Purchasing used Software
The purchasing of used software is a tricky subject due to legal concerns. The thing that most people do not realize when they purchase software is that they are not actually purchasing the software. Instead they are purchasing the right to install the software that is owned by a software company on their computer one time only.
So what does this mean for the normal home computer user? Well, in an ideal world, when you purchased used software you would receive with it the licensing documentation and proof of its removal from the original computer. You would then send this in to the software manufacturer in order to have the license transferred into your name and thus keeping your software legitimate. The reality of it is the average person buying software from a legitimate source doesn't need to worry about transferring the license into their name. The worst thing that generally happens is you will not get any support or updates from the manufacturer of the software since it is registered to someone else. One word of caution, manufacturers, especially of expensive software, often has the ability to disable illegitimate software if they detect it. If this software is critical to you then you must transfer the license.
Are you confused yet? The legal aspects of used software can be very tricky and do seem to change often. The general rule of thumb when buying used software is simple, if it doesn't come with its original case don't buy it or you are asking for trouble. Paying head to this rule of thumb will greatly reduce the chances of your getting illegitimate or gray area software. Examples of gray area software include OEM, NFR and academic versions of programs. These types of software are not meant to be sold and thus do not come with retail packaging.
Know that you know what you are looking for you can begin shopping for your software. There are several places to look when shopping for software. If you are unsure of the exact title you are seeking you may wish to start with local video game shops. Many video game shops allow you to trade in your old titles in order to get a credit towards your purchases. This can be a gold mine for the person who is unsure of exactly what game they are looking for. On the other hand, computer stores, especially those that deal with used hardware, are often a better source for applications.
Of course local shops rely on source and demand. If you are seeking popular software there is a good chance that it will be sold out or that no one will have rare software. For these types of programs your best bet is the Internet. When looking for software online you may wish to consider discount sellers. These vendors may purchase millions of copies of the title you are looking for and thus are able to sell it for less than retail, but more than used. Before purchasing from them do a little checking to ensure that they are selling legitimate software and not cloned copies.
The other place to look is online auction sites such as eBay. You can generally find almost anything that you are looking for on these sites and at reasonable prices. Before placing your bid ask the seller if they have the original case to ensure you do not have any problems.
Buying used software can be a little confusing but if you follow the principals of software licensing then you will not have any problems. When purchasing used software make sure that you receive the original case with your purchase. If it is important software or very expensive software then you will also want to investigate the process for transferring the license to your name. If you do this you will be able to confidently purchase software online.