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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 ElizabethGreene on Monday August 05 2019, @03:59PM (2 children)

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

    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.

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

    by bzipitidoo (4388) 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.