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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: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Monday April 30 2018, @09:37PM (1 child)

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Monday April 30 2018, @09:37PM (#673934) Journal

    The additional element is that the discs he was generating apparently were OEM issued images, complete to the special company folders. And then some of them were wrong - purported "Lenovo" disc carrying a "Dell" support folder, for example.

    The supplemental emails make it very much seem like he wasn't restoring computers, he was only selling what absolutely appeared to be company-generated repair discs (down to criticizing the punctuation when it didn't match *perfectly*), maybe to other people who were doing the restorations. He was getting $4 per disc.

    And if Microsoft charges $25 for the disc but offers the restore image for free, then a case can be made that the disc version has value - people are willing to pay the $25-$40 to get it on disk even if they could have gotten the download for free. If you can get a song perfectly legally in MP3 form but the LP is offered for sale at $100, does that make a replicated LP copy a) counterfeit contraband, b) copyright violation, c) no crime, or d) something else? I think that's a debatable question even though I have feelings about it (and suspect the law does not support the way I feel).

    This sig for rent.
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by TheRaven on Wednesday May 02 2018, @09:44AM

    by TheRaven (270) on Wednesday May 02 2018, @09:44AM (#674510) Journal
    There's now a blog up from Microsoft with a lot more details, including copies of emails between him and his colleague. From the way it was reported in the press, it sounded as if he was downloading free restore images and burning copies to give away with refurbished computers that he stole. That turns out to be nowhere near the truth - he and a colleague set up a counterfeiting operation in China to produce disks that looked identical to the official ones and defraud people into believing that they were getting manufacturer restore disks for a discounted price. His intention was to make money by misleading his customers. Absolutely no sympathy.
    sudo mod me up