickeyshaft themselves.

    A separate company actually manufacturing it's own copies of proprietary software and selling it to their customers for £15 is not just piracy, it's the most ludicrous of idiocy. Any other arguments don't wash.

    You're possibly assuming windows is just a "licence" and that apart from that everyone and their uncle can simply pass burned discs around when it suits their fancy, selling them on for knock down prices even...

    Windows is distributed under a highly restrictive proprietary software licence. When you buy windows, you don't buy "it", you buy a licence to use[i/] "it", on one PC with a certain number of cores. You are allowed to make one backup copy for the same PC. You are not allowed to do anything else. Next time you install windows, maybe read that and if you don't like the terms click no/decline/whatever - because unfortunately the licence does not enable you to manufacture and sell "unofficial" restore discs and flog them for fifteen quid a time...

    If Comet had been giving away these discs with every PC instead of actually selling them on a by request basis, they might have a good case for a defence - if nothing else they could at least claim ignorance. As it stands they will need very good lawyers to get out of this without paying up.
  20. PinothyJ

    PinothyJ TS Guru Posts: 490   +38

    Both parties are in the wrong here with Microsoft failing to give you the appropriate discs whilst keeping the attitude of "you have a burner in that machine, go burn your own!" and leaving it at that. The big problem then comes when you buy an ultrabook or netbook that does not have an optical drive, Microsoft expect you to buy an optical drive just so you can make a recovery disc of an operating system that you legally own.

    Comet should NEVER have charge money for what was not theirs. This would only have been acceptable if the charge simply covered the manufacture of the discs themselves and nothing else; if this were the case than I am standing with Comet on this one.

    Microsoft, Microsoft…
  21. 1) I believe the system vendors have an agreement with mickeyshaft when they ship it's OS that they can provide "system restore media" or whatever you want to call it, the system vendors choose to include this on a partition on the system's fixed disk rather than on optical media (lower costs). So I'm afraid you're wrong and can't blame them for that...

    2) You don't legally own the windows operating system, you own a licence to run it and must comply with the terms of the licence agreement. If you do not like the terms, don't buy/install/accept it.

    Which cannot be proven either way, will not stand up in court anyway and is not permitted under the licence terms of the software either...
  22. @caravel: Huh? No your typical pirated version of Windows is cracked so it doesn't need to be activated with a valid license. You said it yourself, you're buying a license to Windows, not the disc. So selling a disc for recovery purposes without a license is NOT piracy. It depends how you look at it, Comet is charging because it costs them money to create that recovery disc. Nothing is free when provided as a service. Obviously the law will be on Microsoft's side, but you don't have to agree with it.
  23. That's what I said, pirate versions of windows do not ship with a licence...

    The discs Comet distributed also did not have a licence, which some seem to believe makes them legal...?!

    You're buying:

    1) A Licence to use the software.
    2) A disc.
    3) Packaging and documentation.

    You don't automatically get rights to resell and redistribute. All of that aside, Comet are not even the end user so that's somewhat irrelevant anyway...

    Redistributing proprietary software - for "recovery" or otherwise - without a licence is close to piracy (in MS' language it is piracy) - add "selling" to that and you have pretty clear cut piracy. Unauthorised copies were generated and sold for to end users for profit, end users who had already paid for the software - Comet were selling software which wasn't theirs to sell in the first place. Whatever Comet's intent, they have fouled up badly and should have known better. The fellow who authorised this is most likely going to be out of a job, whatever happens next.

    Redistribution with a fee to cover the media, etc is permissible under certain free software licences (MIT, BSD, GNU GPL, etc) but certainly not under any mickeyshaft licence...

    No I think you'll find that it depends on how MS, the lawyers and the courts see it. Right and wrong and our own personal opinions don't come into it.

    Comet should not have created the recovery discs - they are just a reseller - such agreements are formed with the OEM. Comet are squarely to blame here and pulling the old "in consumers' interests" bollocks is not going to cut it.
  24. @caravel:

    So if it were the PC manufacturer who included the recovery disc with their computers, that would be fine? You don't think they factor in additional costs when pricing their computers? Of course they do, however minor, that recovery disc is included in the price of the computer. Therefore for they are "legally" selling recovery discs.

    As for your comment about buying the license, disc, packaging and documentation. Sure if you purchase from a retail outlet, of course you can buy licenses directly from Microsoft without any disc packaging or documentation.

    Microsoft includes the ability to create your own recovery discs within Windows. Comet is simply doing this for customers who are too computer illiterate to do it for themselves. Of course they're going to charge for such a service.

    You're obviously just looking to argue and come out as being "right". As I said, I know Microsoft has the law on their side, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with it. If you're too ignorant to understand that, then so be it.
  25. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,386   +5,013

    Comet needs to counter sue MS for not supplying a way to recover from a HDD crash. Comet was willing to overlook the issue and fix this stupidity themselves. This wouldn't even be an issue if MS hadn't decided to cut corners and eliminate the hard copy of their work.

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