I was disputing with one person about buying software licenses. For example, on ebay/aliexpress there are offers to buy Microsoft Office for 2 USD or Adobe PhotoShop for 3 USD. For me, it cannot be true and probably licenses are illegal. But another person argued that it does not matter until software works and in worst-case he will lose that 2-3 USD.
My question is not about if this kind of software is legal or illegal (probably not). My question is about the legal responsibility of a person who lives in the western world (USA/European Union) and bought these things.
If a person truly believed that this license is legal when he was buying software. If the person did not know that license is illegal. Will it lead to any legal consequences for him? What will be the worst-case scenario? Will he go to jail or he will have to just delete this software and lost 2 USD?
Please only consider the case when the person bought it and installed it successfully on his own PC for personal use only. He really uses it and it works fine. He did not give it to someone else. He did not share it. He did not put it on the Internet. Only 1 installation to 1 home PC for personal use.
Do not consider companies, the question is only about personal use. Everything related to business is much more complicated.
Also, situation, when the person bought the software but did not install/use it, does not make any sense. Do not consider it.
As I understand from answers and comments, basically there is no difference from the legal point of view between buying and installing $2 license or downloading/installing from crazy sites for free (for example Microsoft Office, which normal price from vendor Microsoft is $150).
Let's say there are 2 situations:
- Normal person, has no much knowledge in IT (waiter in the restaurant, construction worker, etc.). The person wants to buy Microsoft Office for home use. He just wants to write a nice CV to get a better job. He saw Microsoft Office a few times in his current job and wants to have it at home. He has no idea who much it really cost. What he did: Google "buy cheap Microsoft Office", open ebay/aliexpress, click buy, download, install. done. everything works for him for $2. He also read on the seller side or contacted the seller, that this license is legal and the whole page of explanation why it is so cheap. What did he do wrong?
- IT Professional who knows how much is it. He was using it for 20 years in the office, etc. He buys/downloads it from ebay/aliexpress for $2 and pretends that he has the legal license and did not know that it is fake, but of course, he knows that 95% it is not.
Is there any difference between these 2 cases from the legal point of view or worst-case Legal consequences will be the same? Or what would be "worst-case Legal consequences" and "most probable Legal consequences" in case if it will be revealed?