In case you've forgotten: Microsoft is still a vile garbage fire of a company.

E-waste recycler Eric Lundgren loses appeal on computer restore disks, must serve 15-month prison term:

A California man who built a sizable business out of recycling electronic waste is headed to federal prison for 15 months after a federal appeals court in Miami rejected his claim that the "restore disks" he made to extend the lives of computers had no financial value, instead ruling that he had infringed Microsoft's products to the tune of $700,000.

The appeals court upheld a federal district judge's ruling that the disks made by Eric Lundgren to restore Microsoft operating systems had a value of $25 apiece, even though they could be downloaded free and could be used only on computers with a valid Microsoft license. [...]

But he said the court had set a precedent for Microsoft and other software-makers to pursue criminal cases against those seeking to extend the life span of computers. "I got in the way of their agenda," Lundgren said, "this profit model that's way more profitable than I could ever be."

Lundgren said he wasn't sure when he would be surrendering. He said prosecutors in Miami told him he could have a couple of weeks to put his financial affairs in order, including plans for his company of more than 100 employees. "But I was told if I got loud in the media, they'd come pick me up," Lundgren said. "If you want to take my liberty, I'm going to get loud."

"I am going to prison, and I've accepted it," Lundgren said Monday. "What I'm not okay with is people not understanding why I'm going to prison. Hopefully my story can shine some light on the e-waste epidemic we have in the United States, how wasteful we are. At what point do people stand up and say something? I didn't say something, I just did it."

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9 Responses:

  1. MattyJ says:

    It's even more awful when you read the entire article. The article doesn't mention where he got his lawyer from, but it seems the FSF should be (have been) involved in this.

  2. Tim says:

    Terrible, but there are just so many garbage fires to choose from nowadays. Every time I read "unicorn" in the tech press, I will now substitute "future garbage fire".

  3. mr_mercer says:

    Petition the president for a full pardon. The current office holder has no love for the industry.

  4. Nick Lamb says:

    "The enemy of my enemy is not, in fact, my friend, or even my ally, they're just some other fucker who is also the enemy of my enemy"

    Lundgren is a counterfeiter. The government doesn't care that Jamie, or random people on the Internet think he's a saint who was just trying to help recycle electronic waste, from their point of view they locked up a counterfeiter, job done. But it does kind of suck that most coverage of this happily quoted Lundgren and/or his lawyer, who of course aren't going to say "Bang to rights, I'm as crooked as a summer's day is long".

    The prosecution submitted a bunch of emails which are blatantly back and forth between a counterfeiter and his... what do you call the person who shifts the counterfeit products to unsuspecting marks? Is that still a fence?

    My favourite is, before they get busted, Eric sends an email telling his contact that if Customs asks awkward questions just lie, say he's paid a lot of money and to "Act upset as to why you had not received your product yet".

  5. johann says:

    The devil is in the details. The recovery discs were made to look like original ones from Dell and others, with their logo on them. And in an e-mail he even said that customs can't hold shipments because the discs are identical with original discs and customs can't figure out the difference. He clearly knew he was involved in shady business!

    There could be anything on those discs, malware for a start. If this was really about recycling, why not make it transparent to the customer that where the disc came from? Maybe that wouldn't be allowed, but that doesn't give you a green light for faking discs. He might even have the best intentions, but what if a supplier in China installs the malware on the discs? What if customers find malware on their computers due to that and reasonably assume that it came from Microsoft or the PC manufacturer that is printed on the disc?

    Imagine you gave out free discs with your screensaver on them, with your name and address on them - would you not want to stop someone from copying those discs, even if they give them out for free, based solely on the fact that it is out of your control what software actually ends up on those copied discs, with your name and address on them?

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