Microsoft Helps Get A Computer Recycler Sentenced To 15 Months In Prison For Offering Unapproved Recovery Disks

from the thanks-for-making-the-world-a-better-place-you-thief dept

To ensure no good deed goes unpunished, Microsoft is trying to get a computer recycler tossed in prison because he almost provided Windows recovery disks to users who needed them. Eric Lundgren, who's made heroic efforts to prevent dangerous computer parts from filling landfills, is facing a 15-month sentence and a $50,000 fine for manufacturing 28,000 recovery disks. His sentence is based on two charges: conspiracy and copyright infringement.

Tom Jackman has the whole story at the Washington Post and it's half-tragedy, half-farce. Lundgren runs a company that prevents tens of millions of pounds of harmful chemicals and metals from ending up in landfills. In return for doing more than his part to save the planet, he'll gets a chance to spend a year in jail and hand Microsoft $50,000 in compensation for sales it never "lost" from recovery discs he never got a chance to distribute. (h/t Techdirt reader Tom Sparks)

Lundgren said he thought electronics companies wanted the reuse of computers to be difficult so that consumers would buy new ones. “I started learning what planned obsolescence was,” he said, “and I realized companies make laptops that only lasted as long as the insurance would last. It infuriated me. That’s not what a healthy society should have.”

He thought that producing and selling restore discs to computer refurbishers — saving them the hassle of downloading the software and burning new discs — would encourage more users to restore their computers instead of discarding them. In his view, the new owners were entitled to the software, and this just made it easier.

The government, and Microsoft, did not see it that way. Federal prosecutors in Florida obtained a 21-count indictment against Lundgren and his business partner, and Microsoft filed a letter seeking $420,000 in restitution for lost sales. Lundgren claims that the assistant U.S. attorney on the case told him, “Microsoft wants your head on a platter and I’m going to give it to them.”

Fortunately, Lundgren has judges in a couple of courts on his side, at least for the time being. US District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley pointed out to the prosecution that Lundgren hadn't sold any of the recovery discs he had produced. Because of that, he departed downward from federal sentencing guidelines, giving Lundgren less than half of the 36-to-47 months called for.

Judge Hurley appears to feel locking Lundgren up for a few years would be a net loss for society, if not the environment.

“This case is especially difficult,” Hurley told Lundgren at his sentencing last May, “because of who you are today and in terms of who you have become.” The judge received evidence of Lundgren’s recycling company, IT Asset Partners, his projects to clean up e-waste in Ghana and China and a 2016 initiative in which Lundgren’s company repaired and donated more than 14,000 cellphones and $100,000 to “Cellphones for Soldiers” to benefit U.S. soldiers deployed overseas.

The other court on his side -- at least for the moment -- is the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Lundgren appealed his sentence and the court agreed to hear the case. This keeps Lundgren out of jail until the appeal is ruled on. It's unclear where the court's sympathies lie, but it is encouraging it didn't dismiss it immediately. Lundgren plans to argue he didn't violate Microsoft's software license or cause it any lost sales. The government will obviously stick to its "head on a platter" argument, presenting Microsoft's absurd "lost sales" theory as actual fact, rather than the ridiculousness it is -- especially when Microsoft spent most of the last couple of years giving away Windows 10 to everyone, including people who didn't want it.

Someone dedicates his life to keeping landfills free of harmful material and the government wants to send him to prison. And it's all based on Microsoft's assertion it would have sold as many recovery disks as Lundgren created if only Lundgren hadn't created them. Ignored is the fact they never were distributed. Also ignored is the dubiousness of "lost sales" assertions, which are always 100% conjecture and always presented as a simplistic equation: "1 Piracy = 1 Lost Sale." But in this case, no sales were lost because no sales were replaced with bootleg boot disks.

And "sales" must be a legal term of art. Microsoft allows anyone to download a recovery disk for free. But in court, these are suddenly worth money because infringement. To ensure someone gets tossed in jail for breaking the chain of planned obsolescence, Microsoft (and prosecutors) want the court to believe the existence of recovery disks that do nothing unless a person already has a licensed copy of Windows has somehow made the company $700,000 poorer. Given the limitations of burned recovery disks, it's impossible to see where infringement even comes into play. And yet here we are, watching prosecutorial discretion morph into putting someone's head on a platter over recovery disks any one of us could download hundreds of times from Microsoft's website without a single murmur about "lost sales" from the tech giant.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 3:26am

    What the actual fuck.

    There's already a clear argument that the effect on the market was nil. And probably would have continued to be nil...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 3:33am

    But but but the COA was tied not only to the machine & the exact hardware it shipped with, it is tied to the person who used it!

    From this event we have discovered that some companies are redeploying laptops to different workers and this is costing us 22 bajillion dollars b/c the coa is tied to that person using that machine and is non-transferrable under penalty of us forcing you to run windows 8.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Valkor, 12 Mar 2018 @ 7:56am

      Re:

      Jesus tap-dancing Christ, you're not that far off.

      OEM recovery disks are the biggest pain in the dick ever. Don't upgrade your motherboard, for sure. If your disk is a partition on the hard drive, good luck. Computer older than a month? The OEM probably doesn't offer recovery media for it anymore. Two almost identical computers, two valid product keys, and only one set of recovery disks in the house? Fat chance.

      That COA label and product key doesn't mean anything without a holy and blessed disk, and vice versa. As others have said, the answer to the license/sale question is the one that screws you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Mar 2018 @ 3:36am

        Re: Re:

        *stares*
        you must be new :)

        changing the MB or chip screws the key.
        to many video card swaps used to set it off IIRC.

        It isn't like there was an entire community putting out the tools required to "slipstream" the service packs into install discs to save people time. Not many people knew if you just altered (or was it delete) 1 file on an install disc and suddenly it was an all versions disc.

        In a former life as a techie I had a collection of universal discs, slipstreamed & all versions on them. I might not have acquired them in the standard ways, but I wasn't hacking product keys so in my mind it wasn't a big deal. MS would most likely disagree, but if someone has a valid COA (validated by MS on install) why does the source of the media matter?

        I might have seen groups who packaged up several OEM's recovery discs onto 1 disc to make life easier for those of us who have to show up and reformat/reinstall is the only answer left.

        I had an HP laptop once (I hate laptops) & it kept pestering me to make my recovery discs. I made the discs, you could only make 1 copy ever... except they were flawed and didn't work. If not for my collection of OEM discs I'd have been screwed.

        Most customers aren't going to hit up the MB maker (if they can even find the name (looking at you HP)) and keep running downloads of all of the updates in a safe spot for that day it all goes to shit & the support website doesn't think your product deserves updates.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 4:18am

    "In return for doing more than his part to save the planet, he'll gets a chance to spend a year in jail and hand Microsoft $50,000"

    I don't think those two things are connected in the way you are implying. And you don't really, either.

    Try and stay honest.

    Cosby did/achieved "heroic" things through his work as well. And what does he get in return? /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 8:48am

      Re:

      How are they not connected? The methods he was using to prevent further waste were the cause of his indictments. They're directly connected.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Not connected, 12 Mar 2018 @ 9:42am

        Re: Re:

        Well, I kind of agree, there isn't a connection. M$ is being ridiculous here, yes, but the way this story is written, the guy made 28,000 copies of recovery discs FOR OTHER PEOPLE. That's a violation of the EULA. Yes, we can all go make our own copies, but if you start trying to distribute (which was his intent) you're in a muddy spot. Especially since he was going to sell them, not just give them away (an important fact you don't find in this article, but the Post documents). These weren't just Windows 10 discs downloaded off the M$ site. They were the discs from the OEMs that contain more than just Windows, which could have played a part in this.

        And his comments about "planned obsolescence" point to a motive to directly reduce M$ sales.

        You can hold him up as some kind of saint for trying to keep computer parts out of landfills (which he's doing for a profit, BTW, so don't hold him out to be so holy and righteous, he's a business guy) but don't link his business to his crusade and make them one and the same. They aren't. He isn't being picked on by M$ because he's trying to keep bad stuff out of landfills. He's being picked on because he is absolutely trying to cost them money, he's blatantly stated it, and he's violating one or more EULAs to do it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 10:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "discs from the OEMs that contain more than just Windows"

          They most certainly do contain more than just Windows.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 3:48pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          His comments on planned obsolescence point to a motive to directly reduce unnecessary consumer waste, namely highly toxic e-waste. If MS sales are reduced by this, it's indirect at best. His motivation does not appear to be to do one over on microsoft but to stop a ludicrous system of waste production in the name of profit generation.

          And so what if he's doing it for a profit? Everyone likes to eat, have clothes on their back, a roof over their head. And unless we have a system where the necessities are provided for free, you will need money to do that. The question is, was he being greedy about it? And with his actions in Ghana, China, etc. I would argue he has not. The acquisition of wealth in not inherently evil, like everything else money is a tool. If he had a fleet of Maserati's or something then I would be concerned.

          And let's face it, it's well known that EULA's are constantly over-reaching. The control of recovery disks isn't directly about protecting profits, it's about market monopolization and control.

          And just because something is illegal doesn't make it morally right. Universal laws are for the unwashed masses, context is for kings. And the context here implies that MS is in the wrong. Laws are supposed to be there to protect people but we have begun to use it as yet another system of control (I guess since religion doesn't quite do the trick anymore). And contrary to what the courts say, companies are NOT people.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Mar 2018 @ 3:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Heaven forbid he include the drivers on the disc that the system needs to function, rather than wait for Windows Update to see if maybe just maybe the OEM registered the right drivers.

          Of the 28,000 copies.... how many did he sell?
          The AUSA flat out told him that MS wants his head, and he was going to deliver it.

          As he didn't sell any of the discs, how was his "crime" worth bajillions MS claims to have lost on events that haven't happened yet?

          One might think that breaking a EULA isn't a federal crime, corporate law still isn't legal. They claim losses that haven't happened to push the sentencing guidelines up for a crime that hadn't been committed yet.

          People who can only afford an "obsolete" machine aren't lost customers for MS. They do not have the ability to buy a newer machine & MS sure as hell isn't putting out low cost solutions that these compete with.

          You buy a used car, the original manual was missing so someone printed out a copy... and now they face federal charges because the company should have been able to charge a huge fee for a replacement manual.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Eric Lundgren, 22 Apr 2018 @ 10:06pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Your Wrong.. I didn’t make a penny doing this. I did it to keep eWaste out of landfills. No license was provided, just the Restore CD’s and only to machines that had a valid COA/License to empower customers to fix their legally owned product,

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 10:07am

      Re:

      Wait ... Cosby???

      Oh yeah, I'm the one supposed to be honest.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dingledore the Previously Impervious, 12 Mar 2018 @ 4:49am

    Microsoft - Eats cake, yet still has cake.

    Microsoft have spent years explaining that they sell licences, not DVDs of software.

    Now, they're apparently selling the DVDs again. If it's a lost sale, where can we buy them?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 12 Mar 2018 @ 4:58am

    when you download those images from MS, you agree to a click-wrap EULA.
    We can calculate how much those are worth since that contains the loss of MS here, and we know hoe much they `lost' and how much copies were made: 700.000 / 28.000 = $25 per download.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 5:42am

      Re:

      Huh, the last time I downloaded a Windows recovery disc image, there was no EULA. The EULA was when you USED the recovery disc, not when you got it. Have they changed that?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        I.T. Guy, 12 Mar 2018 @ 7:02am

        Re: Re:

        The winXX media creation tool makes you accept a EULA before downloading.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 8:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The Windows Media Creator EULA is for the media creator software itself and does not apply to the version of Windows for which it's used to create media.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 5:02am

    Alternative headline: Microsoft Tries to Help Ruin Environment by Having Man Jailed for Trying to Help It

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 5:18am

    I have tried several times

    to successfully run the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, yet each time I reboot afterwards, Windows is still there on the hard drive. Clearly this is a fake tool.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 5:46am

      Re: I have tried several times

      Well there’s your problem: You have to delete System32 first, then run the Ubuntu LiveCD.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 8:37am

        Re: Re: I have tried several times

        That brings up a related problem: it's very difficult to go into a store and get a proper laptop without Windows or MacOS. So this laptop refurbisher, unless installing Windows on Macs or Chromebooks (the latter usually don't have hard drives), is unlikely to come across a laptop with no Windows license.

        Since MS was already paid, they'd only have "lost" a sale if the person would have otherwise left the laptop in the trash and bought a new one.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 10:14am

        Re: Re: I have tried several times

        I highly recommend a complete erasure of the disk prior to any OS install. I use Darik's Boot 'and Nuke, basically DD on steroids.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wshuff (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 5:29am

    Seems like there’s a good advertisement for Linux in there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Why are you still using microsoft crap, 12 Mar 2018 @ 5:34am

    why oh why are you yet again still using microsoft crap

    this is exactly why it totally baffles me why people still to this day, i kid you not, still use microsoft software. Its proprietory, its made by indians not americans, it fails almost on a daily basis and its killing the environment.

    What sort of boneheads are still using it today, seriously, get rid of this stain on your society.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 5:44am

      Re: why oh why are you yet again still using microsoft crap

      it totally baffles me why people still to this day, i kid you not, still use microsoft software

      The average person wants to buy a computer that just works, and Windows machines work (for the most part). My mother would never give a damn about all the moral and ethical implications of supporting Microsoft or whether some form of Linux would work better on her computer than Win10—she would just want a computer that works right out of the box with as little muss’n’fuss as possible.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 6:32am

        Re: Re: why oh why are you yet again still using microsoft crap

        That, and MS shells out mega-bucks (literally) to make sure apps and games appear only on Windows, Windows and consoles, or occasionally, Windows, consoles, and MacOS. Look at all the "support" Steam for linux gets, despite having all the DRM as Windows or MacOS Steam. I'd be willing to bet MS pays a bunch to ensure nothing major appears on linux Steam.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Valkor, 12 Mar 2018 @ 8:25am

          Re: Re: Re: why oh why are you yet again still using microsoft crap

          Don't forget DirectX! Yes, it's useful, but it's also an upgrade bludgeon.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        crade (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 6:49am

        Re: Re: why oh why are you yet again still using microsoft crap

        Correct.
        Setting up a machine so it just works with a simple to use version of Linux (simpler than windows if you so desire) has been dead easy for a long time now. Try to sell one set up that way, on the other hand and you quickly will find out exactly why people still use windows.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 8:45am

        Re: Re: why oh why are you yet again still using microsoft crap

        My mother would never give a damn about all the moral and ethical implications of supporting Microsoft or whether some form of Linux would work better on her computer than Win10—she would just want a computer that works right out of the box with as little muss’n’fuss as possible.

        Do you find that remains true in practice? My family members always try to dump Microsoft "muss’n’fuss" onto me. Sure, it's working "out of the box"... what about a year or two later? When attaching new hardware to a years-old Windows PC there's often driver bullshit that I know for a fact wouldn't happen on Linux. And sometimes they've installed the "helpful" software from the discs that came with the stuff...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 10:21am

      Re: why oh why are you yet again still using microsoft crap

      Cause games are not ported to Linux.
      A resourceful individual has a dedicated gaming machine.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 11:32am

      Re: why oh why are you yet again still using microsoft crap

      Because I want to play games. Yes, I am 56 years old person, who enjoys playing computer games.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Christopher (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 5:50am

    Right up until you assert,,,

    "To ensure someone gets tossed in jail for breaking the chain of planned obsolescence, Microsoft (and prosecutors) want the court to believe the existence of recovery disks that do nothing unless a person already has a licensed copy of Windows has somehow made the company $700,000 poorer."

    Was the planned obsolescence proved? No. You can't state it as fact.

    -C

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 6:35am

      Re: Right up until you assert,,,

      Yes, the evidence is circumstantial, but people have been executed for less circumstantial evidence than there is here. Somehow, that only seems to apply to the peons in the world, and never the rich, famous, or corporations.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 1:49pm

      Re: Right up until you assert,,,

      I can state for a fact, that my opinion is: Microsoft engaged in Earth planetary destructive, wasteful, planned obsolescence operations because they are greedy SOBs.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    aerinai (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 6:05am

    Bring back the commercials!

    Mac: Hi, I'm a Mac

    PC: And I'm a PC

    Mac: I make a product that is easy to use and encourage a cult-like customer base. If you have problems, just come down to the Genius Bar and we'll help you out.

    PC: And I sue to lock people up who make recovery CDs for my customer base; because the only thing worse than customers are customer's that are using my product without going through our non-existent support channel when things break.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      crade (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 6:12am

      Re: Bring back the commercials!

      PC: We are having trouble with our people getting around our planned obsolescence.

      Mac: Amateur.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      tin-foil-hat, 12 Mar 2018 @ 7:32am

      Re: Bring back the commercials!

      What you said isn't exactly true. But after I spent a few thousand on their products I expected their tech support to be better than terrible and I'll never buy any hardware made by them as a result.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 8:30am

      Re: Bring back the commercials!

      And you don't even need the Genius Bar! You can follow their script at home:

      Step 1: Disconnect the power cord from your Mac.

      Step 2: Replace the rest.

      A MagSafe connector even lets you skip Step 1 as you violently move on to Step 2.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 8:52am

      Re: Bring back the commercials!

      You're drinking the Koolaid here... a Mac is a PC, and god help you if you install MacOS on a non-Apple-branded PC for someone else. Apple are at least as lawsuit-happy as MS.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 11:16am

      Re: Bring back the commercials!

      PC != Windows

      That is to say, "PC" is NOT synonymous with "Windows".

      Stop perpetuating this falsehood.

      The PC architecture was invented by IBM. It's what allowed there to be a distinction between your physical hardware and your OS in the first place.

      It's what allows you to install any compatible operating system you choose onto your computer. DOS, Windows, Linux, OS/2, BeOS, whatever you wanted, you had a lot more freedom with the hardware you purchased compared to the competition. Back in the old days, installing Linux on a Mac involved leaving a minimal installation of MacOS on a partition so you could bootstrap into Linux. It was very messy compared to doing it on a PC.

      PCs are synonymous with freedom, not restriction. Do not confuse PC with Windows.
      They are not.
      The.
      Same.
      Thing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 2:08pm

        Re: Re: Bring back the commercials!

        That is to say, "PC" is NOT synonymous with "Windows". Stop perpetuating this falsehood. The PC architecture was invented by IBM.

        ...years after the term "PC" was already in use, notably for the Apple 2.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 6:28am

    Could it partly be the guy had had all those discs pre-burned? Package it up with a checklist of what was done and sell the work to make the disc and not the contents that are on it. A " convenience fee" if you will.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 7:06am

    goes to show what sort of company Microsoft really is! a shit company run by c***s, for another bunch of c***s!! should be ashamed of itself and if Gates still has any sort of say, he should have never let this happen in the first place but should at least stop it now!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 7:07am

    That's pretty low M$.

    He seems to have the sympathy of the courts and while this shouldn't matter at the very least it will make them look more closely at his arguments instead of bowing towards the Great Capital and simply giving M$ the blood they want. I don't know the details but I would guess from his history that he was planning to sell them to cover his costs and not for profit which would make his case much easier. And if M$ doesn't sell physical recovery disks then it's going to be even easier.

    I tend to recognize M$ strong points even if I joke around (using the $ for instance) but this time they are in the wrong, badly. And I do hope MS Streisand pays them an outrageous visit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    tin-foil-hat, 12 Mar 2018 @ 7:26am

    A nation of laws

    Because in this nation of laws (to protect the rich and powerful) said rich and powerful use those laws to punish people who piss them off. There are so many laws in the land of the free that at least one will apply to any circumstance. Non violent criminals are low hanging fruit. It's why there are so many of them in prison and still so much violent crime, compared to other developed countries.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 12 Mar 2018 @ 7:58am

    Time to investigate

    I wonder how much the U.S. attorney is getting paid by Microsoft on this one. Reminds me of Whitey Bulger paying off John Connolly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sean T Henry (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 9:12am

    Exhibit A,B..

    If I were his lawyer I would submit a laptop that will not start due to corrupt windows files as exhibit A.

    Exhibit B would be the packing list of laptop when purchased.

    Then call an expert witness to show the court how to fix this issue. It would include sitting there and watching the file DL then burn it to a DVD or flash drive. Then ask how the home user could have done it if the laptop was the only computer they had.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 9:22am

    " Federal prosecutors in Florida obtained a 21-count indictment against Lundgren and his business partner,"

    "$420,000 in restitution for lost sales."



    So, criminal interference with a business model.
    This sort of whining used to be a civil matter as it does not involve "the people".

    How are these indictments written? Do they say things like "the people against so-in-so"? How can they do that when "the people" have nothing to do with it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 9:45am

    The moral of the story

    Avoid Microsoft and their shoddy products.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    He'sGoingToJail, 12 Mar 2018 @ 10:55am

    He lost the case

    He "sold" the downloads he made. That's the guilt part. He lost the case because of this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 11:04am

    He had 28,000 copies of recovery discs?!

    I know he didn't distribute them to anyone yet, but come on, that certainly isn't for personal use. That's like being busted with 20 pounds of vacuum-sealed weed in the trunk of your car and claiming it's for your own personal medical treatment. Nobody is going to believe that. Tommy Chong wouldn't believe that. The level of possession involved in this case doesn't surprise me that he's going to jail over it.

    The unfortunate thing is that if he didn't make the boneheaded move of "recycling" old computers using Windows of all things, he'd be a free man. Before the Microzealots jump on me, hear me out:

    Old computers won't run newer Windows. Therefore, you have to use old Windows versions on old computers. Old versions of Windows don't get updates. No updates, no security. So what, was he refurbishing these strictly for offline use? If so, was he actually expecting his customers to not put them online, to understand the dangers involved and resist the temptation? Everyone who builds, refurbishes or repairs computers for other people know the truth: Users are stupid, that's why they keep coming back.

    Sounds like a shitty business all around, and it's probably for the best he's in jail so that no more of his computers can pollute web traffic with decades-old worms that should be left to die from a lack of systems to propogate towards.

    If it were me, I'd have just put Linux on those old computers. Even if you need to use an older kernel, they get security fixes backported for a very long time. Several distros still haven't abandoned 32-bit support either and have very dedicated teams working to keeping those architectures out of the landfill.

    It's easy enough to find a distro and set of packages for any old computer that'll do that one solitary thing that satisfies 99% of every Joe User's needs these days, which is to say it'll run a Web browser. I mean, they'd waste a lot less electricity with a Raspberry Pi, so I'm still not sure how environmental or cost-effective this recycling business is overall, but it's still a noble if not sentimental cause in that these machines are still seeing some use and some love.

    Oh, and to those above arguing over gaming, first of all, you're missing the point of discussion. We're talking about computers destined for landfills, here. You're not going to be running anything modern on these no matter what OS is on them. Of course, any game that *would* run on these old machines has probably reached Gold or Platinum compatibility in Wine by now, and they'll likely run better in Wine than they would in Windows 10. So yeah, still no need for Windows if you're looking to turn an old computer into a "classic gaming" machine.

    I'm not even going to get into how Linux currently runs more games than even the most spoiled and healthy human being would be able to complete in their lifetime, practically making the "Lunix dunt runz gaemz hurrr~" argument nothing than a short straw for trolls to grasp onto, but if we're going to talk about different gaming-related merits of operating systems, let's keep things in the perspective of the article being discussed.

    Old computers can run Wine, ScummVM and DOSBox with acceptable speed and accuracy on a stripped-down Linux installation that's still safe to connect to the Internet. Windows simply cannot accomplish all of these tasks for older, landfill-bound systems. It's not a matter of loyalty or preference, it's a matter of what works for the job, and I'm not even sorry if that objective analysis gets under some of your skin. In this context, Linux wins and Windows loses, hands down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 7:04pm

      Re:

      He had 28,000 copies of recovery discs?!

      That sounds questionable, but, if he also had 28,000 laptops, then having 28,000 recovery discs would be perfectly reasonable.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Andrew D. Todd, 13 Mar 2018 @ 6:36am

      Problems of Buying A Linux Machine

      I have just gotten a reconditioned desktop computer for the first time. I came to the realization that I had so much functionality migrated to my Linux computer that I could no longer afford to use it as an experimental machine, and my migration away from Windows had reached a standstill. The Linux machine owns the printer, and my digital camera, and the VCR/DVD Player (via a video capture card); and runs the related software. The legacy Windows machine still owns the internet connection and a flatbed scanner; and has my legacy software. It is beginning to develop hiccups because of what we believe is defective wiring in the power supply. I have never changed out a power supply before, but I suspect I will have to learn.

      So I went looking for an additional machine of substantially the same age and performance as the Linux machine, in order to try a different Linux distribution. I got a reconditioned Hewlett-Packard from NewEgg, manufactured about eight years ago, for $100. I also got a new 1 T-byte hard drive for $50, to put in the machine, and a four-port PS/2 KVM switch. The KVM switch proved to be the single most expensive component, because it was not "remaindered." When I got it, it turned out not to have cables, and those have to be purchased separately. The computer comes with a "cripple-ware" version of Windows 10 on the hard drive. You have to register it, and I don't know if they charge for that. Presumably Microsoft got paid for the "cripple-ware" version. We have reached a point where Microsoft is effectively levying a tax on Linux machines.

      I think the unspoken condition for a vendor to get an acceptable price on Microsoft "cripple-ware" installs is that the vendor must not touch Linux. I have repeatedly bought machines for Linux, and the vendor maintained a "wink, wink, nod, nod" insistence that people "must" be buying the machines for bootleg Windows. In 2009, I bought a machine, which came with a "Free-Dos" disk, which would not even boot on the machine. The vendor (Tiger-Direct) was simply going through the motions. What they could have done at very little cost would have been to throw in a smorgasbord of Linux disks, but that would have irritated Microsoft. As it was, I spent about a hundred dollars on an assortment from a "mom-and-pop" disk distributor, in order to try them all and see which one worked best. Going Linux was not, in practice, cheaper than Windows.

      This time around, the Linux disks actually cost more than the computer.

      Microsoft has succeeded in making the purchase of a computer which does not cost a thousand dollars into something with very much the "look and feel" of a drug deal, trying to force everyone to buy a game-capable machine, whether they need one or not. At some rational level, that ought to render Microsoft liable to anti-trust prosecution.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 11:18am

    IIRC, originally the license for Windows was tied to the CPU. New system? Need to buy a new copy of Windows. Not sure if that has changed.

    Kind of surprised the OEMs didn't jump in to this. Most recovery discs could probably be considered proprietary and I do remember when OEMs would charge for a set if you lost the originals. No idea what they do if you fail to create a set for current systems.

    Deliberate obsolescence aside, the guy was planning on selling them. No one has said whether that was just to cover his costs or if he was going to realize a profit. No idea what ver of Windows was being used. I would suspect something other than Win10 since M$ was not just giving it away but trying to force it on everyone. As far as I know everything from Win7 back is not free. So if he was selling Win7 then I believe M$ did lose sales possibly.

    Conspiracy is what's called an inchoate crime. You need to commit an act to further the plan for it to attach. IE: You plan to make recovery discs. You have not committed a crime. The minute you actually make the first one, it's conspiracy providing the copying was unlawful.

    If the copyright violation goes away so does the conspiracy charge because no criminal act was planned.

    I believe it's possible that the courts could find copyright violation but award no damages to M$ since they would have a hard time proving damages since no discs were sold.

    Not sure why M$ is being such enormous Richards about this. They could have just sent a cease and desist or filed for an injunction w/o asking for criminal charges.

    Makes one wonder about their future plans for Windows and other products.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 2:36pm

      Future plans for Windows and other Microsoft Products

      They're turning the Windows OS into a software-as-service, so people have to keep paying rent for it to continue to work. Much like big cable, and big MMO games it means they don't have to innovate much anymore, but can just live on end users paying them part of their monthly income, forever.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 4:27pm

      Re:

      Current OEMs in laptops use a code in the BIOS - the recovery discs and OS are all the same. You can change anything but the motherboard/BIOS and it will go through registration. It's easier for the distributor doing it this way. Not positive about desktops - haven't bought a desktop from a distributor in many years; I piece my own together from parts and use linux.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 2:32pm

    Maybe this will go the way of the RIAA suing children.

    The public reaction of the RIAA suing children and grandmothers I remember turned opinions of big content for the worse. I wonder if this will have a similar result. Though Microsoft has been known to not care in the past.

    Lundgren is doing a Really Good Thing, and Microsoft is getting him thrown in jail because they want more money (despite that their right to that money is dubious, and this seems to fall into the realm of fair use)

    Maybe it's an indicator that Microsoft is just that desperate for lack of non-protectionist innovation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 3:37pm

    Microsoft hasn't nor ever will change.

    Microsoft claims to be a different company now, yet their actions show the always familiar character.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 3:42pm

    My brotherjust upgraded his PC - new CPU, motherboard, etc. He couldn't restore his Windows 7 install because they didn't bother to make it compatible with his processor. So he went and purchased an official Windows 10 boot/install disk pack. It didn't work. It wasn't recognized as a bootable device, even though it was supposedly supposed to be one.
    Luckily, I had a thumb drive with a downloaded (official) Win10 free upgrade tool that actually worked for him. At least the pack he bought wasn't a complete waste, though for at least it came with a license key he could finish up with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    pdegroot (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 9:35pm

    No infringement: the computers are still licensed

    I don't see infringement here. That Anonymous Coward said the COA is tied to both the device and the user, but that is not true. It is tied only to the device. If the COA shows that the computer is licensed for, say, Windows 7 home, and it still works, with the original motherboard, but the hard drive has been erased, it is perfectly legal to use some other Windows 7 home OEM install disk to restore the original OEM product. That's what the machine is licensed for and the fact that the bits might have been erased is irrelevant. No new license is required. Until the motherboard dies, that machine is licensed for Windows 7 home. You can replace hard drives, add memory, etc, but only if the MB dies does the license go with it. In this situation, Microsoft has already been paid--by the OEM--for the license and the recycler is simply replacing the bits for which the device is licensed. As long as the installed bits match what's on the COA, we're good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Mar 2018 @ 1:21am

    Wrong Head

    "...the assistant U.S. attorney on the case told him, 'Microsoft wants your head on a platter and I’m going to give it to them.'"

    What's the name of this ASSistant U.S. attorney? His head's the one we should seek.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Richard Stallman, 13 Mar 2018 @ 12:53pm

    Lundgren's intentions were good, but his idea of helping people by
    giving them Windows was misguided. Windows is non-free software,
    which means it puts users under Microsoft's power. See
    https://gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-even-more-important.html.

    But Windows is worse than that. Windows is malware: Microsoft
    intentionally implements malicious functionalities with which to
    mistreat users. See https://gnu.org/malware/malware-microsoft.html
    for details.

    It's no coincidence that Lundgren was punished for trying to help
    users this way. Microsoft had the power to put him in prison because
    Windows is nonfree. Lundgren did not deserve to go to prison for
    sharing, but the unjust power of developers of nonfree software is
    why he was convicted.

    If the goal is to help people by giving them computers to use, the
    right way is to give people free, freedom-respecting, libre software
    such as the GNU/Linux system (see gnu.org). If Lundgren had done
    this, he would have been safe.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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