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Licensing Basics: What are Transfer Rights?

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Licensing Basics: What are Transfer Rights?

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Transfer Rights grant the right to uninstall software from one device and then re-install that software on a different device. For instance, the ability to uninstall a license of Microsoft Office from one PC and then reinstall that license of Microsoft Office on a replacement PC. These rights, if granted, would be listed in the End User License Agreement (EULA) you purchase through OEM licensing or Retail Box licensing or in the Product Use Rights document for licenses purchased through Volume licensing programs.

NOTE: Not all licenses have transfer rights included in them. In fact, OEM licenses do NOT have transfer rights included in them. Generally, Retail Box licenses do include downgrade rights. Volume License programs do include them. Of course, the definitive way to determine if downgrade rights are included in your license is to read your EULA itself. Normally, it will be listed under the “SOFTWARE TRANSFER,” “REASSIGN TO ANOTHER DEVICE,” or “TRANSFER TO A THIRD PARTY” sections of the EULA. In the Microsoft Product Use Rights document for Volume License products, you may find it under the “Installation and Use Rights” section.

If you don’t have those sections in your EULA or if the EULA does not state that you can reassign the license to another device in it, you do not have transfer rights. Remember, EULAs tell you what rights you do have, they don’t list all of the rights you don’t have. I mention this because I have had people make the comment of, “I don’t see anywhere in the EULA that says I can’t do…” That statement is completely irrelevant. If they EULA says you can do something, then you have those rights. If the EULA says you cannot do something or if it does not specifically say that you can do something, then you do not have those rights.

For instance, in the Microsoft Product Use Rights document, which states the licensing rights for Volume License purchases, it states the following in the “General License Terms” section for Microsoft Desktop Applications:

  • You may reassign a license, but not on a short-term basis (i.e., not within 90 days of the last assignment). If you reassign a license, the device to which you reassign the license becomes the new licensed device for that license.

So as you can see, it clearly states that you do have the rights to reassign a license to a new device when you purchase through Volume Licensing programs.

Note: you can add Software Assurance to qualifying OEM Office and OEM Server licenses within 90 days of the OEM software purchase to be able to receive transfer rights for those licenses. (Adding Software Assurance to OEM Windows Desktop Operating System licenses does NOT give you transfer rights for the OEM Windows licenses). Here is some more information on transfer rights that you may be interested in:

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager
Small Business Community Engagement
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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