MS selling new games with no boxes/manuals?

How can this be legitimate?

Age of Empires III being sold factory-sealed “new”, but with no box or manual. This person from RedTagSoftware has a ton of these on sale for only $20 (out of Texas no less)…

How is this legal? If it’s not, why hasn’t this individual been stopped since he’s selling stuff all over eBay? And why would Microsoft (and others) undercut their own sales with these “CD only” bargains?

He could be reselling OEM versions of the game - the sort of editions that come free with graphics or sound cards. Not sure of the legality of it, but it’s probably not warez.

It’s certainly legal to sell OEM hardware, but I dunno about the software. Seems like it should be, though.

That is generally illegal though. I remember some Taiwanese people who did that here. Except they’d forget to take the “NOT FOR RESALE” stickers off the inside sometimes.

I don’t think the subject line is really fair - this isn’t Microsoft selling the game.

OEM software is generally licensed to be sold as a part of a hardware bundle only. Selling it on its own in violation of that license is hardly a new thing (computer shows used to be full of shady vendors selling “cheap” OEM software), but it’s also not legal. Definitely a gray market thing.

Hmm. I can certainly see it being illegal for a retail vendor to sell the OEM software without the hardware it’s bundled with. What about the end-user? I buy a vidcard, get a game CD with it, resell the CD.

I guess that’s under the first-sale doctrine, which is a pretty murky area as far as software is concerned.

Yes, but is it the vendor or the buyer who’s violating the OEM license? The doctrine of first sale might sneak in somewhere, but I suppose there’s also the idea that you can’t convey rights you don’t have…

EDIT: Ha, Hawkeye.

The vendor, I believe.

This person has tons of these “CD-only” things he’s selling. And I’ve never heard of anything being sold bundling Age of Empires III with it. He’s also selling a crapload of MS Flight Simulator 2004’s and Zoo Tycoon 2’s under the same setup.

Seems very wrong to me.

AoE3 is currently being bundled with OEM copies of WinXP, I believe.

That’s weird. Why give it away for free?

When omm sold games we saw this all the time. Someone somewhere is not breaking the law, but violating the license. That person is “in trouble”, this seller is most likely not as they probably have no agreement with the original seller.


Well, they aren’t, really. They’re sold to hardware vendors who then package them with new computers. You may not be paying a line-item cost for the game, but you’re not really getting it “free.”


These guys can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned. 60 copies of Alpha Centauri at $13.99. Hell yeah!

I recall a few legitimate brick-and-mortar stores with online catalogs selling OEM software a few years back, where they would sell you OEM software but you had to buy some piece of hardware, like a $5 mouse. Their interpretation was that OEM software doesn’t have to be bundled with “a new computer” or some particular hardware, just “some hardware”.

Uh, is this your very first visit to eBay? Because you can get bootleg copies of damn near any game or DVD or software program on the market there. If you can buy it in Shanghai, you can buy it on eBay. And eBay never shuts these guys down. Which is absolutely amazing, considering how batshit the computer and movie industries are about copyright issues.

Sorry about the appearance of edit above, i didn’t - tried testing the quote in quote and wanted to check the original post, meant to hit cancel, nothing was changed in the post (yes this requested feature will be in this weekend).

My post minus the quoting.

Ebay shuts them down all the time, but they follow the DMCA. That means the copyright owner has to contact them, you contacting them means nothing, only the legal owner can request removal.

On the subject of No manuals, haven’t they been doing this with FLight Simulator for years? I’m pretty damn Sure that FS’98 at least came with no printed manual at all, I had to go spend another £30 just to figure out how to play the damn thing without using help screens.