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Man tries to reduce e-waste but is facing prison time over dispute with Microsoft

By Greg S ยท 57 replies
Feb 20, 2018
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  1. What started out as an idea to prevent the ever increasing amount of electronics ending up in landfills has gotten Eric Lundgren into a tight spot. His company takes in and handles over 41 million pounds of electronic waste products annually. Unfortunately for Lundgren, Microsoft disagreed with his practices to attempt to extend the life of PCs.

    Lundgren created around 28,000 discs with the Windows operating system burned onto them so it would be easier for consumers to make use of recycled products. Duplicating thousands of discs has resulted in sentencing Lundgren to 15 months in prison and also a $50,000 fine. However, a federal appeals court is allowing a review on the grounds that it may be a misunderstanding.

    Restore discs are commonly provided to consumers when purchasing a computer from an OEM so that if something goes wrong, the software can be restored without too much hassle. Lundgren did not deny that he planned to sell his homemade restore discs nor that he burned thousands of them. He believes that owners should have easy access to needed software and maintains that he is not trying to offer illegal software to anyone without a valid license.

    One major issue with Lundgren's business venture is that Dell and Microsoft logos were used on the duplicated discs to replicate the restore discs that Dell hands out with many systems. Whether or not his practices of duplication are legal, using corporate logos on duplicated discs without permission is a red flag.

    Clearly, prosecutors have different views than Lundgren. Florida courts provided an indictment with 21 counts against the duplication practices. Microsoft sent in a letter asking for $420,000 as damages to lost sales. So far, Lundgren and his business partner have not been ordered to pay any damages because no discs were actually sold.

    As the story unfolds, Lundgren will have to appeal before the 11th Circuit courts in attempt to remain out of further trouble. While attempts to reduce waste and extend the life of electronics is generally accepted as a noble cause, the same licensing rules still apply.

    Image Credit: The Washington Post

    Permalink to story.

  2. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 819   +324

    Hopefully this gets worked out. Electronics are full of poisons and chemicals and dumping them into landfills when there are valid uses is a shame.
  3. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,219   +1,657

    So really the issue is the Windows OS discs... Guess he should have used Linux.
  4. Or simply read the copyright and inked a deal with MS.
    mgwerner likes this.
  5. Robertrogue

    Robertrogue TS Booster Posts: 76   +29

    The real issue is the OS having to be replaced when you have one major part of the system fail. HD, processor, MB. If I buy the software, there should not be a limited time period for the OS I purchased. If a consumer wants to repair a system instead of tossing it out and replacing it, this should be less of a hassle with the recovery OS that came with the system. I had to replace the MB in my wife's PC three years after the purchase, and since the MB wasn't flashed by the OEM it wouldn't repair and I had to purchase the OS system again! It is a ripoff, I believe in copyrights but how about my wallet's right to not be cleared of money for frivolous reasons?
    John J Miller, wizardB and Jennifur68 like this.
  6. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing - click on the rock below.. Posts: 4,107   +1,209

    Windows 10 is free download for clean re-install.

    Windows 7 or 8 may be different, I guess. Can't I use a repair disk from another system, like for free? I always thought that was 'ok' as long as I could enter the product key within 30 days - or has this changed?
  7. Footlong

    Footlong TS Addict Posts: 149   +79

    I find the 15 months in prison excessive. He could have been fined and that is it.
    lazer, rpjkw11 and RevD14 like this.
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,508   +5,073

    Then they would have to lower taxes, because of all the people they don't put in jail for morally objectionable reasons.
  9. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,564   +1,548

    What I don't understand is how he is reducing e-waste... if he's duplicating the restore discs, then he's simply creating MORE waste, isn't he?

    At first, I assumed he was just "rescuing" restore discs that were thrown away.... but this isn't the case at all... can someone explain how he's saving the environment?

    I understand that he is using these restore discs to install OSes on old PCs... but why? Those old PCs can be sold "as is" and the buyers can purchase a copy of Windows separately (or from him if he properly licensed it).
  10. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 819   +324

    What I don't understand is how he is reducing e-waste... if he's duplicating the restore discs, then he's simply creating MORE waste, isn't he?

    E-waste refers to electronics. Disc's are plastic and aren't as corrosive
  11. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 819   +324

    The real issue is the OS having to be replaced when you have one major part of the system fail. HD, processor, MB. If I buy the software, there should not be a limited time period for the OS I

    When you have pre-made systems you run into this issue. I build from scratch and just install and use as needed as long as I don't try to use the same license Windows at the same time
    wizardB likes this.
  12. Ben Myers

    Ben Myers TS Enthusiast Posts: 74   +22

    WTF! This is lunacy. You can download Windows install media for every version of Windows starting with 7. I have not checked about Vista, which is both lame and dead. And nobody cares about XP any more either.
    Once downloaded, either burn a DVD or make a bootable flash stick and off you go. Only thing missing are the drivers that may be part of vendor (e.g. Dell, HP or Lenovo) restore media. Was this a jury trial or a decision by a judge? Either way, whoever arrived at a guilty plea, sentence and penalty is pretty clueless. Jail time for this? I can see a slap-on-the-wrist fine for copy infringement, not much else.
    cliffordcooley and wizardB like this.
  13. MannerMauler

    MannerMauler TS Addict Posts: 212   +55

    I think what he's doing is taking old hardware and restoring it. What got him in trouble was making restore disks to go with the restored hard ware.
  14. Boilerhog146

    Boilerhog146 TS Evangelist Posts: 620   +217

    This restoring hardware and the restore discs.makes him an Anti-Capitalist, hurting jobs ,like that,,those systems all would make great NAS boxes,but it hurts new hardware sales .SO... Shame on him ,lock him up..
    I restore old systems all the time,give them to those less fortunate, single parents.and such.that otherwise couldn't afford a pc.though I don't do it for money.
    there are those that can afford it ,I charge them..for my time. the OS is free... ;)

    he labeled the discs to resemble OEM's .and is at it solely for the money. GUILTY..

    My restore disc for a mind PC that I bought back in the day was a full XP home O.S.. not a restore disc as I had assumed .which could be installed on other systems.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
    wizardB likes this.
  15. Vic1248

    Vic1248 TS Rookie

    Please tell the courts that Restore/Recovery Discs DO NOT generate licenses by any means, they are only Recovery Utility Discs, there is no OS Copyrights infringement involved here. When a system is restored/recovered by a Restore/Recovery Disc, the Activation is done by Microsoft through its records of that system and apart from the Restore/Recovery Disc involved. You can restore/recover your Windows OS using any matching Restore/Recovery Disc from anyone. The only problem in this case is the corporate logos used in the distribution process.
    mhenriday and cliffordcooley like this.
  16. PaulAnthony58

    PaulAnthony58 TS Member

    Corporate bodies don't like road blocks but they do like 'rail roads'
    SBKenn and mhenriday like this.
  17. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,089   +3,636

    So the problem here is the use of the company logo on this discs. The actual content of the discs is made freely available. He had not sold any yet. Still, you cannot use company logos on items you intend to sell without their permission.

    Facing prison time over this seems ridiculous. The fine seems excessive given he hasn't sold any yet. How exactly can they prove damages in court when he didn't sell any? If anything, he should be forced to turn over the discs he's already made and remove any infringed logos form future products. To me, this just seems like corporate bullying.
    Sum Guy, SBKenn and cliffordcooley like this.
  18. JW0914

    JW0914 TS Member Posts: 19   +13

    It's not a copyright, it's a trademark. Unless my understanding is wrong, the issue is not the content on the recovery disks, but with the Microsoft and Dell logos on the recovery disks.
    • Anyone who's ever owned a Dell circa <2015 would have received a colored Windows recovery disk with which one could reinstall the OS with... however, unless the install.esd was manually modified, only a PC with a Dell motherboard could boot the DVD.
    stewi0001 and John J Miller like this.
  19. JW0914

    JW0914 TS Member Posts: 19   +13

    Not sure where you're getting your information from...

    Unless software you buy is subscription based, you permanently retain a valid license for the use of that software version... this is spelled out quite clearly in the T&Cs.

    Whomever told you that doesn't have a clue what they're talking about...
    1. Motherboards aren't locked to OSes or OS versions.
    2. UEFI boards, if bought from an OEM as a PC purchase, embed the Windows activation key the system shipped with in the UEFI firmware, of which is to make it more convenient for consumers when reinstalling the OS, as while OEM systems are activated with special OEM Windows activation keys, by law all OEM or resllers must provide the buyer with a COA.
      • The COA on most laptops was affixed to the bottom of the laptop, and the activation key, as well as the COA serial, would wear off the sticker due to normal wear and tear, and if one never thought to take a photo of the COA or copy down the activation key and/or serial, there would be no way to recover that COA's activation key.
        • Each COA has a serial number in small print, and Microsoft will use this serial to issue a new COA if the activation key on the old one rubbed of, however if both have rubbed off, the consumer must then attempt to get the OEM to provide them with a replacement COA.
      • This is no longer an issue with Windows 10, as Microsoft now stores the hardware ID of the motherboard for every key that is activated, so it doesn't matter how many times you reinstall Windows to the a machine with the same motherboard, you'll never have to go through the activation process again. If however, one needs to replace their motherboard, Windows activation must be manually done, and depending on the situation, the consumer will either be required to go through an automated phone activation, or may need to speak with a Microsoft employee directly to have the hardware ID of the old motherboard removed and replaced with the new hardware ID.
    3. No Windows OS version is required to be purchased to repair an OS with issues or an OS that won't boot... For systems that won't boot, Microsoft makes publicly available the Windows ADK >8 or Windows AIK <7, of which has the WinPE files necessary to boot the PC in WinPE (on top of that, there's multiple other tools, such as Hiren's BootCD, Win10PE SE, etc.).
      • At worse, you'd have to buy a Windows Recovery DVD/USB from your OEM for $15 - $30, or your could simply create one from within Windows on another PC.
    4. What it sounds like is you had to upgrade your OS, and for that, you would need a new license for the new OS... this is normal and is how every other Windows version has operated.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  20. bexwhitt

    bexwhitt TS Evangelist Posts: 414   +128

    Man steals M$ IP and gets owned more like.
  21. Forebode

    Forebode TS Booster Posts: 192   +44

    This is stupid. Majority of recycled systems are known manufactured computers that come from Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc... They don't sell (or at least it's rare) systems without OS's. He's just giving them media to install to a system that's already marked with a license on the mobo or has it pasted on the box right? An OS disc means nothing.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  22. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,564   +1,548

    And if he simply gave the disc away, there'd probably be no prison time... but he wanted to SELL these "worthless" discs... that's a no no...
  23. Catweazle

    Catweazle TS Booster Posts: 78   +79

    Just put Linux on them and there would have been no issue. If people still want Windows on their recycled computer they should buy it.
  24. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,508   +5,073

    There are no fees, when the boxes being restored already has a license.
  25. SBKenn

    SBKenn TS Rookie Posts: 18

    My thoughts exactly. F&*K Microsoft. If the disk is the same Windows version as the license sticker, no violation either, unless they consider that selling a complete, used, computer violates the license.
    stewi0001 likes this.

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