My question has to do with copyright infringements and licensing.
My situation is this: My Windows XP operating system broke down to a point where the only way to repair it, is with the CD. I lost my Windows XP installation CD when I was moving. I went to several stores to try to buy one, and discovered that Microsoft pulled the XP installation CDs off the shelves after Vista was released.
The only thing that I could thing that I could do was spend 80 dollars extracting my data from my hard drive and another 200 for a full Vista installation CD.
A friend suggested that I download XP installation CD data from a torrent and then burn it onto a CD. Then install XP again from the information burned from the CD. He assured me this is legal because I already have a licensed version of XP on my computer. It's just broken.
Is this legal as he says? If so, where can I find the legal basis for this instance of downloading commercial software for free?
Family Law Attorney
The proof of your license is your product key. If you bought a commercial computer (as contrast to one you built yourself), there should be a sticker somewhere on the computer's case that shows the product key. Many commercial computers actually have the installation disc as an image on a partition of the hard drive. Have you checked out the possibility that your "installation disc" is actually on your hard drive?
Somewhere along the installation process, the program will ask for your product key. If you do not supply a valid product key, the installation will stop.
After the installation is done, you will be asked to activate XP. If you do not activate the OS, you likely will not get to install the updates. If your product key is invalid (as determined by Microsoft), certain features of the OS will be modified to annoy you and you will be requested to supply a valid product key or contact Microsoft.
As long as you use your own product key, you likely will be able to reinstall XP successfully. (You may need to find drivers specific to your machine.)
If you use a modified version that does not ask you to supply the product key or activate XP, Microsoft may eventually figure this out during one of the auto-update sessions and deactivate certain features in your OS.