Nero 6: What are the limitations of OEM software?

I’m in the market for Nero Suite 6.0 and have seen certain web-based firms selling the OEM version of this software for less than $5.

What are the limitations of OEM software? I want to be able to get the latest updates, but when Nero comes out with Suite 7.0, I’m not averse to spending another $5 for the latest and greatest.

I think OEM just means ‘without box’

I got my OEM Dvd drive and it was just wrapped in some bubble wrap in a box, no documentation or software or wires. This is probably the case with this software. No manuals, no box, etc. Just the discs, probably.

OEM usually requires buying some hardware with it, like a hard drive or motherboard or something.

Limitations? You may just get a CD and no manual or box or anything, but the software’s the same. Half my stuff is OEM (I save software purchases for hardware upgrade time).

The exact details vary from one software package to another, but the one thing all OEM software has had in common (in my experience) is that it is either bundled with, or must be purchased with, some kind of hardware. Is that $5 price in addition to buying a CD burner or something like that? You might want to check the fine print on the deal to be sure.

I’ve bought several optical drives that came bundled with OEM versions of Nero, and the functionality is identical to the regular retail version I also have. There is one significant limitation though: it will only work with the drive it came bundled with. It won’t work with additional drives even if the original one is still present in the computer.

I don’t know if all OEM versions of Nero are like that, but all of my version 5 OEM copies have that same limitation. If that still applies, you wouldn’t be able to ‘upgrade’ for another $5 later on without buying another optical drive.

This is true. The software vendors sell it to the hardware makers for almost nothing, because said hardware vendors will sell tens of thousands of CD or DVD burners. With one stroke of a pen on a contract, the software company can have millions added to their bottom line for little if no cost to themselves - usually just a CD, paper sleeve and CD-key.

Well, that’s “sort of true”. The actual software will work with any hardware in your computer, but your CD-key limits the software to a particular brand of hardware. So if you get Nero bundled with a TDK CD burner, the software should allow you to use it with an additional TDK CD or DVD burner. A standard “OEM” key (as opposed to a “bundled key”) will work with any hardware you have in your system. I believe that most OEM out there aere like this, but that doesn’t mean that some unscrupulous vendors AREN’T selling Plextor-specific OEM versions as “universal OEM” ones.

Well, you can just buy a new “universal OEM” copy of the new version off eBay for $6, but why bother? Technically, buying any OEM software without the requisite hardware is a license violation. Downloading the demo and using “certain Internet resources” to make your own key is just as illegal, so why waste the $6? Strangely enough, I spend lots of time at the Ars Technica forums, where talk of software piracy is strictly verboten, and most of the folks there suggest going this route. For exmaple, using an OEM copy of XP Pro that shipped with your Dell to install XP on your new Gateway is just as illegal as if you downloaded it off a rouge web site or bought a pirated copy off the street.

Not that I’m encouraging piracy. You should read the EULA to know exactly where you stand legally. And it’s not that the software police are going to bust down your door at home, but in a business enviornment you should ABSOLUTELY be 100% legit with your licenses. If you’re going to be using this at work, just buy the retail version of 6 to be safe.

This definitely is NOT a pirated copy. Here’s a link to the advertised product. Note that it isn’t Nero Ultra, but Nero 6 v. 1 instead.

You would honestly think the contracts would be better-written than they appear to be. What is so hard about saying “must be sold with a CD-ROM drive”? Instead you see this stuff sold with quality hardware like a hard drive cable.

Technical details aside though, the end result is the same from the user’s perspective. The distinction doesn’t really matter as long as there’s no legitimate way to remove the limitation imposed by the CD-key (and I don’t believe there is, short of buying an upgrade).

Nero, at least, seems to be more specific than that. Allow me to clarify the situation I encountered: I built a computer with a Lite-On CD-RW that came bundled with Nero 5. Sometime later, I needed to add DVD burning capability to the computer. I bought a Lite-On DVD burner that came bundled with Nero 5.5. I could not use the DVD drive with the previously installed version of Nero. It would recognize the drive but gave the message that “This OEM version of Nero will only function with the bundled hardware”. So I installed the newer version that had been bundled with the DVD drive. Now I was able to use the DVD drive, but not the CD drive (same error message as before, but referencing the other drive). The Nero install routine wouldn’t let me have both versions installed simultaneously, at least not without some serious fiddling. I ended up just buying a retail version.

So the bundled OEM versions of Nero seem to look at more than just the brand of hardware. I don’t know if they go as deep as the specific model of drive or just to the type (CD vs. DVD). But this problem caught me off guard, so I think it is worth pointing out.

This is the thing that has me concerned about the link the OP provided. I don’t see any mention of hardware as a requirement in there. . . It’s one thing that people do that on Ebay, but when an actual website is selling OEM copies with hardware, it makes me wonder if they are legit. Has anyone bought from that company before? Do they deliver exactly what they advertise?

Of course you don’t see it - because the seller doesn’t care. My point was that buying an OEM copy without the requisite hardware - be it an optical drive or a new PC with an optical drive - is a license violation. Ahead seems not to care too much about this practice, as you can find OEM Nero all over the place for less than $10. Microsoft used to care, but seems to have relaxed their restrictions somewhat.

Perhaps you might also have noticed the “grey market” in “last year’s software” too: a month or two before a new version of a app comes out - notoriously Symantec\Norton, but others as well - you’ll see OEM copies of last year’s software flood the market. So, for instance, shortly before NAV 2005 comes out, you’ll see OEM copies of NAV 2004 EVERYWHERE. It looks as if the vendors just start dumping their stocks. Of course, Symantec sales doesn’t care, they want to clear the inventory for NAV 2005, but Symantec legal does care, I assure you. I once worked for a company that bought 100+ copies of this type of software - and got a $350,000 fine for doing so. Being a small company, it almost crushed them.

And I didn’t say it was a “pirated copy”. I just said that if you read the EULA of the OEM version and you find that you’re outside compliance, you might as well use a warez’ed or pirated copy for all trouble you’re going to to be “legit”.