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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: 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) Subscriber Badge 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.