The decision by several mods on Using pirated copy of old windows versions puzzles me.

Yes, the poster knows he's courting disaster. However, if we stopped helping the clueless, we'd be whistling in the dark here.

This question's answer is by no means opinion-based nor is it subjective in nature, and to quote https://superuser.com/help/on-topic: "Super User is for computer enthusiasts and power users. If you have a question about ... computer software, and and it is not about … programming and software development, video games or consoles, websites or web services like Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress, electronic devices, media players, cell phones or smart phones, except insofar as they interface with your computer, issues specific to corporate IT support and networks, asking for a product, service or learning material recommendation… then you’re in the right place to ask your question!"

It's copyright law, straight up, no chaser, easily answered from authoritative sources. Yet, several of your folk decide it's out of bounds. Why?

  • Simply amazing how many negavotes arrive when I point out the Emporer has no clothes, that your rules do not explain your behavior.
    – K7AAY
    Commented Oct 7, 2018 at 3:21
  • Just FYI in case you can get help there since I see a lot of feedback regarding the correlated inquiry being a potential legal matter (I didn't read into everything too deep though). . . law.stackexchange.com Commented Oct 7, 2018 at 16:36

3 Answers 3


"The decision by several mods"

A single moderator closed the question, everyone else who voted to the close the question, were regular users.

"This question's answer is by no means opinion-based"

I disagree, many people do not agree, on what exactly is the legal status of pirated software. Besides, questions if something is legal or illegal, is out of scope here at Superuser.

It's copyright law, straight up, no chaser, easily answered from authoritative sources. Yet, several of your folk decide it's out of bounds. Why?

Except copyright law isn't about computer software. We cannot conclude if something is illegal, we can only conclude if something is against the terms of use. Sometimes even questions with regards to the license to use the software are too broad.

Yet, several of your folk decide it's out of bounds. Why?

There is an entire SE community dedicated to answering a question like this. Just because the software is not supported, by the manufacturer, does not mean the copyright on it is no longer valid.

However, here is where opinion based answers will be encouraged, not everyone will agree that pirated software violates copyright laws. I could expand that line of thinking, but my opinion on the subject would be clear, which isn't useful to the community.

I should be clear the close reason actually was, "This question is not about computer hardware or software, within the scope defined in the help center." which simply means the question was not within the scope as defined by the help center.

  • @K7AAY - There are actually valid arguments, that pirating isn't stealing, technically isn't illegal since you cannot steal bits of information.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 6, 2018 at 0:24

I wasn't involved in reviewing the question, but I think the issue is right here:

It's copyright law, straight up, no chaser

While the question is indeed about law related to computer software, it is not about the software itself. My interpretation of the help center's scope policy there - and probably the opinion of the users who voted to close - is that Super User is for technical questions only. Matters outside the computer, like legal problems, are currently out of scope for us.


Its a point of law, rather than a technical question, and explictly off topic.

Is it still illegal for US citizens to install a pirated copy of Windows XP or Vista on their machines, considering those windows have reached end of life?

Licencing is something most sites don't touch, and law isn't on scope for us

Could one get arrested for that?

We are not lawyers

Thanks for any feedback.

Signature/salutation? Asking for opinions?

Legality aside, I'm totally on board with what was done here, and I'd unilaterally closehammer it without the slightest hesitation.

  • Where does it say that in superuser.com/help/on-topic ?
    – K7AAY
    Commented Oct 7, 2018 at 3:20
  • 4
    It dosen't. If you want to, pardon the pun, rules lawyer - well, its not there as being on topic. Its not really a question about software, even if its about how the law interfaces with it.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Oct 7, 2018 at 3:44

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