Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations - Eric Ligman

Eric Ligman, Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations Blog

Should Everyone Who Buys This Be Fired?

Late last week there was a post in a User Group about an online site listing NFR (Not For Resale) Microsoft software for sale. (First, if the fact that a site is listing “NOT FOR RESALE” software FOR SALE doesn’t tip you off that something is wrong, you might want to do a web search for a short skit entitled, “Here’s Your Sign” by Jeff Foxworthy and listen to it) Well, over the weekend I went up to look at this site that people were debating about and instantly it occurred to me that the question that should be being asked is not, “Is this legitimate?” it should be, “Should everyone who buys something like this be fired?”

Here’s a picture of the item in question that I put into a PPT slide so I could add a few notes (in red callouts). I have removed all URLs of this item from the picture along with any reference to what site it is on since the point of this post is about what the listing says (meaning regardless of what site you see things like this on, remember the points below remain the same), this is not a post specifically about one site. So here’s basically what this item is telling you:

1) If you see “NFR” listed on an item, it means it is a NOT FOR RESALE piece of software. It is NOT to be resold. If you buy it, then they resold it to you, and it states it is not to be resold. Anyone see a problem yet? You can see more about this in our previous post on the topic.

2) Look at the footnote they have in Red, “This is a fully functional original Microsoft CD with installation key code and CD. On the CD it states you must legally own a copy of their license to use this CD.” Hello? Anyone home? Remember that when you buy software, from any company, you are buying the rights to use the software according to the terms of the license agreement you purchase. They just told you that this item DOES NOT COME WITH A LICENSE! So what are you buying? Nothing! You have no legal right to install the software contained on the CD they are listing because you are not buying a license.

So let’s sum this up… They want you to pay them $169.99 for an item that cannot be resold and that you have no rights to install or use. In fact, if you do install and use that software, you have just installed an unlicensed copy of software which makes you potentially liable for up to $150,000 in fines PER INSTALL! You can see more about potential fines for unlicensed software use at What a deal!

So back to my original question, should everyone who decides to spend $169.99 on an item that opens you up to $150,000 in fines per copy and introduces unlicensed software into your company which has the potential to severely damage the reputation of your company by dragging you into legal prosecution be fired? That’s up to you to decide. Back when I owned my company, if I found out you did this in my company, yes, I would have fired you.

For more information on safe online tips, internet piracy, etc., be sure to check out a few of these resources:

  1. BSA Anti-Piracy information:
  2. Free Guide to Software Piracy and the Law
  3. Information on Internet Piracy
  4. Microsoft Piracy Site:

For additional information on resources to utilize when you see illegal software being used, we provide that information in the post HERE to help out.

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager
Small Business Community Engagement
This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights