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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: 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.

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  • (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