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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: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26 2018, @09:43AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26 2018, @09:43AM (#672098)

    I'll go as far as a much smaller penalty for attempted deception by mimicing original labeling to the extent of misleading a customer as to who made the thing - but withhold the heavy hammer until he dishonors a cease-and-desist from doing *that*. I know I certainly like to know who stands behind what I am buying... you know, sanctity of the brand name.

    Personally, I would be lenient because I am not convinced anything nefarious was involved. Had this been a ruse to distribute malware, I would throw the book as hard as I could throw it.

    IANAL, that's fer sure, but at the price he was asking, it sure looked to me like he was just providing a service to download the re-imaging software onto CDROM for the convenience of those who had misplaced their disk. Kinda like I was more than happy to purchase some LINUX CDROMS, when I know full good and well I could download it myself, but I was more than happy to have a magazine preselect some stuff they thought I would like, and include it as a purchase premium for their magazine.

    I just think the penalty is in *far* excess to the "crime". All this copyright crap is getting so far out of hand over here I am getting embarrassed to admit I have to remit taxes to these guys.

    Here's hoping the international community will get pissed off enough to rein us in. This witch hunt is getting way off of what I consider sane. They allow companies to harvest and share all sorts of stuff on we peasants, but have a peasant harvest and share *their* stuff and they suddenly think they have "rights" to it. They certainly won't honor my rights to data I make. If I try to look at this practically, trying to keep everything I do private, I may as well live out my life in a sealed cave... and if they didn't want their work copied, may as well never expose it to the public. This kinda stuff is about as unenforceable as trying to keep anyone from peeing in the pool or farting in the theater. It seems the powers that be try to find a few and publicly martyr them. What infuriates me is we public sit around like a bunch of sheep watching other sheep go to slaughter, when we should question if those lawmakers passing this law should be allowed to continue in office, or whether they - and the law they passed - tossed out on its ear.

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