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posted by chromas on Thursday April 26 2018, @04:20AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-copy-that-floppy dept.

Engadget reports that Eric Lundgren, who ordered unauthorized copies of Microsoft Windows, has lost in appeals court. He had received a 15-month prison sentence and $50,000 fine.

From Engadget:

Lundgren realized that people were simply discarding old computers and buying new ones, rather than trying to restore Windows. He decided to begin manufacturing restore CDs that could be sold to computer repair shops for a quarter each.

[...] However, things began to go downhill after US Customs got ahold of a shipment of these disks in 2012. They charged Lundgren with conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, as well as criminal copyright infringement. The premise here was that Lundgren was providing users with a copy of the Windows operating system on these restore disks, but that was untrue. The users needed to have a previously purchased license, or the restore disks wouldn't work.

[...] While Lundgren argued that these disks had zero value, Microsoft claimed (through a letter and an expert witness) that these were "counterfeit operating systems" and that they had the potential to hurt Microsoft's sales. The pricing was set at $25 a piece, which was what Microsoft claimed it charged repair shops for these disks. The catch here is that this is the price for a fully licensed operating system, not Lundgren's version.

From The Verge:

Microsoft issued this statement to The Verge on the ruling:

"Microsoft actively supports efforts to address e-waste and has worked with responsible e-recyclers to recycle more than 11 million kilograms of e-waste since 2006. Unlike most e-recyclers, Mr. Lundgren sought out counterfeit software which he disguised as legitimate and sold to other refurbishers. This counterfeit software exposes people who purchase recycled PCs to malware and other forms of cybercrime, which puts their security at risk and ultimately hurts the market for recycled products."

The Right to Repair has been hotly debated in recent months, particularly because California proposed a law that would require electronics manufacturers to make repair information and parts available to product owners and to third-party repair shops and services. Seventeen other states have proposed similar legislation. Most major tech companies, including Apple and Microsoft, are opposed to the idea of letting users fix their own devices on the grounds that it poses a security risk to users, which we can see in Microsoft's above statement. Although as Lundgren's case demonstrates, the companies are likely more concerned over a loss in profit than anything else.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Fluffeh on Thursday April 26 2018, @05:21AM (2 children)

    by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 26 2018, @05:21AM (#672041) Journal

    punishment seems way out of proportion to the crime

    The crime really here is infringing on a particular company's right to make money by selling operating systems. One with a lot of friends in high places. One that REALLY DOESN'T WANT people to know that they can upgrade their PC WITHOUT buying a new version of the operating system.

    Given that, the punishment seems almost light. It's like they didn't have any other books to throw at the guy.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26 2018, @06:45AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26 2018, @06:45AM (#672048)

    Maybe it needs to be treated the same by the citizenry.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26 2018, @01:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26 2018, @01:29PM (#672137)

      Jury nullification is way too advanced a concept for the woefully uneducated masses. It's a way too powerful concept for the cows to countenance.

      Every two years I bug everybody I know who doesn't vote. They're all convinced that there's some tally somewhere of abstaining votes and that if that tally gets big enough, something must be done! I tell them that if they want to protest, they have to vote for a Green, Libertarian, or Natural Law candidate. I get no takers.

      We do not have democracy, because the cows cannot be arsed to even vote.

      This year the excuses are starting to include "electoral college!" It's just... WTF. I am beginning to believe the original alt-right was on to something (Moldbug et al). Perhaps democracy is a pipe dream. I've seen how easily democracy is subverted into fascism though the apathy of the masses.

      Jury nullification? That's a laugh. People with the right to exercise political authority with the ballot box would rather stay at home and complain about how things turned out, wallowing in the self-fulfilling prophecy about their own lack of efficacy. People actively avoid jury duty. People do not want democracy.

      What else is there to do? Give up, and devote more time to meditation on impermanence and the temporary nature of all things good and bad.

      It's at least more relaxing than commanding the tides educating the cows.