Are Digital River's download links illegal for use by people not taking part in the promotion?

I've noticed the spread on some tech sites of direct-download links for Windows 7, for large ISO files hosted by Digital River.  It turns out those links seem to only be for the use of students who bought under a certain promotion through the Microsoft store prior to Jan. 3, 2010. 

So my question is, if someone comes along today, not as part of that promotion, and uses those links, is it legal?  Or is it violation of Microsoft's copyright?  It seems to me that downloading gigs thousands/millions of times from a server will involve some costs that Microsoft and Digital River did not intend.

I know that the downloaded copies of Windows would need to be activated.  That's not the question.  Thanks for any input.

ETA:  The links are not provided with Microsoft's permission, nor are the downloads in agreement with Microsoft's terms of use. In fact on the Digital River website qualified users (i.e. students who bought from the Microsoft site during a specified eligibility period) are directed to contact customer support directly to obtain download links; the fact that one or more of them must have passed the links along does not change the fact that the unqualified use of the links is not permitted.

The Digital River Terms of Use:
http://windows7.digitalriver.com/sto...e/pbPage.Terms
(Eligibility restricted to students purchasing through the offer up to January 3, 2010; those students only can download, with the alternative option of buying the disks at the low promotional price of $13; etc.)

"8.1.1 [The] Software may not be copied, adapted, translated, made available, distributed, varied, modified, disassembled, decompiled, reverse engineered or combined with any other software, save to the extent that (i) this is permitted in the License Terms, or (ii) applicable law expressly mandates such a right which cannot legally be excluded by contract."

https://windows7.digitalriver.com/DR...=1317820988651
"When will I be able to download my pre-ordered product? ... To re-download software you have already purchased within the 30 days of your original purchase, you will need to go to your order information page and press the download button."

https://windows7.digitalriver.com/DR...cale=en_US#q10
"What is the difference between what I can purchase from the online store versus in a retail store?
You can only take advantage of this special offer through the official promotion website."

Here is a sample thread on another website providing the leaked links:


 

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Last updated August 27, 2018 Views 41,909 Applies to:
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Well, there is no technical limitation against it, but I believe part of the reason why Microsoft would not like others to distribute it is the risk of the unknown, which is, a third party injecting it with malicious code and redistributing it to unsuspecting individuals.

Since it is being download directly from Digital River servers, as long as you own a genuine license, which you probably should have already, then you are free to download it. The way I see it, the license takes precedence over the medium. If you bought Windows 7 retail, then it will already be accompanied with install media, if you bought it from the Microsoft Store for instance, you have the option of downloading it anytime you want or have discs shipped to you or if its a box license, you will have two physical discs.

The persons these Digital River downloads would be most suitable for, even if they didn't purchase through the Student upgrade program are persons with OEM preloads who might have lost their recovery partitions or media and can't bother with the process of obtaining recovery media. Same applies to retail discs, the process of ordering, shipping, nominal fee.

Best,
Andre
Windows Insider MVP
MVP-Windows and Devices for IT
twitter/adacosta
groovypost.com

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Digital River may or may not care that all their downloadable ISO image locations are pretty much public knowledge now - but if they are concerned - they could protect them (prevent just anyone from downloading using them.)  Nothing keeping it from happening - and we are talking YEARS of exposure have passed.

I agree that license means more than medium.  Been that way for a while.  You could take a Windows XP _____ Edition CD (OEM or Retail) and with a tweak or two, change it so you could use a different type of product key than the media was originally intended for.  What matters is the source of the medium.  You don't want to get the stuff from an untrusted source.  Digital River is a trusted source (unless someone hijacks it.)

The license that comes with Windows grants you a right to use the operating system.  If you own that license and you are not going outside that license agreement - then you are okay.  I don't recall any part of the license agreement stating in what manner you can obtain, store or how many copies of the installation files you may have.

As far as authorization for the public to use these downloads... Not that I have seen - at least not in the manner given here and in MANY other places. Is it legal?  I don't know - I am not a lawyer, judge and definitely know very little about international law...  But it does keep coming up.

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itprogeneral/thread/3f21f41a-514c-464f-89c3-fae48482b054

Basically - what I see - is 'trial versions' of the products for download, useless for longterm use without a product key to make them legitimate (if the product key is legitimate.)  I bet that bandwidth usage is huge.

.-
Shenan Stanley
MVP 2005-2011 & 2013-2015
Insider MVP 2016-
.-

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