Distributing Free Software Watch

Student23
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#1
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.done
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marcusmerehay
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#2
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Are you by any chance an IT technician?
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Jordan-Kirby
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#3
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(Original post by Student23)
Hi,

I have noticed that many Freeware have a legal note stating “free for non-commercial use” I wanted to ask you guys about three different scenarios and whether YOU think they are in breach of this legal notice...

1) A IT Technician (sole trader) is specialised in improving computer performance, primarily by the use of free software such as cCleaner & AVG –NOT any illegal or cracked software- ... He charges a small fee for this service (not for the software but for his work, time and expertise) and with the service package he offers he also includes CD which has these freeware on, with tutorials and instructions, which he gives to the customers.

2) Same scenario as above only this time his customers want more than one CD so he offers any CD for £1/$1... So what is the small charge for? For the cost of the original CD, and the extra instructions and tutorials included.

3) The technician doesn’t include the CD as part of any package or deal but instead gives it as a ‘free gift’ to keep his customers happy (and so that they can use this free software themselves without any assistance).

Any comments and opinions are appreciated!
I would say:

1) Breach since he is providing a CD with the software on it, and charging a price. If it had just the instructions, then perhaps not.

2) If he had the CD with the software on it, and is still charging then it's still a breach.

3) Well, he could still be including the price of it but stating it as 'free'. Not so much of a breach but still possibly suspect to it.
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Jingers
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1. No.
2. No.
3. Lame gift. They can just download it themselves. Also no.
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c2uk
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The IT technician performs a commercial action, as such he cannot use non-commercial software in his role as a sole-trader. He can use it at home for his own PC but not for his customers.

However, you should not seek legal advice on a random internet forum - go seek a lawyer that knows about software licences.
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c2uk
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(Original post by c2uk)
He can use it at home for his own PC but not for his customers.
I need to clarify here, with own PC I mean private and afaik he probably cannot use those free for non-commercial software on his business PC because that as well is used for a commercial purpose, e.g. contacting clients, writing invoices, ...

but again, seek a lawyers advice.
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Chrosson
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(Original post by Student23)
Hi,

I have noticed that many Freeware have a legal note stating “free for non-commercial use” I wanted to ask you guys about three different scenarios and whether YOU think they are in breach of this legal notice...

1) A IT Technician (sole trader) is specialised in improving computer performance, primarily by the use of free software such as cCleaner & AVG –NOT any illegal or cracked software- ... He charges a small fee for this service (not for the software but for his work, time and expertise)
[...]
I think you hit the pothole immediately here.
You are using the software in a commercial environment (i.e. you are making money as a result of using it).
My hunch would be that that is what is prohibited, but I imagine there is some leeway.
By extension, because all 3 scenarios involve this part, all three are in violation.

The best thing to do is contact the companies directly and see exactly what they mean - I wouldn't be surprised if each have a different interpretation of “free for non-commercial use”.
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mfaxford
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(Original post by Chrosson)
The best thing to do is contact the companies directly and see exactly what they mean - I wouldn't be surprised if each have a different interpretation of “free for non-commercial use”.
This!

Also, by contacting them you might be able to arrange some form of agreement. I doubt any freeware company would mind an IT technician installing such programmes on a clients computer as long as you're not charging for the software and tell the customer about what you're installing. The option they're more likely to be against is a larger organisation using the software on their own machines.
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KuroEli
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1: I'd say this depends on who your customer is. If it's another business /commercial organisation I'd say it's a breach of ToS (terms of service). If it's a personal, end user client, you could argue that providing them with the CD, you are in fact using their licence to use the free software and charging for the knowledge of the program rather than for the program itself.
2: I don't see a problem with this, as long as the fee is a sensible price with you making little/no profit from it, other than for parts needed.
3: I'd say providing it on top as a 'free' gift seems questionable, because I've seen people before add more money onto the price and then offer the 'free gift', basically giving the customer no option to get it or not.
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