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The counterfeit notification

Clicking the counterfeit notification gives the user the ability to purchase a new license

Upgrading from an openly pirated version of windows costs a mere $149

The checkout process completed
Users running illegal copies of Windows XP are being offered discounted purchase prices

Recently in the DailyTech labs we had a test bed machine that was giving us "this copy of Windows is not genuine" messages. Last week we tried to remedy the message by following Microsoft's recommended course of action, which was to verify the copy through its website and purchase a legitimate key. When we attempted to do so, Microsoft's website indicated that the upgrade service was not available to US customers (or any customers as far as we could tell).

On a whim we tried again this evening and it appears that Microsoft has updated its website and now allows US users of pirated or counterfeit versions of Windows XP to buy legitimate keys for $149 each -- a unique key is still required for each computer that runs Windows XP. The full version of Microsoft Windows XP Professional retails for $249.99, which means if you purchase the CD and key from Microsoft, there is a net savings of $100.  The OEM version of Windows XP can be purchased online from online vendors, but this discounted version requires the purchase of hardware.  Microsoft waives all shipping and handling charges, but sales taxes is still added onto the purchase. 

The new Genuine Advantage program is intended for unsuspecting users who have inadvertently purchased counterfeit copies of Windows XP. To fight against piracy while allowing honest customers to go legit, Microsoft is allowing users a discounted purchase option while informing users that an authentic Windows XP will benefit from greater support and security. All high risk security updates are still available via Windows Update for illegitimate copies of the operating system, but non-critical updates require legitimate keys.

Last month DailyTech reported that pirated versions of Windows Vista would be crippled. It appears that Microsoft will begin using more aggressive tactics to persuade users to purchase legitimate copies of the Windows operating system.

People looking for instant gratification however will be disappointed. Once a customer purchases the "Genuine Advantage Kit" from Microsoft's website, it may take up to 10 days before the product key is sent. Users will also receive a Windows XP CD in the mail, but this will take 2-4 weeks for delivery. A Microsoft Passport account is also required to receive your CD key, but an account can be created for free within a few minutes.

Microsoft previously had a program where users would send in the pirated installation disc as well as a receipt of where the illegal copy of Windows XP or system it came on was purchased from. The requirement was later scratched because it was decided that the process was too much of a hassle for consumers.  Microsoft still has other methods of "getting legit," including a program where you can get a free copy of Windows if you reveal the source where you obtained the pirated copy.

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Rationalizations still don't make it right
By INeedCache on 5/15/2006 2:59:36 PM , Rating: 2
"Copying something illegally really isn't stealing." Yea, right, whatever you want to believe. It truly amazes me how all thieves seem to have nothing but pathetic excuses which they use in an attempt to rationalize their actions. All poor people don't steal. Why? Because many know it's wrong, both morally and legally. If you can afford the computer and internet, you can afford the OS, or download a free version of Linux. No, you continue to bitch about MS and Windows, but you still want it more than any other. Maybe some of you should quit bitching, and quit spending $500 on graphics cards, as I know some of you are. And it doesn't matter what you choose to call it, illegal copying is stealing. Hopefully someday you'll feel the joy of having something stolen from you, because I'm sure you'll smile and feel good about how clever someone else was to rob you. Grow up or shut up, you have no defense.

RE: Rationalizations still don't make it right
By Spoonbender on 5/15/2006 3:15:04 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it isn't. It's not "stealing", any lawyer can tell you that. That doesn't mean it's legal or "acceptable", just that it's not theft.

It's stealing when you take someone else's property without their consent. If you use a pirated version of Windows, you aren't "taking Microsoft's property". They've still got it. They've still got Windows, the application, the trademarks, the source code and everything.

RE: Rationalizations still don't make it right
By Nightskyre on 5/15/2006 3:23:59 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong. It is theft of intellectual property.

From Merriam Webster

steal - to take the property of another wrongfully and especially as an habitual or regular practice

steal - To take (the property of another) without right or permission.

Do you notice a trend here? Posession is never discussed.
If you were to come up with a terrific idea for a new product, and someone took all of your notesmade it to the patent office before you, did they steal your notes, or your ideas? They took both, but they took your ideas without a hacksaw and a drill. And, by the way, you still have them.

By Great Googly Moogly on 5/15/2006 5:03:30 PM , Rating: 2
No. The term you're looking for is copyright infringement.

RE: Rationalizations still don't make it right
By TomZ on 5/15/2006 7:23:09 PM , Rating: 3
It's unreal to me that you folks would argue about the semantics of stealing vs. copyright infringement. Regardless of what you call the act of copying and using software that you have no right to use, it is illegal and wrong.

By Great Googly Moogly on 5/15/2006 8:05:54 PM , Rating: 3
I didn't argue at all, and I'm not one of these "folks". I corrected his erroneous post, that's all.
Calling it theft is just as ridiculous as someone claiming you have the right to infringe on anyone's copyright. In the eyes of the law, theft is not copyright infringement and copyright infringement is not theft. They are two separate things in the law for a reason.

Semantics, this is not.

By mindless1 on 5/20/2006 7:07:10 AM , Rating: 2
It's unreal that you keep thinking you know what "wrong" is to anyone but yourself.

No you don't!

It is illegal. Any other nonsense you try to tack on after that basic fact, is a delusion based upon your previous life experiences. No one else shares that same experience set and no one else cares what you think is unreal. Bet you $100 you do something that others find unreal, immoral, wrong, etc and so forth.

You are not our moral compass, unless one's own morals indicate that their actions must coincide with the laws of their land, and even then it is only coincidence that your morals might coincide.

What is really wrong? Taking the easy way out and using Windows at all. What does it do? It prevents innovation, stagnates the market, directly interferes with security world-wide, and evermore important systems society depends upon. Why is this? All because windows made lay people think they were technically savy by giving them a way to control something with the click of a mouse. The classic illusion of power and control, which is in itself, unreal and wrong.

RE: Rationalizations still don't make it right
By InternetGeek on 5/15/2006 5:01:57 PM , Rating: 2
Just to elaborate the point further. Read the License. You don't own the software, you paid for the right to use it. The moment you use it without paying you are using something that you were not given permission for. That's stealing.

Besides nothing says you can't buy an xbox 360 to game and a run a linux box to do the rest. And it is VERY MUCH CHEAPER on the long run.

By mindless1 on 5/20/2006 7:11:25 AM , Rating: 2
I have to wonder, after someone reads thorough and complete explainations of exactly what it is and isn't, over and over and over

and over and over
and over and over again,
how can they still make the blunder of thinking that if they just write "stealing" one more time, that this time it's magical, extra special super duper text that transforms reality to whatever you just typed?

It was never "stealing" and it never will be.

By jconan on 5/16/2006 2:28:18 AM , Rating: 2
isn't copying the amount to plagarism? not stealing... i'm sure ms copies a lot of stuff from other corporations and ideas or are they stealing and selling you their pirated i.p.?

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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