Posted 11 February 2011 - 01:25 PM
For those of us in the United States and/or covered by US law, copying a Windows source or downloading it from anywhere other than Microsoft, a licensed OEM, or a licensed reseller, is technically illegal - it's a violation of copyright. The sale of an OEM machine *must* include everything (software-wise) that shipped with it, including the disc (or recovery partition intact), the COA sticker, and any other documentation or product materials for Windows, Office, and/or any other OEM software purchased with the machine. Any sale without this is technically not considered a legal transfer of the license, which is in violation of the EULA. If you are in another country and covered by the laws there, they may be different. They usually are not, but it's always best to check. Given I do not know a lot about laws in, for example, Belgium or Brazil, I do not feel confident enough to say for sure if this is entirely illegal in places such as those. It is likely, but one should always verify against their own country's laws before deciding one way or the other.
Going forward, whether or not someone would choose to do something like this on their own time is not for us to decide, but to answer the parent's question, yes, doing such a thing is indeed illegal in the United States (given this person listed their location as such, this would apply to them). The OEM copy of Windows on an OEM computer is tied to that computer only, and the OEM must provide (to the original purchaser) either installation media or a recovery partition that can be used in lieu to reinstall the OS.
Again, we are not the internet police, so I won't comment one way or the other on what people do in their own time outside of MSFN. However, in the interest of keeping things here legal (we are based in the US, and governed by US law) and following our own rules, I am closing this thread. Since the OP wasn't specifically asking *how* to bypass security, and whether or not something was legal or not, I am not providing any warnings this time. However, do note that further discussion of illegalities that violate our forum rules will result in moderation. Thank you to everyone for complying with this request.