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posted by Fnord666 on Monday February 19 2018, @08:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-stand-in-the-way-of-profits dept.

Electronics recycler Eric Lundgren was convicted of conspiracy and copyright infringement for his efforts regarding refurbishing old PCs. His sentence would have been 15 months in prison and a $50,000 fine except that he was granted an emergency stay of the sentence by a federal appeals court. Now his appeal is pending before the 11th Circuit though it has not yet been scheduled.

[...] McGloin also testified that Microsoft charges computer refurbishers about $25 for a new license and copy of the software but didn't differentiate that from what was done by Lundgren, who was not making a new copy of the software and intended his restore discs only for computers that were already licensed.

[...] Lundgren called his own expert witness, Glenn Weadock, an author of numerous software books who testified for the government in a major antitrust case against Microsoft that was resolved in 2001. Weadock was asked, "In your opinion, without a code, either product key or COA [Certificate of Authenticity], what is the value of these reinstallation discs?"

"Zero or near zero," Weadock said.

He should have listened to the experts like Ken Starks of Reglue. However, no mention was made by The Washington Post article about whether he or the court was aware that he could have improved the situation all the way around by simply upgrading the refurbished PCs to GNU/Linux instead of using a system that is always showing new ways to cause problems. The local LUG could well host an evening event with him as guest of honor to show how to improve the users' situation while staying out of jail.

Source : Eric Lundgren, 'e-waste' recycling innovator, faces prison for trying to extend life span of PCs

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  • (Score: 2) by theluggage on Monday February 19 2018, @06:57PM (1 child)

    by theluggage (1797) on Monday February 19 2018, @06:57PM (#640196)

    You apparently failed to read the part where it is legal to download and burn a copy for hire.

    You apparently failed to read the part where he burned 28,000 copies. 28,000 people didn't hire him to download and burn a copy on their behalf. They certainly didn't aske[d] him to do so in advance (your words).

    The download was offered for free. He met that requitrement by paying nothing.

    Your words again: The image was free to download and burn a copy for personal use. - downloading it for a third party who has hired you for money is not personal use and violated the terms on which you say he was entitled to download the image.

    If you download something from the internet - free or otherwise - you have absolutely no right to make copies of it without a license from the copyright holder and if the copyright holder offers such a license they can impose whatever conditions they like short of "unconscionable" terms like slavery or the liver of your first born son. Take it or leave it. Oh, there may be "fair use" and "right of first sale" principles but I guarantee those don't include making and reselling thousands of copies of the complete image.

    Once more with feeling: however you obtain a copy of something you have no right to copy and distribute it further without a license from the copyright holder - end of. Civilised people will turn a blind eye if you download some device drivers for your friends, but not 28,000 copies of Windows offered for sale.

    Worse, if there were any merit to your twisted logic, it would also completely undermine the GPL, Creative Commons etc. licenses: The GPL certainly allows me to download a copy and do as I will with it for my personal use - so by your reasoning 30,000 people could implicitly hire me to download and customise Linux on their behalf without me being bound by the GPL... I don't think so - the GPL has repeatedly stood up in court against bigger legal geniuses than you.

    Not that I'm crying into my beer for Microsoft's traumatic experiences in this case, of course.

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  • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday February 19 2018, @08:00PM

    by sjames (2882) on Monday February 19 2018, @08:00PM (#640237) Journal

    If you hire me, I am acting with your agency. It remains your personal use even if you hire me to do it for you. For the same reason, employers are responsible for the torts of their employees when they are acting within their employment. That's why if a UPS truck bends your bumper, UPS is on the hook for it.

    He simply anticipated that 28,000 would at some point hire him to burn a copy, so he worked ahead and saved some time and effort. The end result was no different for Dell and MS.

    Interestingly, it *IS* perfectly legal for 30,000 people to hire you to apply a patch to their GPL software. You are under no obligation to give anyone but your clients the source code. Of course, under the GPL, you also may not in any way forbid them from further sharing the patch that you apply. That last part is why Bruce Perens believes GRsecurity is on shaky grounds.