A company in Europe has temporarily given some of its computers with licensed Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Premium to a company in Asia. The European company is the client of the Asian company and the software is used for developing a web application for the client.

Microsoft now insists the Asian company is making unauthorized use of the licensed software because the licenses are country specific and geographically limited.

Microsoft now demands a separate purchase of the licenses by the Asian company; just uninstalling isn't good enough. This will cost $5999 per user.

Can licenses really be this limiting?

I edited my old question, because it was seeking specific legal advice. I hope its fine now.

  • If Microsoft doesn't sell any version of its software with a license that allows renting out the computers with software installed, then they don't need to know who that company is and which license they have. – gnasher729 Nov 8 '16 at 10:30
  • You're talking about specific products and jurisdictions. This is asking for specific legal advice. If you want it to be generic, make the entire question generic. – Nij Nov 8 '16 at 10:37

The companies really need to speak to an IP lawyer as this question is seeking specific advice which this site is loathe to give out for fear of compouding issues.

The answer would depend on the license agreements and enforceability in various jurisdictions. According to https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/vstudio/en-US/0368d7ee-0eb3-4e3e-a143-4410969a15bb/eula-for-vs2010?forum=vssetup Microsoft says you cant rent out the software - but this applies to the "Pro" version - I could not find anything on the "Premium" version - so most likely Microsoft to have some clam.

The flipside is how enforceable this EULA is - and this would probably vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

It would be a very, very good idea to speak to a lawyer before letting Microsoft come onto the premises - as "inviting them" to do this is almost certainly not going to improve the Asians company's case and will allow Microsoft to go fishing further and make it easier for them to expand on and collect evidence should they decide to pursue the matter.

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  • You are right, I now see article 9 not allowing the lending of the software. But hey, article 13 does allow for transferring the software! (Call me stupid, but I fail to see the difference between lending and transferring twice, forth and back.) – nl-x Nov 8 '16 at 10:43
  • @nl-x, the difference is when you transfer something, it's no longer yours, but when you lend it, it remains yours. Faking a loan via self-cancelling mutual gifts would be fraud. – user6726 Nov 8 '16 at 15:42
  • Even if the EULA had those terms, it's still contract law. Microsoft would still have to show that you entered into a contract with them. The more likely route is being sued for a copyright violation, at which point you'd have to prove you didn't because you merely loaned the software, and you'll have to provide evidence of that loan. – MSalters Nov 8 '16 at 15:58

It would be easy to defend the statement that civil law is 90% bluff. You're most likely talking to the commercial side of Microsoft, in which case the figure is probably closer to 99%.

However, in the end Microsoft will have to find a source in law for their claims. It might be wise to stop talking to their commercial people, and tell Microsoft to have their lawyers contact your lawyers. In particular, tell Microsoft to come up with a legal position whether this is a contractual violation (and if so, when did Microsoft enter into a contract with you) or a copyright violation (and if so, why the loan is in violation of national law).

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