Is there any harm in showing the full Certificate of Authenticity in an auction photo, including the license key? Can the key be
stolen and used on another copy of software? I see people showing everything in photos, and others blocking out the key, so I would
like to know before I sell my software, thank you.
It depends entirely on what you’re showing.
Some things are certainly perfectly valid to show.
Other things, like the license key? Well, you might as well be giving your software away.
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The rule of thumb is that anything on the outside of the box should be fine to display. If you can walk up to the box in a
retail store and see the certificate of authority, then that’s a fine thing to include in your auction photo.
Here’s an example from a Windows XP Pro box:
Anything on the inside of the box is a different matter. In particular, the product or license key:
You’ll note that I’ve pixilated the actual product key, and the barcode that I assume contains the same information in
The reason is simply this: the product key is what you are purchasing. It’s the product key that is unique to every
installation of Windows, and is what legitimizes your purchase. Ultimately, any CD with the right product on it will do; it’s
purchasing the product key that makes it yours.
If you post a picture of that product key, then you’ve just given it away to anyone who cares to use it.