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Donating Software?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the let-someone-else-make-use-of-it dept.


nuxx asks: "I have a copy of Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition here, with 25 Client Access Licenses which I don't need. I don't want to throw it away, but because it's a Not For Resale copy, I can't list it on eBay. So, I'd like to give it to a charity. It's a completely new, unused, legal copy which was handed to me by a Microsoft rep a few weeks ago, so this should be legal to do. The problem is, I'm not really sure how to donate software to a charity. Does anyone have any experience with this? Do you know of any resources available regarding how to send such donations and which organizations find them useful?"

cancel ×


Have you checked with the MS rep? (4, Informative)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499177)

Two things:
  1. Have you checked with your Mirosoft rep to make sure you can do this?
  2. If "yes", then google it, I know there are web sites where non-profit orgs can post their needs.

This being said, I can't remember the web sites addresses right now. Google is your friend.

Re:Have you checked with the MS rep? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16499257)

Yes, obviously it's more important to get the post entered as quickly as possible than to find the helpful links yourself.

just... (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499191)

give them to me, I won't tell anyone.. promise!!

Anyway, I don't have an idea how to donate a licensed software. Is the software licensed to you? your company? What kind of licensing is it? If there would be any transfer, just be sure you got the supporting documents you need or any sort of written agreement. Wouldn't it be wise to inquire Microsoft with regards to this issue? my $0.02.

Re:just... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499879)

Is the software licensed to you? your company? What kind of licensing is it?

Well, the OP said that the software was unused, so I would assume it isn't licensed to anybody yet. I ANAL, but there are precedents in at least some US District Courts indicating that selling this unused software actually may be legal [] .

Oh, but if you get sued anyway, don't come crying to me.

doesn't matter if it's legal or not... (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 7 years ago | (#16500833)

...what's important is that MS can afford better lawyers than you can.
My favourite IT surplus seller was put out of business after MS threatened them with a long, drawn-out legal battle over the legality of reselling OEM software.

Throw it away (0, Flamebait)

John_Sauter (595980) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499195)

I recommend you throw it away, thereby increasing the average quality of software in the universe. If you want to contribute software to charity, write some high-quality software yourself and contribute it. You might even ask your favorite charity what software they would value first, and write them that.

Re:Throw it away (1)

Fulkkari (603331) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499287)

If you want to contribute software to charity, write some high-quality software yourself and contribute it.

What? Are you suggesting he should write his own Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition? Ofcourse not. Then why should he just throw it away if there's somebody out there who will find it useful, and would maybe buy it otherwise?

Besides, writing software is work. Donating software isn't. I don't think extra work was on his mind when he was posting this to Slashdot.

Re:Throw it away (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16500451)

yep throw it away!

Do you really want to inflict a Windows server on a charity? do you really dislike charities?

Maybe you could burn them a nice copy of Debian Linux that they could use on a server insteaad, it would run for longer.

If you really don't want to waste the disk then use it as a coaster!

Re:Throw it away (1)

BiggyP (466507) | more than 7 years ago | (#16500895)

Setting up said charity for the pain misery and cost of running and upgrading windows server 2003 is probably not a terribly charitable thing when you think about it, I know Microsoft would be very pleased though.

Re:Throw it away (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#16501179)

Oh, I don't know, writing an entire OS with all the features of Windows Server 2003 couldn't take more than just a couple hours, right? Someone should do that!

Re:Throw it away (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499365)

Ah, but he wants to decrease the maximum value of his taxes.

Re:Throw it away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16501371)

IANAA (I am not an American)

Common sense tells me that you can't claim for taxes anyways unless you also claim getting it as income in the first place.

Re:Throw it away (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16503595)

A percentage of assets donated to a charitable organization can be deducted from income.

For instance, I was able to 'sell' my brother my previous car without him having to pay sales tax on the sale(there is an exception for immediate family), and then he was able to donate the car and deduct something like 30% of the value on his taxes.

Another example would be a gift from a family member less than $10,000; it does not need to be declared as income, but any donation could be declared.

Basically, the tax code has nothing to do with common sense.

Re:Throw it away (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 7 years ago | (#16500629)

I recommend you throw it away, thereby increasing the average quality of software in the universe.

LOL. You should start a technology version of the darwin award.

techsoup (5, Informative)

Mabonus (185893) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499239)

I work at a non-profit, but not the do-goody tipe. Whenever someone asks where they can get donated software I usually hear a reference to [] - so I'd check there first.

Agreed (2, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499599)

I've worked with a few Not For Proffit organizations in the past, and we've always gone through TechSoup for our needs. Great organization.


Tech soup has limits (3, Informative)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 7 years ago | (#16500521)

The parent is right Techsoup is a great place to start, and as the other poster said the prices are pretty low so many may just prefer to buy from them.

But not every non-profit can benefit from the offerings at techsoup (depends on the 'donator' and thier restrictions) For microsoft the restrictions listed are:

"Microsoft products are not available for distribution to educational institutions (including K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and trade schools), political organizations, religious organizations (except for those with a secular community designation), healthcare networks and healthcare research organizations, or private foundations. Please consult our complete list of ineligible organizations for more information."

Schools have thier own discounted licensing plan (might be higher $$ though), so if I wanted to help the unhelped I'd probably help my local church, foundation or healthcare research organization.

Re:techsoup (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16500365)

Techsoup Stock is the registered MS partner for their software donations. This means you can buy _any_ MS product for substainially reduced rates if you are a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Windows XP upgrades are $8 - Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition 64-bit is $160.
This is a fantastic resource for nonprofits and nonprofit IT managers (like me). They also offer software from Adobe, Symantec & Cisco equipment, amongst others. Excellent resource.
The answer to your question might be that it is actually cheaper & easier for many nonprofits to buy software than figure out the legalities of donating it! Or, if you can indeed donate it, donate it to a charity that is not able to meet techsoup's requirements.


NGO in need (4, Informative)

j35ter (895427) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499263) []
They might need it, since their "server" runs XPpro and they get a bunch of volunteers to work there.
As for the legal stuff, you dont need to transfer this license, since the installation can be performed "in your name", hence you are still the owner of this product, but you grant the organisation an exclusive right to use this software (you dont sell or give away, you just let them use it instead of you)

If it seems to good to be true... (4, Informative)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499281)

...then it probably is. I'm guessing the Not For Resale editions are only for developers and/or demos. For example the Windows XP EULA says:
10. NOT FOR RESALE SOFTWARE. Software identified as "Not For Resale" or "NFR," may not be sold or otherwise transferred for value, or used for any purpose other than demonstration, test or evaluation.
So NFR is Microsoft-legalspeak for "trial version" and I'd be very surprised if it meant something else in different software packages. br>
Source: a.mspx []

Re:If it seems to good to be true... (3, Insightful)

Raynor (925006) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499347)

It says 'transferred for value' so I think taking a tax cut for the donation is right out :)

But hey, i've been evalutating WinZip for a little while now... ... and it works pretty well. I think it needs more testing.

IMHO donating to charity shouldn't be a problem, but I agree: Check with the rep.

Re:If it seems to good to be true... (3, Insightful)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499541)

If you've never opened the package then it would be hard to argue that you have consented to the EULA. Did the MS rep get you (or your employer) to enter into any other contract before he handed it to you?

Re:If it seems to good to be true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16503643)

Doesn't matter. The RECIEVER of it has to approve the EULA when installing. The RECIEVER will be the liable party.

Re:If it seems to good to be true... (4, Informative)

phorest (877315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499611)

My (multiple) copies of 2003 Enterprise Server (NFR) specifically states in the EULA that "The use of this software does not preclude you from using it in a production environment." The big word there seems to be "preclude"

There is even a little fly-sheet included in the book that further states (in effect) -You are very lucky to be the benefactor of Microsofts generous gift-

NFR software is a bit more than trialware and has all the functionality of the retail box version. I have personally bought multiple copies from online vendors, and use them daily in a production environment. Apparently someone is allowed to sell them, as I said before that I did buy them from a reputable Microsoft online reseller (Platinum level I believe).

I have even been able to reinstall it on completely new hardware more than once with a simple phonecall upon activation. I first became aware of NFR copies when I won one at a TechNet event several years ago.

Re:If it seems to good to be true... (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#16501283)

How could the EULA, or any text therein, possibly be relevant in a situation like this? All he did was stand there while some drug dea-- oops, I mean -- some salesman handed it to him. Unless he signed something, what reason is there to suspect he's under any sort of contract? He owns it, and he can hand it off to someone else just like anything else he owns.

Of course, there's the whole question regarding how "charitable" it is to give network-effect-addictive malware to some non-profit org...

Re:If it seems to good to be true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16502447)

Because they would have to accept the EULA when they install the software... duh.

Re:If it seems to good to be true... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16502051)

Yah, except,.... I am not aware of any legal right they have to make those restrictions.

copyright gives them the right to say who may and may not make copies. I have yet to see any law (and please, correct me if I am wrong) that gives them the authority to say what you can do, other than distributing copies, with the software. Its also well established that distribution of a legal copy of a copyrighted work is legal. That is, no book publisher can actually stop me from turning around and giving away or selling a copy of a book that I got legally from them.

I guess you could make the case that laws exist preventing you from dissassembling and "breaking a copy protection scheme". However, thats another beast entirely.

I could be wrong but... thats my take.

Overall though, they are just non-rewritable CDs with no data on them of any value. I would just toss them in the trash or look into recycling.


Re:If it seems to good to be true... (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 7 years ago | (#16503429)

Yah, except,.... I am not aware of any legal right they have to make those restrictions.

It's called the "Right of the biggest wallet": he who holds the gun to your head makes the rules.

Thinking in the term of legal rights is all fine and good, but don't confuse the hypothetical world where right rules to this one where might does. Doing so will simply put yourself beneath the 500-pound gorilla when it sits down.

The basic problem is that Microsoft can simply drag any court case on until you go banckrupt and therefore lose by default. In a civil case it doesn't matter what the laws say, it only matters who can keep paying their lawyers longer.

Here's the problem (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16499683)

You're not allowed to donate the software according to Microsoft. Even if you could transfer it to a charity, in two years they would need to renew it at great cost which they probably can't afford. My suggestion is to give it to a school that can use it to teach students for a couple years then wipe it. Microsoft shouldn't have a problem with that and probably won't sue you or the school and probably won't raid you with the BSA and FBI in tow (though you never know).

eBay it as a "gift" then :) (4, Insightful)

bigpresh (207682) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499687)

because it's a Not For Resale copy, I can't list it on eBay.

So, list a CD case for sale on eBay, which comes with a *free gift* of a copy of Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition then :)

I got one ! (1)

sjebraeili (798050) | more than 7 years ago | (#16499931)

If you're looking for a charity I can't help you. But I used to go to this school where we were able to setup a cyber cafe and start running it. they are paying for licenses every year. if you want i can give you their info and you can donate it to them. the school doesn't really give the team there a lot of money, so they are always looking for help as far as software or money goes.

Sell it to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16500051)

Tell you what, I'll give you twenty bucks for it. You can donate the money to charity, and then nobody hurts.

Microsoft has a nonprofit program (1)

Dammital (220641) | more than 7 years ago | (#16500059)

My 501(c)(3) is a member of Techsoup Stock [] , a sort of clearinghouse for corporate nonprofit programs. Through the Microsoft Software Donation Program an XP-Pro upgrade from an existing licensed copy of Windows is US$8.00 through Techsoup Stock.

Re:Microsoft has a nonprofit program (2, Interesting)

laptop006 (37721) | more than 7 years ago | (#16500225)

Which would cost the charity I'm involved with almost $2k a year, that's well over a month worth of rent and simply an expense that we don't need to pay by using linux.

Simply throw it away (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16500561)

If someone needs NOS, then donate your services to install any flavour of Linux that is out there. Much more secure and stable than any version of Winblow$.

If you don't like Linux, there is also *BSD to consider. Whichever way you choose is fine, as long as you stay away from Micro$haft Winblow$.

The first one is always free... (1)

cylcyl (144755) | more than 7 years ago | (#16500849)

hmmm... a possible attempt to hook a non-profit on MS crack?

Another way might be to give it to a gadget/software blog site and they can start a contest for it. This way, somebody who wants/needs it will get it and everyone can enjoy some interesting entries for the competition

Don't give it! Burn it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16501935)

I wouldn't give Windows Server to my worst enemy. :D

Just burn it up!
Don't give this evil product away to a nice charitable organization and get them hooked on world of proprietary software and vendor lock-in.

Just burn it!

Did you sign anything? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#16506003)

If you didn't make any promises to the rep and have not yet installed it and agreed to the EULA you can give it away or sell it as you see fit. If you did agree not to transfer it and you did so anyway you would be in breach of contract but Microsoft would have no legal claim against whoever you transferred it to as they are not party to any contract with Microsoft.

I work for a charity.. (1)

Miertam (980774) | more than 7 years ago | (#16506033)

That takes in said items we use them to refurbish computers which we in turn hand off to other charities around the world. will gladly take OS as well as hardware. Mike Yust Donation Coordinator

Is it... (2, Interesting)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 7 years ago | (#16508627)

Are you really prohibited from reselling it? Might be like that in the US, but in Germany, I believe it was ruled that they can't stop you from reselling software, no matter what they print on the package. So, stores have lines of "not to be sold seperately" Windows copies and the like, which fetch almost the same price as the ones with a prettier box.

Have to check with your rep (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16513779)

Often, those 'freebees' you get from your rep may NOT be redistributed in any form, even for free.. ( regardless of the fact you didnt use it )

However, somtimes they are.. It all just depends. You need to call your rep and see what you got in you hands there. A gift, or a door stop.

Non-profits can already access free software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16516137)

I always wonder why non-profit, charity-type, organisations often use Windows, when good quality open-source Linux is available for free.

If you give the "free" version of Windows to a charity - they might appreciate it today - but not when they need to pay for an upgrade in a couple of years time. I guess it's like drugs: the first hit is always free.

Don't kid yourself - the MS Rep didn't give you the NFR version out of alturism - it is intended as a seed to pump future licensing revenue out of your (or someone elses) business.

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