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What is the best way to obtain old versions of MS-DOS and Windows?

When will the copyrights on various versions of Windows and DOS expire?

Once they expire I presume one could then legally download a copy from an online archive.

I know that DOS 2.0 was already made open-source.


  • 3
    Open source does not mean the copyright is expired. Copyright does not have to expire to permit legal downloading. Mar 20, 2020 at 20:32
  • Never. It's common knowledge that the copyright on the original Mickey Mouse will never be allowed to expire, as it keeps getting extended. Therefore, nothing newer than that will ever expire either.
    – user253751
    Aug 11, 2023 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


For works "made for hire" in the USA after 1978, copyright extends for 95 years after the date of first publication.

So for practical purposes, it depends entirely on when (or if) Microsoft decides to put them in the public domain.

  • 9
    And this statute has in the past been extended multiple times, always shortly before the copyright on some of the original Walt Disney cartoons was about to run out, which is of course a complete coincidence. Mar 21, 2020 at 13:42
  • @JörgWMittag Thus why people tend to refer to the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act instead. It's part of a ratchet the copyright industry seems to have set up where they bump copyright in the US, push for global copyright treaties to extend to match, and then pressure other countries to "come into compliance".
    – ssokolow
    Nov 8, 2022 at 2:32

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