working at a dodgy shop got me curious about the legality of slic bootloaders

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by Gruelius, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. Gruelius

    Gruelius MDL Novice

    Jul 31, 2009
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    Hey all

    lock and point me to thread if this has been answered

    i did a few days work at a bit of a dodgy shop, they were selling machines as having a 30 day win7 trial but just having it cracked anyway (to save them rearming it if they need to test before 30 days) and were also doing it for customers

    i left from that and other practices i disagreed with.

    Anyway got me thinking about how you could do that legally and then that got me thinking on the whole situation. i understand that the laws change from country to country but say for America:

    1) Is the bootloader itself illegal? (using MS files/slic strings/certs owned by ms? [or are these provided to the public free without any terms of use])

    2) is just using it to circumvent activation (and breaking the eula) illegal?

    3) if they are legal to posses is distribution (not sale) illegal?

    not trying to get moral in this thread

    cheers blokes
     
  2. tcntad

    tcntad MDL Guru

    Oct 26, 2009
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    The loader itself isnt illegal, its illegal to use to circumvent activation of windows..
    Its illegal to circument/bypass real activation of windows.
    You can hand it to anyone.. But selling piratewindows is illegal and if your caught you will most likely get fined or even jail depending on your countries laws.

    But microsoft or anyone else wont kicn your door in and put you on the ground and handcuff you (as private person)
     
  3. thethingy

    thethingy MDL Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2010
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    you need to first grasp illegal and unlawful, they have different meanings, what you put could be unlawful but not illegal, the software to circumvent the activation may be lawful but the use of certs in the software may not be as Microsoft might have rights over the certificates, you are breaching a civil contract by using a loader but whose to know anyhow, using a loader for your own personal use is a civil matter, selling copies of software with loaders in them to bypass activation is counterfeiting and that is illegal and punishable....................
     
  4. Daz

    Daz MDL Developer / Admin
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    #4 Daz, Jan 25, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
    1) The exploit itself is legal.
    2) It doesn't break the EULA because it doesn't modify any system files. Boot loaders are legal.
    3) Again they're legal to distribute as long as they're free.

    Some other points:
    • OEM serials and certificates aren't unique to each user so you're not really taking anything from anyone. And what about users that actually bought a system and then formatted it and lost their certificate and serial, would you feel it's OK for them to install the certificate and serial again? It could go either way.
    • Boot loaders (that inject a SLIC) expose a security hole in the MS activation system. They're considered proof of concept and MS does nothing about it. It's no different than any other exploit posted which they then attempt to patch.
    • Other activation tools that do modify system files are illegal.
    • When the application is launched it doesn't just start installing. It gives the user the choice to install, uninstall or close so it's the user who makes the final choice.
    • What the shop you worked at is doing is illegal as they're distributing a pirated copy of Windows and someone is then unknowingly purchasing it.
     
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  5. Yen

    Yen Admin
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    I agree with it, except the SLIC tables which are provided with the loaders. They must not be a part of an application without agreement of the OEMs....IMO.
     
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  6. Gruelius

    Gruelius MDL Novice

    Jul 31, 2009
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    thethingy what about selling computers with unactivated win7 and loader cd's, would that still be considered unlawful?

    or even just having it blank with a plain RTM iso and a loader cd, or even just a printed link to a host of the loader?

    still wouldnt it fall under circumventing the activation? granted it uses a proof of concept technique but still.

    also discussing it here *nevermind, 10 more posts till i can post links lol*

    Daz (not having a go, really appriciate the work you and other people on this forum have put in for the vast amount of people using your stuff)

    I know SLP serials, slic bins and oem certs are not unique per user compared to retail keys. But do microsoft own or have rights over the strings or certs?

    Just like with the AACS decryption code how its just a single non unique string and they lost their s**t over it.


    will just make it clear im not trying to get you guys to tell me its ok to start selling stuff like that just curious. imo wouldnt be worth the risk (especially considering the volume this shop sells). down the track i will have to decide if when i do cash jobs whether i will rectify customers deactivated windows installs by purchasing licenses or circumventing it.
     
  7. Yen

    Yen Admin
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    #7 Yen, Jan 25, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
    The question is who is the owner of the SLIC tables and certificates and if it's allowed to use them for a self made app. I'm not sure.
    To be tolerated does not mean to be legal.
     
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  8. thethingy

    thethingy MDL Senior Member

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    If they were distributing copies even unactivated without the permission of MS then that would be unlawful, MS make it real easy for companies to distribute there stuff, would have thought you would only need to ask to put unactivated copies on pc's.........................
     
  9. Daz

    Daz MDL Developer / Admin
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    They're owned by the OEM's. Is permission given, no but none of them have ever complained either.

    I think MS and others see it as two different things as theres the totally non-profit exploit and then theres people trying to clone their packaging, activate Windows and make it look legal and then sell it. Now, with my version of the loader you obviously know what you're doing if you download it and go through it's UI and then even if it's put onto DVD to pre-activate the user it will show the person clear as day that if they purchased the DVD then it's an illegal copy.
     
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  10. Gruelius

    Gruelius MDL Novice

    Jul 31, 2009
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    thingy did you read it wrong i meant to ask, would it be illegal to install win7, leave it on the 30 day grace period, and sell it to the customer as unactivated if they knew it was unactivated.

    Daz thats fair enough.
     
  11. Daz

    Daz MDL Developer / Admin
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    In a shop yes as it was sold to the user without their knowledge. If you done it on your own personal computer then no.
     
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  12. Gruelius

    Gruelius MDL Novice

    Jul 31, 2009
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    sorry i meant to imply the customer would know.

    asked because then said dodgy shop would say you can choose to buy an oem license or we can give you a link to a loader that bypasses it. Customer wouldnt be charged for the labour for install.
     
  13. Daz

    Daz MDL Developer / Admin
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    That act would still be illegal because the shop recommended the tool to bypass activation. That shop to MS should be trying to get users to purchase Windows 7 and each version of Windows they put onto a users system should come with a unique retail serial anyway.

    So is it even legal to sell a system with a trial version of Windows 7 on it? Because I know if I go into any shops around here they're all either retail or OEM.

    I guess they're doing it to sell the hardware right? So they're still making a profit which MS see's nothing of. That's a good way to get MS's attention.
     
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  14. Enigma256

    Enigma256 MDL Senior Member

    Jan 17, 2011
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    IANAL, but...

    A traditional interpretation of copyright would say that the use and distribution of Windows without a license is illegal (if you have a license when using or if you distribute to someone who has a license, that should be fine). The use and possession of tools to allow the use without a license is legal pre-DMCA, but with DMCA broadly outlawing things that circumvent, those are verboten too, I suppose.

    As for Microsoft's own policies, I think they only care if you have a license and not so much about how you activate Windows. For example, MSDN licenses are intended only for "testing" (different from TechNet's "evaluation", BTW) and "development", and you are not supposed to use a MSDN key for a computer that you use to play games with. But If you do use it on a computer used for something else (e.g., gaming), Microsoft's own official advice is to go and pay for a regular Retail license and keep it around--you don't have to go and change your keys or reactivate. So if their official stance here is their official stance everywhere, then all they care about is that you paid for it: you can keep using whatever activation you want, as long as you paid for it.
     
  15. Daz

    Daz MDL Developer / Admin
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    That'd be another thing, MS partnership.

    Some things are just easier to answer than others. Sometimes something could be read by a few different people and each may have a different take on what it means.
     
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  16. Gruelius

    Gruelius MDL Novice

    Jul 31, 2009
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    yeah all makes sense. just wondering how the fk they have managed to do it for so long without getting pulled up (selling on ebay no less)