Every day you are inundated with advertisements for cheap licences to activate Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. Most providers last two to three years on the market, then Microsoft’s lawyers shut them down. Lizenzfuchs, Lizengo, Tornadosoft & Co. are examples of illegal business models based on fraud and copyright infringement.
Anyone who falls for such providers and resells their products as a computer service provider, for example, is liable to prosecution and to damages from their customers. If you use their licences as a user, you have to reckon with Microsoft demanding that you enter a valid licence at any time: Windows goes up and down as part of an upgrade, Windows and Office licences are checked in the background, your activation key obtained from mangy licence foxes or Alibaba and the 40 thieves has been blocked in the meantime, with the result that renewed product activation fails. Now you have to buy a new licence. Because your supplier may already no longer exist at this point and will not be able to supply a replacement.
Licences with an “expiry date“
The illegal business is mainly based on the denomination of volume licences. A volume licence allows a natural or legal person to use a software on a large number of devices – for example 50, 100, 200 or 500 computers or laptops. However, the licence foxes sell such a volume licence not to one, but to a large number of natural or legal persons, with the proviso that each customer may only use it for one activation on one device. The legal consequence is that the first customer still acquires a right to use the licence, but the second and each subsequent customer no longer has such a right. This is because the licence fox cannot sell a right that he himself has not previously acquired. Microsoft clears up these multiple sales and blocks the licences as soon as it becomes apparent that the volume licence is being used by several natural or legal persons.
Illegal data carriers
For data carriers with Microsoft products, especially DVDs and USB data pens, only a few large companies and Microsoft itself can be considered a serious source of supply. Many smaller suppliers – including those that are registered in Germany – sell data media from illegal overproduction. Some of the companies that produce such media simply keep their machines running after they have produced the quantity ordered by Microsoft. Such data carriers from illegal overproduction are indistinguishable from legal software. Anyone who trades with them is liable to prosecution – without being able to recognise it.
It is better to use the original Microsoft downloads linked at SoftwareFair and refrain from buying data carriers and, above all, from trading with them! These downloads are completely free of charge and freely accessible even without buying a licence. The renunciation of data carriers from foreign sources saves money and creates legal security for you.
SoftwareFair KSP GmbH sells OEM and retail licences for Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office intended for the European market for use by one natural or legal person per licence on exactly one computer or laptop. And we have been doing this since 2014. We existed before Lizenzfuchs, Lizengo, Tornadosoft and others started their pushy advertising campaigns, and we will continue to exist in the future, when the now pushy advertising successors of these providers will have gone down the drain with their piecemeal volume licences just like their predecessors.
Whoever buys from us is legally on the safe side – this year, next year and in another 10 and 20 years.
Piecemeal volume licensing continues
The illegal business models of “Lizenzfuchs” and “Lizengo” are unfortunately being continued by other software providers. Customers who buy licences there cannot use the software permanently. These dubious providers make a fast buck and thus spoil the reputation of the entire industry.
We have therefore filed civil claims for injunctive relief against several dozen competitors who illegally chunk MAK volume licences of Microsoft products – based on competition law. Several dealers have responded reasonably and ended their illegal business model. Others are bombarding us with fake reviews on Google to vent their frustration about the warning letters.
According to information available to us, Microsoft will take criminal and civil action against the illegal traders in the coming months. Those who still think they can ignore the legal situation in Europe will pay a high price.