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posted by martyb on Monday August 05 2019, @10:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the evil-is-as-evil-does dept.

[Editor's note: We generally try to provide balanced coverage of a story. This interview is "straight from the horse's mouth" and is, therefore, going to contain the biases of the interviewee. Nonetheless, we thought the story interesting enough that we wanted to put it out to the community to discuss. --martyb]

Roy Schestowitz over at Techrights has an informal, follow-up interview with e-waste recycler Eric Lundgren about his ordeal with Microsoft. Lundgren spent time incarcerated as a result of his efforts to re-use old Wintel computers and keep them out of the landfill. He is now finally out of prison.

"The judge didn't understand the difference between a "Restore CD" and a "License"," he complained, "and Microsoft convinced the judge that the "Restore CD" was of equal value and functionality to a new MSFT OS w. new license! I was honestly dumbfounded.. I kept waiting for someone to get it in court .. Instead – The judge threw out all of my expert witness' testimony and only kept Microsoft's testimony.."

[...] Lundgren was sort of tricked if not blackmailed. It was the old trick of plea 'bargain' that was leveraged against him. "They threatened me with 47 Years in Prison," he told us. "So my only choice was to plea-bargain.. I told them I would ONLY plead guilty to "Restore CD Without License" but then Microsoft convinced the judge to value a Restore CD at the SAME VALUE as a Full Microsoft OS w. License!"

Earlier on SN:
Microsoft's Full Response to the Lundgren Counterfeiting Conviction (2018)
California Man Loses Appeal in Copyright Infringement Case (2018)
'E-Waste' Recycling Innovator Faces Prison for Trying to Extend Life Span of PCs (2018)


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by c0lo on Monday August 05 2019, @11:51AM (37 children)

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 05 2019, @11:51AM (#875877) Journal

    No good deed shall go unpunished, especially if it hurts profit.
    This world be damned, we'll pollute it if there's a coin to be made outta this.

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bobthecimmerian on Monday August 05 2019, @12:13PM (4 children)

      by bobthecimmerian (6834) on Monday August 05 2019, @12:13PM (#875884)

      The second lesson is that we the free software community need to do a better job making free operating systems user-friendly and also a better job making welcoming communities and educating users. If this guy could have slapped Debian/Ubuntu/Arch/Fedora/SUSE/FreeBSD/whatever on the refurbished machines and gotten recipients to use it, the problem never would have happened.

      He got burned by Microsoft because either he refused to consider alternatives or the people getting his refurbished machines did, or both.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday August 05 2019, @12:42PM (3 children)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 05 2019, @12:42PM (#875902) Journal

        The second lesson is that we the free software community need to do a better job making free operating systems user-friendly and also a better job making welcoming communities and educating users. If this guy could have slapped Debian/Ubuntu/Arch/Fedora/SUSE/FreeBSD/whatever on the refurbished machines and gotten recipients to use it, the problem never would have happened.

        Those refurbished computes should go to the less fortunate people.
        Casting on them a "Debian/Ubuntu/Arch/Fedora/SUSE/FreeBSD/whatever" running systemd or an unreliable display driver is adding to their misfortune.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 05 2019, @01:10PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 05 2019, @01:10PM (#875916)

          Linux mint works fine these days.

        • (Score: 2) by bobthecimmerian on Monday August 05 2019, @04:08PM

          by bobthecimmerian (6834) on Monday August 05 2019, @04:08PM (#876054)

          I've never had a problem with systemd on work servers or on my three Linux boxes at home. But I get your general point. That's why I added my disclaimers and didn't say, without qualifiers, "He should have used ____" where ____ is replaced by Debian or FreeBSD or similar.

        • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 05 2019, @05:25PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 05 2019, @05:25PM (#876090)

          you're an idiot. systemd and wayland work just fine.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by driverless on Monday August 05 2019, @01:14PM (11 children)

      by driverless (4770) on Monday August 05 2019, @01:14PM (#875919)

      Before people get too upset about this, they may want to read this [theverge.com]. It paints very different picture than the rather ranty Techrights coverage.

      I have no skin in the game and don't care about Microsoft one way or the other, but the guy certainly seems to be pretty dubious. He was prosecuted for counterfeiting Windows CDs in China, with his own emails as evidence. He can claim he was doing it to save baby fur seals or whatever he wants on Techrights, but it doesn't change the fact that he was counterfeiting Windows CDs in China.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by hemocyanin on Monday August 05 2019, @02:29PM (8 children)

        by hemocyanin (186) on Monday August 05 2019, @02:29PM (#875976) Journal

        I think this comment to that article explained it most clearly, at least for me (assuming it is accurate):

        It’s very simple. Microsoft does NOT distribute the software for free to refurbishes. Their licensing requires that the refurbisher must have the original restore CD in order to refurbish the computer, and if they do not have it they must purchase a $25 refurbished license that allows them to freshly install a copy of windows. It also comes with a new certificate of authenticity. This has been their policy for many years (since at least 2011 when they seem to have instituted this licensing program). The reason why this guy was trying to counterfeit Dell restore disks was because Microsoft’s rules allow you to use the original license key if the original restore disk is in your possession. So that’s why he went through all the trouble of trying to fake the discs down to building molds to mimic genuine Dell CDs.

        He’s a straight up counterfeiter.

        A commentator upstream referenced two other emails MS posted in its response ( https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2018/04/27/the-facts-about-a-recent-counterfeiting-case-brought-by-the-u-s-government/ [microsoft.com] ) which I think that particular commenter had in mind:
        https://blogs.microsoft.com/uploads/prod/sites/5/2018/04/Email_image3.png [microsoft.com]
        https://blogs.microsoft.com/uploads/prod/sites/5/2018/04/Email_image5.png [microsoft.com]

        And here is where those emails came from: https://blogs.microsoft.com/wp-content/uploads/prod/sites/5/2018/04/2LUNDGREN6.pdf [microsoft.com]

        The email on page 26 looks particularly bad, reading in part: "I knew that would eventually come in... Customs can't tell the difference and therefore is not legally allowed to hold them. hehe"

        Email at page 58, in part: I have worked into my total "AirFreight" with parcel post which si not checked by Customs. Customs views this a waste of time to check ... Their ar tricks for bypassing customs with container's <L but currently this is how I get you these products without invoices past customs.

        Email at page 61, in part: As for SP3, The only unit that you got me was a burnt copy ... We need the actual OEM unit and tow or three of them... Can you find &send over to the same address in China?

        Anyway, I'm glad I don't use MS -- the licensing seems very complicated. At the same time, it does appear that Eric was working very hard to create exact, as in down to nearly invisible codes molded into the rim of cds, copies. That does sound like counterfeiting. If all he wanted to do was help out refurbishers, he could have just burned discs and marked them with a sharpie. No reason to go to all the effort to make extremely exact copied.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday August 05 2019, @04:42PM (7 children)

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 05 2019, @04:42PM (#876074) Journal

          It’s very simple. Microsoft does NOT distribute the software for free to refurbishes.

          But does distribute freely the recovery ISO-es from their own site, only it forbids the refurbishers to use it.
          Because, you see, to have a refurbisher saving a computer from becoming ewaste is secondary to MS profit. Can I rationally see it any other way?

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by hemocyanin on Monday August 05 2019, @05:47PM (6 children)

            by hemocyanin (186) on Monday August 05 2019, @05:47PM (#876096) Journal

            That seems a reasonable interpretation to me and at the same time, seems sort of orthogonal to what Eric and Bob were doing which was trying to undercut MS by counterfeiting Dell recover discs. Eric and Bob's business model relied on MS' business model (which charged $25 for recover discs) in order to sell the counterfeit Dell recover discs at $4. Without MS, Eric and Bob's discs would be worthless and thus, they were playing in the same ballpark.

            I suspect the whole ewaste argument came up as an afterthought when the hammer came down, but to be clear, I have no evidence to back up that suspicion.

            • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday August 05 2019, @10:12PM (5 children)

              by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 05 2019, @10:12PM (#876204) Journal

              Without MS, Eric and Bob's discs would be worthless and thus, they were playing in the same ballpark.

              So, we've established both are prostitutes and we are haggling which one provides a net to society, eh?
              In my books:
              1. making a second-hand computer more accessible to the unlucky by lowering the price by $21 is still a good deed. And a refurbisher brings net benefit to society: collects, repairs and distributes second-hand computers at a lower total cost than all the buyers doing it one computer at a time;
              2. the actions of MS result in less second-hand computers being reused and contributing to waste. And MS is doing this exclusively for the bottom line.

              So, a prostitute as Eric may be, was I wrong in my original comment?

              --
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
              • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday August 05 2019, @11:06PM (4 children)

                by hemocyanin (186) on Monday August 05 2019, @11:06PM (#876228) Journal

                The problem here is simply that prostitution is illegal, he got busted, and he's whining. Should prostitution of the type he performed be legalized? Probably yeah, but all in all, if you consider how draconian our legal system is, he got through it relatively well. If you look at the appellate court decision, the standard sentencing range for him would have been 37 to 46 months. For reasons not explained, he was sentenced to 15 months, substantially below the standard range.

                Anyway, perhaps when he gets out and comes up with some other scheme, he'll do some research into GPG. I even saw a gmail address in the affidavit regarding emails. Not smart.

                • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday August 05 2019, @11:30PM (3 children)

                  by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 05 2019, @11:30PM (#876230) Journal

                  The problem here is simply that prostitution is illegal, he got busted, and he's whining.

                  When 'prostitution' == 'actions for the sake of money', I gotta say it's not illegal, otherwise MS would be in very hot waters.
                  And I have no problem with him whinging, unfair is unfair even when is legal.

                  Anyway, perhaps when he gets out and comes up with some other scheme, he'll do some research into GPG. I even saw a gmail address in the affidavit regarding emails. Not smart.

                  I was hoping he'll learn how to recycle those computers by installing a Linux. That would be ideal, but any solution that reduces waste and increases reusing is a good thing for me.

                  --
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                  • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday August 05 2019, @11:44PM (2 children)

                    by hemocyanin (186) on Monday August 05 2019, @11:44PM (#876235) Journal

                    If he really wanted to focus on ewaste recycling, and if he really wanted to benefit low income people, he would give free classes at the Goodwill 1x per month on the topic: "With linux you can do most of what you can do on Windows, but for free on cheap hardware. It's easy!"

                    Aside from impoverished gamers, people really could get by on linux just fine. They don't know it though.

                    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday August 06 2019, @12:18AM (1 child)

                      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 06 2019, @12:18AM (#876242) Journal

                      Aside from impoverished gamers, people really could get by on linux just fine. They don't know it though.

                      There is a learning curve to climb, though. Other desktop UI, maybe an occasional WiFi network that stops without explanation (to the uninitiated), how to exchange Word documents that look the same when opened in MSWord on a Windows missing the Liberation Sans font.
                      True, it's not impossible, but if you work two jobs in gig-economy just to stay afloat, the amount of energy you can dedicate to learning is very low.

                      ---
                      Now, mate, my bottom line is:
                      1. as a result of their action, MS didn't earn a cent but the society experienced a loss
                      2. as imperfect human being as Eric may be, it is preferable for the society to have someone who carries the work of computer recycling than to have him imprisoned (i.e. don't let perfect be the enemy of good, you may end with nothing better and waiting forever for a perfection that never comes).

                      Finally, if I was the judge, I would have sentenced him to install Linux on the recycled computers for the period of his sentence; be it only for the sake of seeing the face of the MS lawyers at the moment of reading the sentence. What do you reckon, would MS have appealed?

                      --
                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                      • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday August 06 2019, @03:04AM

                        by hemocyanin (186) on Tuesday August 06 2019, @03:04AM (#876301) Journal

                        MS' lawyers would have insisted that he only install gentoo, from source.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 05 2019, @03:28PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 05 2019, @03:28PM (#876022)

        Microsoft will now let you download a windows 10 pro iso straight from their website. No questions asked.
        I wasn't able to use it (no burner) so I used my stand alone OEM copy of windows 10 pro on a laptop with a bad install. Crossing my fingers I'd be able to use the laptop's license key with my media. Apparently you also need a special burning tool for usb drives and it only runs on windows. (I'm sure i could have figured it out but I couldn't find any explanation why this tool is special.. anywhere)

        Well somehow it knew the laptop's key and worked flawlessly without asking me any questions.

        • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Tuesday August 06 2019, @07:47PM

          by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Tuesday August 06 2019, @07:47PM (#876727)

          Apparently you also need a special burning tool for usb drives and it only runs on windows.

          It's not that you need a special tool, but they give you one for free.
          https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=56485 [microsoft.com]

          You can still use something like Rufus https://rufus.ie/ [rufus.ie] if you want a non-microsoft tool on Windows. I honestly don't know how to do it on Linux. I use dd for Linux .isos, but I don't know if it would work for a Windows .iso.

          Trivia: The USB download tool was open source before Microsoft put codeplex out to pasture. Someone (I guess I'll volunteer) needs to go see if that can be forklifted over to GitHub.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by ElizabethGreene on Monday August 05 2019, @03:49PM (19 children)

      by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Monday August 05 2019, @03:49PM (#876044)

      (I work for Microsoft and as such my opinion is invalid.)

      This wasn't a good deed, it's a guy making visually high quality counterfeits so he can sell them. That is wrong, regardless of what is on the disks. The "I'm recycling!" bit of this is revisionist history to get sympathy from people who won't read below the fold.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by c0lo on Monday August 05 2019, @04:38PM (18 children)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 05 2019, @04:38PM (#876071) Journal

        This wasn't a good deed, it's a guy making visually high quality counterfeits so he can sell them.

        Media with an information downloadable for free from the MS site [microsoft.com], right?
        So, his only offense was "making visually high quality counterfeits" and saving MS bandwidth, ain't it?

        Or was the mistake that he didn't want to pay a new license but use the original one printed on the OEM label still stuck on the refurbished computer?
        'Cause that's what MS asked the judge to consider, a lost profit from not selling new "refurbisher licenses", when the original ones (the doctrine of first sale) were perfectly valid and legit. So please mr judge, sir, lock him up, we don't care about those computers becoming ewaste, our profit must not suffer.

        So which of the two, Elizabeth?

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 4, Informative) by hemocyanin on Monday August 05 2019, @06:01PM (10 children)

          by hemocyanin (186) on Monday August 05 2019, @06:01PM (#876105) Journal

          She makes a good point, don't harsh on her like that. MS' licensing practices suck to be sure and the rules about who can and who cannot use the downloaded ISO free are completely arbitrary, but if MS wants to be that way it can.

          As for first sale doctrine, surely that applies when you actually have the thing first sold. If I buy a book, lose the last chapter somehow, and sell the book, the next owner can't go down to a bookstore and photocopy the last chapter, reinsert into the book, and then sell it again. You sell what'cha got. With these computers, the original restore discs that were first sold with the machines are gone for whatever reason. When he went to China and made exacting duplicates, he was trying to help people get something they never bought.

          Secondly, I would guess that in the wholesale market for refurbishers, the lack of a restore disc and the $25 hit that entails would be well known and that computers without restore discs cost less. By counterfeiting restore discs, he's hurting linux users by artificially increasing the public retail value of these old computers. A person like me would actually prefer one that has no MS license because presumably, I should get at least a $25 break on the hardware.

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by sjames on Monday August 05 2019, @07:52PM (4 children)

            by sjames (2882) on Monday August 05 2019, @07:52PM (#876154) Journal

            Except what they bought included the original license. The same MAY actually apply to that damaged book as well. Perhaps it's time to revisit the whole wave/particle duality that publishers want us to believe. It's either a physical medium OR it's a license. No more picking whichever one brings in the most money on a per-incident basis.

            • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday August 05 2019, @08:48PM (3 children)

              by hemocyanin (186) on Monday August 05 2019, @08:48PM (#876181) Journal

              If it is a physical product then the answer is easy: the discs are lost and Eric was counterfeiting.

              If it is a license, then we need to know what the license says about transferability. It appears that there is a license that follows the physical discs as opposed to the purchaser, so that is at least somewhat lenient -- MS could if it wanted to, make the license follow a person/computer combo if it wanted to be the most draconian.

              Anyway, the issues people have is that MS is greedy. That's a surprise. /s The problem in this case is that Eric and his partner were looking to profit from MS' greed through counterfeiting Dell discs. That's not so laudable and contributes nothing to the world at all. In contrast, look at all the people who have worked on free software over the years -- they're heros for doing it and have made the world a better place.

              • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday August 05 2019, @11:05PM (2 children)

                by sjames (2882) on Monday August 05 2019, @11:05PM (#876227) Journal

                I agree that Free Software and the people working on it are making the world a better place.

                $4 is not actually a huge ask for saving the trouble of downloading, burning, and labeling a disk. It seems the profit is coming from actual work done rather than from unjust copying. Back when burners were less common and most people were stuck with dial-up, that was about the going rate for a Linux CD and most considered it fair enough.

                • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Monday August 05 2019, @11:55PM (1 child)

                  by hemocyanin (186) on Monday August 05 2019, @11:55PM (#876237) Journal

                  It does seem to be a lot of effort for a low margin product, but Eric's situation is arguably different than burning and mailing a linux distro in two ways:

                  1: He didn't do the work, he contracted the work to Chinese (likely near-slave labor) companies. His job was essentially quality control and arranging bulk shipping.
                  2: A linux distro comes with a license that expressly permits -- perhaps even encourages -- people to share the work. MS' products aren't distributed that way.

                  • (Score: 2) by sjames on Tuesday August 06 2019, @12:23AM

                    by sjames (2882) on Tuesday August 06 2019, @12:23AM (#876245) Journal

                    Most of the Linux CDs were contracted out for production as well. Very few were some guy in his basement (or an office) burning disks all day.

                    MS has the same damned ISO on their site free to download. Their license enforcement is in entering the license key when you boot the disk. Eric made no effort to alter that enforcement.

                    This is more like the guy offering free water suing the guy that sets up next to him offering paper cups for $0.05

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday August 05 2019, @09:51PM (4 children)

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 05 2019, @09:51PM (#876198) Journal

            As for first sale doctrine, surely that applies when you actually have the thing first sold. If I buy a book, lose the last chapter somehow, and sell the book, the next owner can't go down to a bookstore and photocopy the last chapter, reinsert into the book, and then sell it again.

            Hang on a minute. The publisher allows downloading the last chapter for anyone to print, except not for second-hand book sellers, for which entire books are sold.
            Yes, legally the publisher is entitled to do so, but.. this doesn't mean a book without that chapter is not trashed if the book seller doesn't want to pay?

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
            • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday August 06 2019, @12:02AM (3 children)

              by hemocyanin (186) on Tuesday August 06 2019, @12:02AM (#876238) Journal

              The double negative in the last sentence makes it hard to understand, but I'm thinking you are saying that without the last chapter, the book would be trashed because it couldn't be sold.

              Anyway, it appears that a consumer can download an ISO and install windows him/herself. A refurbisher without the original disc, must pay $25 for a new one so the refurbisher can install Windows. What is stopping a refurbisher with a machine that came without discs, from saying to customers: here's a computer with windows installed for $185. If you buy it with a blank HD and download and install windows yourself, you can have the machine for $150 (I built in $10 for the time required to install Windows).

              So back to your book analogy, the book with the chapter torn out could be sold. A bookseller might sell a complete non-damaged version for $3, but also put out the damaged one and say "this one is $2 but you have to go [here] and download the last chapter. It's stupid but I'm not allowed." What the book seller can't do, is download and print the last chapter and essentially charge $1 for the service by gluing it back into the binding of the damaged book.

              Is that stupid? yeah. But such is the law.

              • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday August 06 2019, @12:38AM (2 children)

                by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 06 2019, @12:38AM (#876247) Journal

                The double negative in the last sentence makes it hard to understand, but I'm thinking you are saying that without the last chapter, the book would be trashed because it couldn't be sold.

                Yes, posting before morning coffee tends to have this effect.

                A refurbisher without the original disc, must pay $25 for a new one so the refurbisher can install Windows. What is stopping a refurbisher with a machine that came without discs, from saying to customers: here's a computer with windows installed for $185. If you buy it with a blank HD and download and install windows yourself, you can have the machine for $150 (I built in $10 for the time required to install Windows).

                Nothing stops him doing so, but delivering a machine that:
                1. has a blank HD and has not been tested doesn't seem in line with "selling a refurbished but working computer". If you test it installing form a recovery disk only to wipe the HD clean afterwards... what's the point?
                2. as a buyer, when your money and available time is tight, you may postpone indefinitely buying a tool which can help you get out the shit (sending job applications left and right), because you can't afford $35 and the time to get that ISO from MS and burn it on a computer you can't use because, well, has a clean HD**

                ** I had a couple of hardship periods when $120 meant my food for 2 weeks - didn't do my heath any service eating that cheap shit, but I wasn't willing to waste my time I dedicated to looking for a job in software to get a "shelf stacking" type of job, I simply couldn't afford the time/energy budget to do it. Fortunately, I didn't miss a computer in those periods and didn't need to rely on social security.

                --
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Tuesday August 06 2019, @03:00AM (1 child)

                  by hemocyanin (186) on Tuesday August 06 2019, @03:00AM (#876298) Journal

                  I went through a time right out of school where I was couch surfing and eating wild blackberries because that is all I could afford. I do know what it is like to be poor even if I'm comfortable now. As I mentioned elsewhere, he'd be doing poor people a true favor by demoing how they can write resumes on linux just fine, plus check their facebook and twitter. It could even serve as gateway for some users toward server admin type careers. He didn't do that though -- he just counterfeited discs for personal profit.

                  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday August 06 2019, @03:52AM

                    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 06 2019, @03:52AM (#876315) Journal

                    he just counterfeited discs for personal profit.

                    I get that he was to generate income from that, yes. I admit he could turn a profit, yes.
                    Do you care to demonstrate he intended to do this purely for personal profit reasons? (many intention are possible, including getting funds to support his recycling operations).

                    I love better these guys [computerbank.org.au]: based on volunteering, selling second-hands with Ubuntu installed. I donated twice when I refreshed my computers, I even pre-installed Ubuntu myself on the donated computers.
                    However, I'm not gonna dismiss Eric's actions as useless only because he chose to do worse then computerbank guys; and my opinion is based on the ground that stopping him is a loss for the society (less computers being reused, less people benefiting from a computer), with nobody being better.

                    --
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Tuesday August 06 2019, @03:21AM (4 children)

          by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Tuesday August 06 2019, @03:21AM (#876305)

          Media with an information downloadable for free from the MS site [microsoft.com], right?
          So, his only offense was "making visually high quality counterfeits" and saving MS bandwidth, ain't it?

          No, his crime was making discs containing cracked versions of Windows and selling them as legitimate Dell OEM media. It violated Microsoft's copyright, Microsoft and Dell's Trademarks, country of origin labeling laws, and customs declaration laws.

          .. and again, you're not talking about small change here. The government documented $70,000 in wire transfers for these shipments.

          I personally disagreed with my company's former stance of not making Windows available for download. You couldn't download XP or Win7 when this case was brought. That said, I cannot in my free-software-loving heart defend someone that selling disks of cracked software that overtly tries to deceive consumers. It's wrong.

          reference: https://blogs.microsoft.com/wp-content/uploads/prod/sites/5/2018/04/2LUNDGREN6.pdf [microsoft.com]

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday August 06 2019, @03:34AM (3 children)

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 06 2019, @03:34AM (#876307) Journal

            No, his crime was making discs containing cracked versions of Windows and selling them as legitimate Dell OEM media. It violated Microsoft's copyright, Microsoft and Dell's Trademarks, country of origin labeling laws, and customs declaration laws.

            Illegal, yes.
            Did his action cause any damage to someone?

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
            • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Tuesday August 06 2019, @06:45PM (2 children)

              by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Tuesday August 06 2019, @06:45PM (#876684)

              If you ignore the monetary damage to Microsoft (Refurb licenses not sold).
              If you ignore the cost to Dell (Phone support: "I tried to use my restore CD and the NIC driver wasn't installed")
              If you ignore the possibility that the disc contains malware.
              Then you still had damage to the end consumer when a Windows update un-cracks the distribution and the user gets the "Your software is not genuine" warning.

              This was XP, and the Windows Genuine Advantage thing was a thing.

              • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Tuesday August 06 2019, @10:48PM (1 child)

                by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 06 2019, @10:48PM (#876791) Journal

                Beth, you are arguing in bad faith only to paint him as "Oh, the Piiiiraaate, he solds cracked copies of Window".
                You ignore the restore CD ISO was available for download, so that anyone having a secondhand computer with the original OEM license still available, could legalaly:
                1. download the restore ISO and burn on a CD
                2. restore the system
                3. input the original OEM license
                and end with legal functional second hand computer.

                What he has done was to use the advantages of mass production to make step 1 cheaper and less wasteful (in terms of time and bandwidth).

                > If you ignore the monetary damage to Microsoft (Refurb licenses not sold).
                Unlikely that they would have been ever purchased, with an ISO available for download.
                In this case, the 'refurbisher license ' is MS way to create an artificial scarcity without delivering any advantage to the eventual purchaser.

                > If you ignore the cost to Dell (Phone support: "I tried to use my restore CD and the NIC driver wasn't installed")
                Unlikely that would have happened, refurbishing a computer does imply testing it as working. The Recover CD is for situation post-sale.
                Besides we are talking about ]second hand computers, I doubt Dell would offer warranties for equipment older than 1 year, so cal into Dell support is unlikely.

                > If you ignore the possibility that the disc contains malware.
                Oh, come on now. An exact copy of the original Dell Restore CD, right?

                > Then you still had damage to the end consumer when a Windows update un-cracks the distribution and the user gets the "Your software is not genuine" warning.
                BS - the restore only installs the system, the original OEM license is either accepted by MS after restore (and he can sell a working second-hand computer) or is not (and he can't sell it other than as ewaste).

                --
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Wednesday August 07 2019, @02:37PM

                  by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Wednesday August 07 2019, @02:37PM (#877081)

                  I can't tell if you are ignorant of the evidence in this case or just trolling.

                  The government's evidence from the case is here: https://blogs.microsoft.com/wp-content/uploads/prod/sites/5/2018/04/2LUNDGREN6.pdf [microsoft.com]
                  If you don't want it from a microsoft blog then you can create a Pacer account and download it from the court directly.

                  There are plenty of cases to rail against where the court gets things wrong, but do you really want to plant a flag on some back-alley shyster selling cracked copies of Windows and trying to pass them off as the real thing?

        • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Tuesday August 06 2019, @03:52AM (1 child)

          by darkfeline (1030) on Tuesday August 06 2019, @03:52AM (#876316) Homepage

          Just because you can download it does not mean you can distribute it, and it definitely does not mean you can distribute it commercially and make a profit.

          --
          Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday August 06 2019, @04:00AM

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 06 2019, @04:00AM (#876319) Journal

            Just because you can download it does not mean you can distribute it, and it definitely does not mean you can distribute it commercially

            It's illegal, yes. Now, spell the harm he caused by doing it.
            'Cause dam' sure, I can tell what harm the (otherwise, legit) Microsoft's actions caused to society.

            it definitely does not mean you can distribute it commercially and make a profit.

            Demonstrate he was going to make a profit.

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Monday August 05 2019, @01:53PM (3 children)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 05 2019, @01:53PM (#875942) Journal

    Prisons are overcrowded, but somehow they can always make room to punish initiative and activity that is in no way illegal, it is only embarrassing to the powerful.

    Frankly, I am a little scared. This kind of crap could happen to any geek. And I don't mean what Microsoft did, bad though that was, I mean the courts. How the heck does the justice system arrive at such mean, vindictive, damaging, and unfair verdicts so frequently? For instance, there's the terrorism that the MAFIAA engaged in. Potentially almost everyone is guilty of piracy.

    I fear these gross injustices are more possible now, with the right wingers busily filling every vacant court position with vicious partisan hacks who want to turn the clock back to the 1950s or even the 1850s. Their main concern appears to be putting women, brown peoples, agnostics and atheists and other such free thinkers, educators, and liberals and the liberal media under their thumbs. Geeks who aren't prominent in any of those other categories are a relatively minor target, often just collateral damage.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by ElizabethGreene on Monday August 05 2019, @03:59PM (2 children)

      by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Monday August 05 2019, @03:59PM (#876048)

      they can always make room to punish initiative and activity that is in no way illegal

      Take one step back from that and see if this is really the case.

      This wasn't someone in their basement making sharpie-labeled DVD-R copies. He ran a commercial operation to print thousands of counterfeit discs, taking great care to make it as visually identical to the original as possible so it would get seized as counterfeit by customs, and selling it as if it was the real thing.

      This guy is a capital P Pirate, not someone banging together PCs from scrap in their basement.

      • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Monday August 05 2019, @07:28PM

        by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Monday August 05 2019, @07:28PM (#876144) Journal

        > see if this is really the case.

        An important question. Who is to be believed? MS or Lundgren? Or neither?

        I would not be surprised to hear that Mr. Lundgren put a toe over a line or two, but given MS's long history of monopolistic bullying, their many attempts to corrupt, co-opt, bury, or break standards-- you know, "embrace, extend, extinguish"-- I am inclined to take yet another story of MS turpitude at face value.

        As for Piracy, someday, in order to progress towards a kinder and gentler world, society is going to have to understand the basic facts of this matter, and stop accepting corporate and ownership class demonizing of mere copying as an unethical, illegal activity that will insure that artists and their children all starve. Copying is not stealing. Copying is copying. We need a new system to ensure creators are fairly paid, but which also allows us all to exercise our natural right to create and use copies. No more artificial scarcity. Public libraries should be allowed to fully digitize. It also should not be a "Mother may I" system of constantly having to hunt for permission from artists who may or may not be easily identified or contacted, or reasonable and cooperative.

      • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday August 05 2019, @08:07PM

        by sjames (2882) on Monday August 05 2019, @08:07PM (#876160) Journal

        He did what he had to to keep customs from improperly seizing his perfectly legal product. That one needs to be taken up with customs. The same emails that suggest he was making an effort to make the disks look as much like the original disks as possible also support that he did so in response to customs seizing them otherwise.

        To show that he was a pirate, it would be necessary to show that he attempted to convince the buyer that he was reselling a Microsoft product.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 05 2019, @02:09PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 05 2019, @02:09PM (#875950)

    poor guy. had to go to prison because people are stupid.
    firstly they're stupid for using windows secondly for not knowing they can "refresh" their 2nd hand bardware for free and legal.
    so by trying to help the dumb people stay dumb, providing a service that allows them to "refresh" their 2nd hand from a "not sanctioned CD" instead of having to do it tbemselfs and in the process save tons of upload bandwidth on the official refresh providing m$ servers ... he goes to prison.

    so i am wondering if this would have played out differently if:
    he would have made a cd with linux that boots and asks if you want to:
    A) give linux a go (live cd, gui icon "install linux")
    B) fetch the "refresh.iso" from m$ and burn it to a cd
    ?
    anyways ... i guess he should have totally printed something like this on CD.
    "THIS IS NOT OFFICIAL MS DISK.
    CONTAINES "REFRESH.ISO" DATA. publically downloadable FROM WWW.M$.COM.
    WILL NOT WORK WITHOUT A LICENSE KEY FROM M$"

    or sumething.
    it IS strange, that if ANYBODY can download the data from m$ that somebody cannot download it a thousand times and store it on CDs.
    maybe, also if he would let every "customer" sign a 'lil' document that says that signee confirm that monies paid to sir refurbisher is for hardware only and the cd was provided for free" then at least m$ cannot say mr refurbisher was (financially) criminal thus prison is out of scope?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by hemocyanin on Monday August 05 2019, @02:53PM (1 child)

      by hemocyanin (186) on Monday August 05 2019, @02:53PM (#875992) Journal

      In one of the emails he wrote, pg 16 here: https://blogs.microsoft.com/wp-content/uploads/prod/sites/5/2018/04/2LUNDGREN6.pdf [microsoft.com]

      Secondly, the SP3 discs have a labeling/printing error on the inner ring of the disc. The genuine discs we have seen all say made in U.S.A and have an IFPI Number of L028. The discs wer received from you say Made in U.S.A (no period after the A) and have IFPI number of LO28 (they used the letter "o" instead of a zero). You may think these are small issues, but you must understand that the Chinese counterfeiters have become extremely adept at make counterfeit software and it is getting harder to spot it. ... If they are not perfect, it is because the unit that we received the USA retail on Ebay was not perfect... We made an identical copy of said unit from the same factories that manufacture for Dell.."

      So it sounds like he is complaining about receiving a counterfeit to copy and what he wants is a real disc so the copy HE makes, can be perfect and not propagate an error a prior copier made.

      I get that MS is evil. That's why I don't use MS' products. I get that the traditional software copyright/licensing thing has built into it a bunch of insanity. This guy wasn't trying to undermine the system however, he was looking to profit from that system by giving people the fruits of that system at a lower price than MS was willing to charge. That's not even close to white knight behavior, it is merely an example of a selfish individual running up against a selfish corporation. No good guys here.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by sjames on Monday August 05 2019, @08:16PM

        by sjames (2882) on Monday August 05 2019, @08:16PM (#876164) Journal

        An interesting note on MS licensing. I once had a client that wanted me to set up a server running windows. Being unfamiliar with the Windows world's licensing, I called MS to find out what licenses were required, telling the representative to the best of my ability what the anticipated use was and how many would be using it. The answer seemed a bit odd, and MS is notorious for later claiming that what their reps say isn't legally binding, so I called again and got a different rep who gave me a different answer based on the same information. I called once again seeing if I could at least go with 2 out of 3, but the 3rd answer didn't match either of the other answers.

        Since even MS can't figure out MS licensing, I'm inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt when they don't seem to understand it either.

        I also avoid MS products, especially where licensing them introduces a business risk.

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