This one is interesting. I received the following e-mail this week from Microsoft's Elizabeth Boyle:

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   It has come to Microsoft's attention that Internet-Nexus is distributing    the following Microsoft software products, Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack    3, Outlook 97 Internet Mail Enhancement Patch Beta 3, and Internet    Explorer 4.0 Platform Preview 1 via its web site at    http://www.internet-nexus.com.

   Per the "Terms of Use" notice regarding software made available for    download from the Microsoft.com server: "Any reproduction or    redistribution of the Software not in accordance with the License    Agreement is expressly prohibited by law, and may result in severe civil    and criminal penalties."  (For a complete copy see    http://www.microsoft.com/misc/cpyright.htm)  The redistribution by    Internet-Nexus of the above-named Microsoft software products is outside    the scope of the license agreement and is therefore considered    infringing. 

   By this notification Microsoft seeks to address the serious nature of    the redistribution of these products and demands that you immediately    cease and desist redistribution of such product and that these download    links be removed from your web site within five (5) working days.    Further, Microsoft reserves its right to pursue all legal remedies    available relative to the distribution of unlicensed or illegal products    by Internet-Nexus or its Internet Service Provider. 

   If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact me via    e-mail or directly at (206) 936-3847. 

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Now, I can't imagine how this harms Microsoft, but the Nexus does have a very high speed connection and I've gotten numerous thank-you's from people who were able to download software from us much more quickly than at Microsoft's own site. Here is my response to this e-mail:

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   Elizabeth,

   While I question the ethics of your problem with our "distribution"    of free software, I will certainly abide by your request and remove    the offending programs within five days.

   We are interested, however, in distributing this software since we    offer our users a high bandwidth connection. How might we become    involved with licensing the right to do this? The hyperlink you quote    does not address this issue.

   Thanks,
   Paul Thurrott

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Her response to this, as you might expect, was not exactly what I had in mind.

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   Thank you for your prompt response to our request.  At this time, if you    would like to continue to offer your customers access to these Microsoft    products, the only way we can authorize this distribution is for you to    establish a direct link to the Microsoft web site where the download can    take place.

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The end result, of course, is that we will be removing the downloads she mentions early next week (we'll be waiting the full five days, naturally). If you haven't downloaded these items and you'd like to, you should do so soon. Unfortunately, Microsoft wishes to control the downloading of free software and we don't see any easy way to fight this. The sad thing, of course, is that we are evangelizing Microsoft software--for free--and they decide to treat us like this. It's unfortunate