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.
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.
(Score: 3, Interesting) by Immerman on Thursday April 26 2018, @01:57PM (1 child)
I also fail to see anything wrong with what he was doing - but I do see something illegal. He was making and distributing copies of copyrighted software without a license. It doesn't matter that the software was useless without also having a usage license - copyright still applies.
Think of it this way - if the software *didn't* need a usage license he'd clearly be violating copyright, agreed? And the usage license has NOTHING to do with copyright, it's an independent requirement imposed by Microsoft. Why would you assume that imposing an additional requirement would remove existing limitations?
(Score: 3, Insightful) by requerdanos on Thursday April 26 2018, @05:37PM
Well, everything here looks nice except for him making counterfeit Windows discs. In my opinion, that's both illegal and wrong.
Making workbench copies labeled "California Man Presents: Windows Reload CD" doesn't meet that test--if illegal, that would still not be wrong.
Even the "Criminal copyright infringement" part of it is probably apt for someone making counterfeit software discs.
It is rather that the license or lack thereof is a pointless and irrelevant side issue, not a primary consideration. The guy was making counterfeit Dell-branded Windows CDs. He isn't Dell. He isn't Microsoft. That's a no-no. What kind of counterfeit Dell-branded Windows CDs, with or without license, is kind of beside the point.
Having geeks bicker about "Yeah, but [pointless nonsense about licenses]" just makes geeks look bad. Would everyone doing that, please stop. If he had provided counterfeit replacement license stickers, that would be illegal too. He didn't, and wasn't charged with that. All is right with the world in that respect.
Quoting an article in The Washington Post [washingtonpost.com] where he admits counterfeiting, and that it was stupid:
He is hailed as an "e-waste recycling genius." Okay, he is that, but that mostly isn't what he was prosecuted for.
He was prosecuted for manufacturing and importing counterfeit commercial software CDs from China. That's the way that works.
I have done plenty of stupid stuff too; I am not criticizing him. I am just pointing out that due to some regrettable decisions, what he did is both wrong and illegal, and he has only himself to thank.