The Eric Lundgren Story: When Free isn’t Free

At this point, you’ve almost certainly heard the tale of Eric Lundgren, the electronics recycler who is now looking at spending 15 months in prison because he was duplicating freely available Windows restore discs. Of no use to anyone who doesn’t already have a licensed copy of Windows, these restore discs have little to no monetary value. In fact, as an individual, you couldn’t buy one at retail if you wanted to. The duplication of these discs would therefore seem to be a victimless crime.

Eric Lundgren

Especially when you hear what Eric wanted to do with these discs. To help extend the functional lifespan of older computers, he intended on providing these discs at low cost to those looking to refurbish Windows computers. After each machine had its operating system reinstalled, the disc would go along with the computer in hopes the new owner would be able to utilize it themselves down the road.

It all sounds innocent enough, even honorable. But a quick glance at Microsoft’s licensing arrangement is all you need to know the whole scheme runs afoul of how the Redmond giant wants their operating system installed and maintained. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but when Eric Lundgren decided to use Microsoft’s product he agreed to play by their rules. Unfortunately for him, he lost.

A Perfectly Logical Defense

In a nutshell, Eric’s claims that he is not guilty of “pirating” Microsoft Windows; as the discs he was duplicating were intended only to restore a previously-licensed copy of the operating system. The line of logic continues that, since the owner of a Windows computer has the right to install Windows on it as many times as he or she would like, the installation media should be freely available to them.

Indeed, Microsoft and most OEMs do offer a free download for restoration media. But downloading the files and burning them to disc or otherwise copying them to a bootable device could easily be beyond the means of many users. So computers which could otherwise be brought back up to operational condition with a fresh install of their OS are tossed in the trash in favor of purchasing a new machine.

Up to this point, Eric’s argument is sound enough. We’ve all picked up a computer or two off the side of the road that just needed a wipe and reinstall to get it kicking again.

Given these basic facts, Eric had the idea to take the freely available restore disc ISOs and have them professionally pressed to CDs. While he was at it he figured he might as well make them look like the real thing, and provided the Chinese company he was working with images of what the legitimate restore discs should look like. Right down to the company logos and copyright notices.

Why not? After all, it’s free.

Free Versus Libre

The English language is a tricky thing: one word can have multiple definitions depending on the context in which it was used. A perfect example is the distinction between something being provided without cost, and one that is provided without limitations on its use. Both are colloquially referred to as being “free”, but the two concepts are far from synonymous.

Richard Stallman, the father of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), famously summarized the issue with his “Free as in beer” analogy:

“Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer.”

To address this ambiguity, the FSF recommends that software provided to the user without restrictions on its use be referred to as “libre”. Coming from the Latin word līber, meaning “the state of being free”, libre refers not to monetary cost but to the freedoms offered to the user by way of the software’s license.

The restoration media provided by Microsoft and its partners may have been free, but it was most assuredly not libre. For example, the Terms of Use from Microsoft’s download portal clearly spell out the limitations on “free” files (such as restore disc ISOs) which are downloaded from them:

Personal and Non-Commercial Use Limitation

Unless otherwise specified, the Services are for your personal and non-commercial use. You may not modify, copy, distribute, transmit, display, perform, reproduce, publish, license, create derivative works from, transfer, or sell any information, software, products or services obtained from the Services.

In this context, it’s clear that Eric Lundgren’s operation, even if it was meant to be an altruistic act, is in direct violation of Microsoft’s terms.

For its part, Microsoft does actually offer a program to provide Windows restore discs for professional computer refurbishment. The catch is that it requires a $25 fee for “refreshing” the license, as the computer is being refurbished for monetary gain. In Microsoft’s view, once the computer is resold to another individual, the original Windows license no longer applies.

A License Like Any Other

If you told me that one day I might be writing an article defending Microsoft’s draconian ideas on software licenses, I’d never have believed it. Yet here we are. I don’t like the way Microsoft licenses their software, and I imagine many Hackaday readers feel the same way. But at the same time I recognize they have the right, as the creator of said software, to license it however they see fit. If we celebrate legal victories over those who would violate the terms of the GNU GPL license, we cannot in the next breath condone the violation of proprietary licenses simply because they run counter to the hacker ethos.

As a community we fought back against people selling prints of Creative Commons Non-Commercial models downloaded from Thingiverse, a scenario nearly identical to the one Eric has found himself in. Ignorance to the fine print doesn’t absolve you from being held accountable; just because you found it for free online doesn’t mean you can put it into mass production and pocket a profit.

When he chose to use proprietary software for his computer refurbishment plans, he took on the burden of following the restrictive licenses such software is bound by. Had he decided instead to put into production install discs for Ubuntu or any other GNU/Linux distribution, things would have gone very differently. His goals of putting old computers back into service would have been met, and he would have not been in violation of the software’s license. But that’s not the choice he made.

Poor Decisions, Poor Sentencing

The fact that Eric Lundgren is guilty of violating Microsoft’s terms is really beyond debate. Especially when you consider this has all happened before: in 2012 Microsoft sued UK retailer Comet for duplicating and selling restore discs as a service to their customers. Even if he had the best of intentions (which incidentally, Microsoft disputes), he’s absolutely guilty of the charge which was brought against him: the duplication of software which explicitly was not to be duplicated.

That said, he doesn’t deserve to spend more than a year of his life in prison. Eric has a clean record, and the court was unable to show any verifiable damages to Microsoft. Not even a single one of the 28,000 restore discs he had manufactured in China were ever sold. As it turns out, nobody wanted to buy something they could download on their own for free. Eric had already learned a very costly lesson before Federal authorities had ever gotten involved. A fact echoed by Senior U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley, “This is a difficult sentencing, because I credit everything you are telling me, you are a very remarkable person.” The $50,000 fine that he’s been ordered to pay is one thing, but the prison sentence simply seems excessive in light of the facts.

We’ve gotten enough messages in the Tip Line about Eric’s ordeal to know that Hackaday readers have some very strong opinions on this case. By all means be angry that the court may not have fully understood the monetary value of the software Eric was duplicating, imposing a punishment that doesn’t fit the crime. But let’s not make the mistake of deluding ourselves into believing he did nothing wrong.

197 thoughts on “The Eric Lundgren Story: When Free isn’t Free

  1. While I expect the discussion to be “stormy” at best, I’d like to express gratitude for the article. I did not look at the issue from this perspective – most tabloids kept the details away.
    Thanks.

  2. I don’t understand this. Copyright law is argued in civil court as it is a civil case, not criminal. So how does he get jail time in a civil case? Monetary damages is the only real punishment civil court can deliver so, this confuses me greatly..although, that is nothing new, ha ha.

    1. An example of how our prison system gets filled up – we forcing people to plead guilty by charging them with crimes that come with massive maximum sentences. He was probably faced with the choice of some crazy number of years in jail if he plead innocent, or 15 months if he plead guilty.

        1. Because our jails are full and even muggers just get a slap on the wrists sometimes. Plus our jails are too lenient (too easy to get drugs etc) so people come out worse than they went in.

          1. If you keep people in jail for shorter periods, they wont have the chance to build up organisations inside the jails. In any case, the efforts wouldn’t pay.

        2. Prison for profit. Jean Keating was getting this info out back in 2005. Still applies… Follow the money trail to the DTC (DEPOSITORY TRUST COMPANY on Water Street in NY,NY). GSA forms SF-273, SF-274 and SF-275 in addition to SF-24, SF-25 and SF-25a … all bonds BTW. Estimated at US$2M each per “charge”, so US$12M total per “charge”. Simplest thing to do, tender a negotiable instrument via Notary presentment and settle the “charges”.

      1. I don’t believe that is correct as there have been many copyright cases in the millions of dollars with no criminal case referrals. The McDonald’s case comes to mind because I live in Kentucky. Norman McDonald had a burger stand where he sold burgers and called it McDonald’s Hamburgers. Of course McDonald’s (the corp.) sued for millions in copyright infringement and…LOST! Turns out, old Norman had been selling his burgers at that same stand for many years before McDonald’s even got started. There were no criminal charges brought against Norman prior to his winning this multi-million dollar case. For a case to be a criminal case a criminal law must be broken.

        1. Now days common sense and law doesn’t exist to be enforced as much as commercial code relating to commerce unless some false flag premeditated totally obvious if you investigate fiasco, event to be used as a scapegoat with a fall guy or maybe oversights in surveillance occasionally randomly. I want to say this was one of the reasons for the America’s related revolutionary wars. The attorney, law enforcement and health care systems aren’t lean sigma valid for a reason. Pan troglodyte doesn’t like valid operations… especially when pan troglodyte has a lot of financial resources or mob power.

          1. https://www.theiplawblog.com/2011/04/articles/trademark-law/trademark-landmines/ “From the early 1960’s to the mid 1980’s, Norman McDonald ran a small “Country Drive-Inn” restaurant in Philpot, Kentucky, called simply “McDonald’s Hamburgers; Country Drive-Inn,” which at the time also had a gas station and convenience store. As a play on the McDonald’s franchise, Norman also included a couple of lit “golden arches.” McDonald’s the restaurant chain forced Norman to remove the arches and add the full Norman McDonald’s name to his sign so customers would not be confused into thinking the restaurant was affiliated with the McDonald’s restaurant chain.”
            So, never trust Wikipedia as you can see here Norman won and got to keep using his name. (They made him add Norman to the sign) He did have to remove the arches that he had added after the big McDonalds got famous. We discussed this case in my first business law class back in 1977 so, I forgot about the arches but the big suit was about the name which he could of course keep using.

        2. All crimes are commercial, both STATE and FEDERAL 27 CFR 72.11 https://freedom-school.com/law/when-all-crimes-are-commercial.pdf Follow the money trial. 60 million “codes” and “statutes” all waiting to suck the human energy generator in so they can make money while they hold the “flesh” as surety and collateral till theirs bonds mature (“life” plus 10 years — does that even make sense??). Think “The Matrix” … “the machines” are COMMERCE.

          1. Also, in COMMERCE, all mistakes can be corrected. Only Common Law crimes (against flesh and blood) are supposed to be “jail-able” offenses. The courts are rigged to make money. Each “statute” or “code” carries a commercial value Yes, it cost US$1.50/day to “house the collateral” (flesh and blood) in the “warehouse” (jail/prison) but they make millions off the subsequent bonds issued.

            So the guy made a mistake and didn’t realize he had become a party to MICROSOFT’s LICENSE (between fictional entities … not flesh and blood). There was no injured party (Common Law or otherwise). It cost him financially. Slap his hand and let him go with 6 months or so of “community service” (for the good of the flesh and blood people). BUT where’s the profit in that??
            BTW: It’s “their system”, not “our system” and certainly not “my system” as I don’t condone it but alas, I spent many years learning just who “they” are and more importantly. who I am not. Anyone else ever consumed from the tree of the forbidden fruit (of the attorneys)? Oh, but wait, I recall some folks a few years ago getting “jailed” because they weren’t “LICENSED” to use those “codes” and “statues” in their own “pro se” conflicts because they didn’t pay their yearly membership dues to the “STATE BAR-card holder” club. :)

    2. Because it’s a private individual against a very powerful entity. We can point to how the semantics of the case and the license were argued all we want, but the fact is that these two agents play by different rules under our system. If Microsoft had been redistributing and selling his IP instead, there would most definitely not be any prison time for anyone. We’ve seen plenty of cases of large companies outright stealing the IP of others and getting nothing more than fines which amount to less than 1% of 1% of their annual revenue.

      Was what he did technically against the terms of service? Yes, but regardless the outcome would have been different if the players had been different. Which doesn’t seem right or fair, but the reality is that our legal system has always favored very wealthy and corporate interests over common people. That’s beyond debatable, it’s utterly obvious if you look at the history of this country. And that’s all the explanation there is. It’s not rational or just, it’s just a flaw of the system.

      1. If Microsoft had labelled the discs with his brand and then imported them they might have been in a lot of trouble. Big companies who steal IP usually just steal a bit of code – and even if it’s critical to the project, it usually is only a small part of the end product – a small library in a big system.
        Small guys who steal IP usually also steal the brand – as he did with the false labelling purporting them to be MS’s discs – and the stolen IP is usually the vast majority of the value of the end product.

        1. We’ve already established there wasn’t a cash value here. And it’s not like he stole the whole microsoft brand, he was only distributing restore cds with some labels printed. It’s an extremely small part of the end product, useless without the rest of microsoft’s software and a license key. It is, in fact, a bit of code, just like you mention big companies stealing (and I’ve heard of this happening many times. There’s never any “big trouble.” Not in the same way as losing years of your life is big trouble, not even close).

          I’m sorry but this seems like just more semantic justifications for what is very obviously an asymmetry in how the law is applied. I don’t see why people reach so far to avoid confronting the fact that corporations face no significant consequences for their actions, in stark contrast to individuals even if the individual caused no real damages or had any nefarious intent.

    3. According to Microsoft’s link, it was actually the US Customs Department that initiated the case when they found a shipment of discs coming in from China that appeared to be fake Microsoft discs. Importing counterfeit goods crosses a line from a civil offense to a criminal one.

      1. yeah I imagine its the “importing counterfeit goods” charge that got him. If thats the case he may be lucky with 15 months. 28,000 “fake” disks doesn’t look good, no matter what the circumstances, and you sure can’t expect a custom’s agent to know much about windows restore disks. As far as he knows its a legitimate attempt at smuggling counterfeit products.

    4. I consider this as a commercial litigation and as so should have been resolve solely on a moneytary basis. Big corporation spend much time and money suying each other on copyrigth and patent infringment and nobody goes to jail. Keeping someone in jail cost money. Microsoft should pay for this spending.

    5. It doesn’t sound like this is a copyright issue, but one of trademarks. Note the word “counterfeit” in the charge, which is more about the Microsoft name and logo on the product, rather than the content.

      If Lundgren had been honest in his labeling, chances are that no charges would have been brought at all, particularly if the software in question was out of print. There are plenty of computers that can’t have any currently sold version of Windows installed on them, so Microsoft shouldn’t have any valid objection to providing legacy support that they aren’t willing to do.

      Still, 15 months sounds pretty harsh. “I’m not a lawyer™” but from what I’ve heard, anything over 12 months means time in prison rather than the local county jail.

        1. While copying something that is out of print may not be legal, it is difficult for a publisher to claim damages due to loss of income if you copy something they no longer sell. Again, I Am Not A Lawyer.

          1. Assuming the copyright paperwork was correctly filed and the business arrangement was typical for the industry, it would be the AUTHOR who would have standing to claim damages for copyright infringement on an out of print book. Or the author’s estate. I’m not a lawyer either, but I do some professional writing work.

          2. My mistake. Yes, the author, not the publisher. But same thing: if the author has no income stream from his work, it’s difficult to show monetary damages.

          3. What is strange to me is having arguments or debates over software applications that are logical and programmed using logic.

            Then, taking into account when there are still court operations using people that are emotional and wise to compelling acting skills like a psychopath pedophile and usually emotionally magnified actors that try to pretend they are not acting mentally ill, illogical or not requiring software applications with hardware that is validated to perform logic legally in a lean sigma validated environment per their duty to general public health, safety, welfare and well being. Then where they do use software… they can delete entries and still have applications without a validated audit trail with even loopholes with validated audit trails.

            The above factual observation alone proves the illegal criminal intent nature of the court operations and those associated with no way due process proven acts in some, if not many potential cases, in seems like more than some jurisdictions.

        1. There’s actually two different laws in place. Statute law, and common (case) law. Statutes are like regulations – you follow them to the letter and find the loopholes that allow you to win – while common law is up to the judges to first interpret what the law is and then how it applies.

          Case law has much more to do with what’s right and wrong, while statutes are just what they are – set from high up the ivory tower and designed to screw you over one way or the other.

    1. I would particularly stress this point. I would argue many of us in this community take such pride in licenses like the GPL and MIT not because we agree with the copyright laws that give them teeth but because they allow us to do to some extent what we believe is right within the context of the law.

      I personally am a staunch opponent of the idea of intellectual property as a whole. None the less I strongly support the GPL and other related systems as a way to foster the freedom of knowledge within the legal frameworks we are trapped within.

      Speaking only for some portion of our community I can say there are some of us who feel what he did was not wrong, and that it was in fact more right than the laws allowed. I would even go so far as to say the law was wrong.

      But how do you compromise between what’s legal and what’s moral? At least in your own opinion. It’s a difficult question and I won’t claim to have the answers.

      1. I’m a proponent of intellectual property, since all of my day to day output is intellectual property. I certainly wouldn’t like to invest a year of my time and money into making something only to lose out on any reward.
        I’m also very much in favour of open source and donating time and money to open source projects. It has to be my decision though. A gal has to eat.

        1. All of my day to day output, my livelihood is also 100% intellectual property and in this sort of case I entirely disagree. No food would have been removed from anyone’s plate by what he attempted to do.

      2. Certain organizations (whose names rhyme with “Pigsney”) have given intellectual property a bad name. The idea of IP is to give the originator of an idea a chance to profit before others who didn’t have to bear the development expenses could profit from them. But IP law has time limits on these rights in recognition of the fact that pretty much ALL new ideas benefit from prior inventions, and there’s a point beyond which defending the inventor is a detriment to society in general.
        At this point, protecting the images of “Lickey Louse” and “Fonald *uck” no longer provides no benefit to the original artists, and only gives people an excuse to ignore copyright laws entirely.

    2. Yes he did. When HE ordered the discs to be printed in a way as closely resembling REAL disks as possible it became a case of counterfeiting, And it was THAT for which he got done in. If he had printed the discs with a black text on white background “Windows recovery disk” it would probably have been a civil matter between him and MS. You may not like it, but what he broke the law. He didn’t just get sentenced for the breach of the license agreement, he got done for “conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods” and “criminal copyright infringement”. That last one is debatable, the first one is clear, and probably what got him the year in the slammer.

    3. In violating the agreement this way, he denies Microsoft the opportunity to sell new copies of Windows, which is damaging in the same way as theft, and that is morally and ethically wrong. Microsoft must prosecute or risk setting precedent that will open the door to industrial sized exploitation.

      1. Theft is not universally wrong. Theft which preserves life of one at the financial loss of another is often morally justified.
        I’m sure you know this, so trying to explain it to you is redundant, but I want to be clear that theft is not universally immoral, so that argument alone doesn’t hold water.

        1. That is a straw man to say one saves life and the other is only a “financial” loss. It takes part of your limited lifetime to produce the wealth. If it is stolen, the thief is taking part of your lifetime. If they steal car worth one year’s income, it is the same as murdering you a year before you would have died naturally. The diminishment of theft to a “property crime” ignores the reality.

          A bike I used for transportation to my job was stolen. What was the potential cost to me?

      2. This kind of thinking is completely wrong to apply to this situation. Neither Microsoft nor anyone else deserve or own a right to sell anyone copies of anything. They earn that by making something that people need or want but don’t already have. In this case he was just giving them a way to access the windows that the customer had ALREADY PAID MICROSOFT FOR. This is no more immoral than a good mechanic denying the auto industry the opportunity to sell another car by helping keep existing ones on the road.

        1. Reminds me of a intentional premeditated conspired and deprivation of the right to sell anything or even barter or trade in general with further issues regarding the act without paying someone else a tax or fee when in fact the tax or fee is unconstitutional in the first instance. Who came up with having to pay someone to sell property?

          Not only the potential fine that is argued as being required is unconstitutional and violates many criminal statutes when in fact the invasion of the nuisance robber isn’t required in the first place since by imposing the fees or fines is in the commission of a crime (premeditated intentional robbery). Seems like an individual or group of sadist sexual predator actors that are peeping and required to be registered on the public sexual predator listing at the required least.

          1. The way the EULA is worded no. I’m going to take perspective on this though that is rather long and wordy with some ideas I have and am I no way a legal scholar… I’m a missionary more-so by training when comes to legal stuff.

            However where applicable laws exist the transaction has a voided EULA contract with illegal terms in the agreement that I am not aware of as with most do not know since they do not read and there is not record of a signature or a signature made during the agreement process nor is there signing off of training related to the legal procedures surrounding the process. The study of law is in fact deliberately conspired and deprived in the education system to create more victims for the courts and their paramilitants.

            Therefore, knowing what a EULA, contract, legal terms or anything legal for that matter isn’t proven other than bullying, bashing or assaulting with malicious intent the personality or person to intimidate via torture under an intentional infliction of emotional distress or duress to agree based on the media portrayal of those staged and screened to be exposed to the public as an act of intimidation. All of which are all intentional premeditated criminal acts with malicious intent to do more than just commit intentional larceny of property under the color of law, though is in fact potential war criminal in nature due to the the military or paramilitary operations and acts involved to steal or rob the users property as an act to remedy a situation born of some act that isn’t necessarily valid, reasonable, rational or logical. There is no provision for the works to have an unreasonable term such as 70 years for their works of art other than some non-natural law form of a commerce related acts that seem to have not benefited society or the public in general since their inception. Of which can be statistically proven using metrics regarding the performance of the society that has used in most concerning manners where there is less peace and more injustice. This taken into account with no consideration in regards to standardized performance metrics regarding scholarly capabilities degenerating.

          2. I agree, the Windows logo, does look like a non-patentable claim lease versus a patentable claim as stated. However the utility of the system idea and useful article operation as taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_law_of_the_United_States seems to expose a fiat perception of requirements for survival and utility of despots acts to substantiate their unreasonable gains, profits and really seems to be economic warfare profiteering using PSYOPS by selfish delusional, grandiose and tangential to the reality of survival requirements people groups if not worse intentional actors:

            Copyright does not protect useful articles, or objects with some useful functionality. The Copyright Act states:

            A “useful article” is an article having an intrinsic utilitarian function that is not merely to portray the appearance of the article or to convey information. An article that is normally a part of a useful article is considered a “useful article”.

            “the design of a useful article, as defined in this section, shall be considered a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.”[12]

            Therefore, just as the naming convention applies the utility of a “useful article” such as a document, spreadsheet, or other form of useful article… when the Copyright owner and stakeholders was found to have the intent to steal property, make unreasonable gains beyond their return on investment and required for survival, unfairly acquired property and/or use stolen property that was created for public use or by public officials including taxpayers invested/donated dollars… the Copyright owner themselves has been found infringing on others free and open or Copyrighted or Trademarked or Patented asset where the arrangement of electrons is in fact unique to the user of the software albeit from a once original design with a questionable intent in regards to the valid application outside of industrial and commercial operations… the original copyright design is still referenced in the “DEVICE” and each time a user uses the “DEVICE” a unique work of art is created from the “useful article” with reference to the “SOFTWARE” as is with any published research and patent though not usually with most articles that are termed to have a copyright though do derive their invention from others potential copyright work(s).

          1. Seems like an entrapment scheme to read the EULA, not being trained in law formally or really even informally without substantiation documenting validly singing off on training with performance metrics to prove comprehension.

            I think after reading this HackaDay article in general and info on Wikipedia I am going to consider never using Windows once I verify I can transfer all operations to a Unix based system. I almost feel the same regarding telecom devices now and same goes with electronic vehicles even.

            I think we do have a right to resell use of Windows and at the least a right like a sub-lease.

          2. jafinch78: +1. EULAs can contain clauses that would not hold up in any court, but to the layman may appear legal. People who do know something about the law, about something called “First Sale”, might know better.

          3. I think you are renting the software. Or more accurately they have tried to make legally the same as the way theater or radio station is related to playing a movie or song. The recordings sent to radio stations are not for resale or distribution. You computer + you is the radio station. You can sell the station, but you can’t include the media you don’t have rights to.

          4. Is that true with all the license forms? We can buy movies and music. Is what we are buying considered renting or leasing? Why can people resale on eBay, movie and music stores?

            I think attorneys thought they can get away with whatever people let them get away with as long as they have mob, mafia or racket enforcement strong arming or armed robbing for them like malicious criminals.

            The products aren’t even required for survival, they’re almost mental ill actually or in fact some “art” is delusional illusions that meet the definitions of mental illness intent or causing such illness.

            Software, I admit does have more a survival requirement utility in being useful to store memories and associations more efficiently effectively… though our radio is configured how our “personal” computer operator configures.

            I almost think this case is something more to do with that U.S. Federal District or that city aristocracy that has a highly deadly racketeering influence corrupt organization going back to the cocaine cowboys days and still criminal issues with compounding and concealing money laundering, FTC/SEC fraud, narcotics and human trafficking corridors, higher dollar counterfeiting and smuggling and other issues… having issues versus Microsoft having issues.

            Like what happened to the other billionaire criminals being targeted in the news and their board like: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/03/14/theranos-founder-elizabeth-holmes-charged-massive-fraud/424670002/

          5. @TheRegnirps – what do you mean by having a right? Do you mean legally? If so then it depends on which court you happen to land in. Some are still honest and see EULAs for what they are an unjustifiable attempt to sell a cake and yet eat it too. Other more corrupt courts have been enforcing them. EULAs as law is NOT a done deal and it should not be!!!

            Or do you mean morally? I honestly do not believe that anyone can say they have a right to control something AFTER they sell it. I don’t care what agreements they may make at the time of sale not verbally nor on paper and certainly not in a click-through EULA that nobody reads. When you sell something you have exactly as much moral right to control it as you would if someone else had produced it and you never owned it. It is no longer yours. The purchaser should be allowed to do what they want. An EULA is an attempt by the author to steal back what they have sold.

            Now.. does that mean that the purchaser can duplicate the software, music, book or other IP and distribute freely? Society cannot really function that way. Creators would create less and would need to find other ways to make a living under that kind of permissive law. That is why we have the concept of licensing.

            After you write your amazing work of software, music or etc… you can sell a person the right to use your work absent the right to give it away to everyone else. But.. to sell something there must be something transferred in the deal. That license is transferred. The person who bought it now owns that single user license. Just like any physical object that person might own it is absolutely their right to transfer that license to someone else.

            Then you get the case where the license is given free, not sold like in this case. What is the difference? It’s really only a matter of price. I suppose if you want to be anal about it then you could say that a single user license was transferred at the time of download. The downloader could transfer that single license to someone else but he/she would have to download it again to get a new license before transferring it again. That is ridiculous though. It is a waste of electricity and bandwidth. Nobody benefits from that.

      3. Wrong and incorrect. The original license does not require a refurbisher to upgrade an already valid licences to Windows 10 for $25 dollars if the computer is re-manufactured. If it were, I’d agree. No. Microsoft lied in court and claimed that they charge $25 for THOSE disks. They don’t. They charge $5 for a windows 10 license and $20 for the cd media for windows 10 (at their LOWEST cost point). Something that is NOT required in their Licensing agreement. Plain and simple.

    4. Did you actually *read* anything about the case? At all?

      Just look at the emails in state’s evidence. The guy is clearly defrauding people. There’s one customer who received a sample, determined it was likely counterfeit (from spelling errors and the like) and sent it back. He then says he can “get him another batch” with those spelling errors fixed. This is a customer who wanted a genuine product, and he’s trying to get him to buy a fake one by pretending it’s genuine.

      If you think lying to people isn’t “wrong,” we have different definitions of the word.

      1. Cary Decuir, a fraud investigator at Dell, who told him “technically, you did us a favor” because Dell wouldn’t have to provide those thousands of restore CDs. And he believes (and had an expert witness testify) that the worth of the Dell restore CD is the same as the price as you’d pay to download the software: zero dollars.

        Did YOU read anything about the case?

        He’s not defrauding anyone by providing a restore disk. The value of the software as argued by Microsoft before is in the license tied to the OEM equipment.

        Maybe those are cases YOU should read.

    5. Aye do what you want so long you are not reducing others peoples freedom or damaging their property. Because do not steal and do not harm/murder are pretty good basis for a a society. Eg. I could stack 50 Tonnes of TNT in my field and set it off (Totally illegal in UK) but if no one was hurt/killed and nothing but my property was damaged, who cares. And no object or substance ever committed a crime. ever. People commit crimes and abuse objects to do so.

  3. ” While he was at it he figured he might as well make them look like the real thing, and provided the Chinese company he was working with images of what the legitimate restore discs should look like. Right down to the company logos and copyright notices.”

    Right down to the WHAT? ;-)

    1. Yeah, I’m glad they included that part. Most of the other articles (including places like EFF) didn’t include that fact and focused on the digital contents of the disc. The whole core of this case was around the logos and the copyright notices…

      1. If that’s the case, then it is a civil trademark infringement.

        Instead, they made a case in criminal court that the piracy of their product cost them.
        BUT:
        Cary Decuir, a fraud investigator at Dell, who told him “technically, you did us a favor” because Dell wouldn’t have to provide those thousands of restore CDs. And he believes (and had an expert witness testify) that the worth of the Dell restore CD is the same as the price as you’d pay to download the software: zero dollars.

        AND:
        The money that Microsoft claims they were defrauded of ($25/unit) is a LIE.
        That is a WHOLE NEW license agreement with a WHOLE NEW license key.
        Microsoft had their people lie under oath about the cost of software to put this guy away for something that even Dell (who sells OEM software bound equipment) agreed wasn’t actually worth anything.

        The LICENSE KEY is what enables the software to have any value according to Microsoft, Dell, and Eric Lundgren.

        So why has he been sent to jail? Because Microsoft conflated a license key that has value with a backup install disk (something the courts have already ruled on) that has no value, and claimed that they were out the money of a NEW license. This is despite the fact that the original software key by their License still follows the equipment, and there is no requirement in their License Agreements to require an upgrade to a newer version if the equipment is remanufactured.

        Now, civil trademark infringement. Sure. But this… isn’t that.

  4. Why not Linux???
    So Eric put himself in legal jeopardy so that he could restore an older version of a possibly unsupported and less secure version of Windows on a discarded computer. Why? I think installing free and open source software as a way of recycling that would provide value to old hardware by exposing more people to the option available as well as running faster and more secure than the old bloat ware from Microsoft would make more sense.

    1. I agree with you but doing so certainly adds friction to the recycling process. Imagine for example a non-profit who has to run proprietary Windows software because their state requires it. This company could substantially upgrade their systems using recycled gear, but not if it’s not running Windows.

      I’m all for eliminating Windows from the world, and I think there are ways clever hackers can help companies like the one I describe above transition or work-around using Windows, but I wouldn’t want to send more boxes the landfill just because we haven’t solved the software side yet.

      Now a dual-boot on the other hand… :)

    2. Yeah, you dont like Windows, we get it. But old hardware (for example CNC-stuff), especially in industrial settings, is still running on old Windows OS because the special hardware is not supported by newer OS.

      1. …and Microsoft also don’t like old versions of Windows and would like to see them retired, not restored with their lively security holes. I’m with them on that, mainly because old versions of IE need to be retired.

        1. Obviously never had to support an older computer system that uses specilised hardware – hardware that would cost tens of thousands to redesign so it could work with a more up to date bloat-system (oops, operating-system).

      2. I’m sure that is extremely relevant because that’s the majority of how he was marketing to, people running old CNC machines. Users who just want to surf their favorite social media sites and don’t use their computers for much else are totally not a thing.

    3. Why not ? Because people would not buy linux disks. So that he wouldn´t earn money from it. Simple as that.
      If he just wanted to help refurbishers and make a little on the side, ok, but that wouldn´t involve manufacturing disks with MS , Dell or other people´s logos. He wanted to sell counterfeit copies. And sell them as originals. So he was doing something wrong. And against the law. And at least dumb, if he really had some good intentions ( that I doubt ) .

      1. True, and in many cases, there are already requirements for systems with certain requirements for older systems.Simple as that too.

        Cary Decuir, a fraud investigator at Dell, who told him “technically, you did us a favor” because Dell wouldn’t have to provide those thousands of restore CDs. And he believes (and had an expert witness testify) that the worth of the Dell restore CD is the same as the price as you’d pay to download the software: zero dollars.

        He wasn’t selling them for the money, the goal was to get something that looked OEM so that the computer could be re-used again. I have tons of backup install disks (legal) that are blank and have “WinBlows x.x” written on them. But people would think that’s piracy when it’s only a legal backup. They wouldn’t buy it if I sold it with that instead of an OEM looking CD if they wanted to stay above the law. Even though it would be a licence requirement for me to give them my backup copy. That’s the issue.

        And it’s not about him selling squat. It’s about MicroSucks lying in court by conflating the cost of a disk and their refurbishing renewal program costs. There is no licensing or legal requirement to upgrade the equipment to a new version, but that’s where the $25 cost comes from. $5 for a brand new windows 10 license key and $20 for a backup cd.

        Now compare that with what Dell had to say about it.

        Sorry,. but… the only issue here is trademark infringement which is civil, and Dell wouldn’t have pursued, and windows could not because making a digital backup of their licensing agreement is also legal.

        MicroSucks put a man in jail over a lie.
        We should all be pissed as hell.

    4. >”Why not Linux???”

      Because if it all doesn’t work straight out of the LiveCD, the users are up s–t creek without a paddle. Trying to find working drivers for Linux for random obsolete hardware is a pointless task, because you didn’t have proper drivers back when the stuff was new either, and there’s even less interest in providing “community support” now.

      So half the stuff you’re trying to “refurbish” would be barely working.

      1. Linux distributions do not have 100% of all drivers ever made (and Windows has less). However a modern Linux distribution will most likely have everything required for current models of computer and even more certainty that it has drivers for older machines.

        1. …so long as you’re doing the most pedestrian of tasks or extremely familiar with computers.

          I’ve had to reluctantly switch over to Windows10 twice today just so that my FGPA and debug tools would work.

          Programmers pushing Linux onto the general public is like a mechanic recommending an exotic car as a daily driver.

        2. Today, the Ubuntu OS, and Open Office, Firefox, and other applications are every bit as user-friendly as Windows and MS’s applications, so the “exotic car” analogy no longer applies. Here in Portland, Oregon, we have a non-profit organization called “Free Geek”, that refurbishes computers and either gives them away or sells them at extreme discount prices, installing Linux and associated applications to avoid the EULA restrictions that would otherwise apply.

          HOWEVER, there are many small businesses that were built depending on applications developed for XP and earlier Windows releases, and these applications often do not work under Linux, not even with Wine. I’ve seen many ATMs, cash registers, ticket machines, and factory floor machines still running XP. These businesses can live or die depending on continuing support for OSs needed by these older applications. If it weren’t for the TRADEMARK violations, Lundgren’s work would be beneficial to society overall. But he crossed a line. It’s up to every buyer to decide who they pay money to, and when Lungren distributed discs bearing other companies’ names, he violated a trust.

          1. The analogy might only be understood by non-programmers or mechanics.

            When there is a problem, HOW user-friendly depends on your knowledge. If you’re a programmer/mechanic, probably not that bad. If you’re not, good luck.

            Linux isn’t a web browser.
            Web browsers are not operating systems.

            Hundreds of millions of PCs run programs which do not support Linux or have an Linux equivalent version. Most computer operators (secretaries, accountants, etc) barely know how to change the background image, let alone downloading drivers or what to do if the drivers just don’t exist.

            Programmers pushing Linux do not understand this; They’re out of touch because their world is computers. Like when rich people ask poor people, why not just save for retirement?

          2. Linux is not yet the answer: I think you may be out of touch. This was true a few years ago, but today’s Linux and most of the applications available for it are as user-friendly as anything in the commercial-for-profit industry, and in many cases MORE user-friendly. I use three desktop OSs regularly, and I always get caught up by Windows’ non-intuitive way of doing things. This is not because I’ve just gotten used to the Linux way over the years – there are things that Mac OS X does best, things that Linux does best, and occasionally, even things that Windows does best.

            About a year ago, the Ubuntu Linux system I had running on a MacBook Pro broke down big-time, and because I had things that needed to get done and didn’t have time to mess around with reinstalling Linux, and already had to use Mac OS X in order to run Final Cut Pro, I decided to try running OS X as my sole laptop environment. This took almost zero effort – almost all of the applications I used in Linux are now multi-platform, and work exactly the same in OS X as they did in Linux. And by the way, they run just the same in Windows, too. Linux versions of commercial software are even available for Linux. The platform you’re running on makes very little difference today, except for those applications that you absolutely have to use, that absolutely require a certain OS. So now I have a triple-boot system, and boot to Windows only when I absolutely have to. Again, NOT because I’m a hacker, but because Windows is just awkward.

          3. I’m not saying the Linux interface isn’t better than Windows, just that MOST people would have a very hard time justifying the time switching to Linux and VERY few would even be able to do so. Even if you ignore all the Linux traps like drivers, and the learning curve of a new OS, there’s the massive Windows-only program issue.

            Linux-pushers underestimate the number of Windows-only programs which companies rely on.

            Linus-pushers also overestimate the number of Linux equivalent programs.

            Just because it’s on Git doesn’t mean it’s an actual software package with the support of a large company taking responsibility. No successful company relies on software unless there is another company with a solid business plan backing it up. Companies will actually pay for shittier software than the open source free software if they can’t find a company they can pay to support it.

            The vast MAJORITY of programs that workers use on a daily basis have NO Linux equivalent. The ones that do, are not supported by anything more than two or three guys. This is too risky.

            Speak to accountants or small business owners (that make stuff) or attorneys or contract manufacturer, anyone making foodstuffs, anyone working for a defense contractor or government employee. They’ll tell you about a proprietary software package their company relies on that requires and is only supported for Windows.

            When the original companies go out of business, another company buys it up and supports it because there’s value. Humans use these Windows-only-proprietary-program-workstations waaaaayyyyy more than most Linux users think.

            It’s like the metric system here in the USA, we all would rather use somethign else, but it’s not as easy as saying “just use metric”.

  5. Can we stop pretending that this is some valiant recycling crusader being wronged? The fact is he was planning to make a profit from the discs by enabling people who have been unlawfully reassigning oem licences, a practice which does actually cost Microsoft OS sales. To pretend that he was just naive and no-one was going to buy them is disingenuous.

    Maybe he is unlucky that what he did fell under the criminal offence of counterfeiting but 28,000 is not a small number. Each one of those was a person who he was going to exploit. He did do something wrong both technically and in spirit, people should learn from that not try to excuse or defend it.

    1. Thank you for saying this. Curious if you feel software should be protected by copyright or patent law. Also how you feel about buying used books. Should the original author be paid each time someone reads it or just when the book is purchased?

      1. Your point is well made. Of course software should be protected. Software is a product of human effort that is easily duplicated, so it should have the same protection as books.

        The problem is with End User License Agreements. Books are sold to readers with an implicit license to do anything they want with their copy of that book – the buyer pays for the right to read and re-read a book as often as he likes, and also to loan it out to others, to analyze it at his heart’s content, write notes in the margins where he disagrees with the author or feels that additional clarification is needed, and to sell it for any price he can get for it. The restriction is the one copy rule – he cannot duplicate the book, nor can he keep a copy of the book to read while it is loaned out to others, or after he sells it. The problem with EULAs is that they often explicitly infringe on the buyer’s implicit right to do what he wants with his copy of the software. The user is often prohibited from selling the software to others, or trying to figure out how it works, even for the purpose of fixing errors in it.

        Microsoft’s EULA for Windows operating systems effectively means that the user can never sell his computer, since he would be legally required to wipe the disk, reducing the value of that computer to nearly zero. This is the moral equivalent to requiring that the pages of a book have all of the ink removed from them before the book can be sold. There is no other product I can think of that comes with this restriction. A fundamental assumption of trade is that buying something implies the right to sell it.

          1. Which is why I said “nearly zero”, which is not binary at all. But try selling a computer with no OS to anybody but Linux users, or those with a Windows install disc who don’t mind violating copyright, and see how many offers you get. Last time I looked, a copy of Windows 10 to install on computers with no OS (or to dual-boot on Mac systems, for example) is about $100.

          2. My $100 figure was based on legal options. If you try to sell a used PC without an operating system, a potential buyer will deduct $100 from what he will pay for it, based on what it would cost him to legally install Windows on it. If that computer is a few years old, likely this places its value below zero.

        1. Although I agree EULAs are a problem, I feel they’re no more a problem than overpriced goods. Just don’t buy them. It might be something you want and you might not like the terms, but you must exercise restraint, no? Litigating to force manufacturers to lower prices or change terms is too slippery a slope IMO.

          The Copyright Clause was added to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts. The spirit wasn’t to just protect anything made by human effort, which is also easily duplicated. It feels this has become the assumption though. As if the first person to make a paper-clip should inherit the copyright because they can be made faster than an OS can be copied.

          I guess my real question is why is software part of the “original works” list? Code is more like a schematic (not protected by copyright BTW) than even a reference book of tables (protected). A comedian’s stand-up routine is something the copyright laws were intended for, yet they’re not covered. I think this is the core issue. Unfortunately, most people can’t wrap their head around software that’s not protected. As if it would all go away or they couldn’t create their awesome startup idea.

    2. How come drug manufacturers and other patents only last for 7 years or some other time frame?

      Why do software manufacturers have some sort of perpetual exclusivity that to me seems criminal in itself in regards to conspiring against rights, depriving rights under color of law and other criminal offenses that result from armed robbers with offices neglect of duties compounding and concealing their criminal code offensives when home, vehicle or whatever property is being invaded, robbed, maliciously assaulted/destroyed and ultimately a malicious destruction of personality, property, person, people group, community, economy and a branch of society. Then there is the criminal seduction, coercion, manipulation, intimidation, kidnapping, human trafficking and other criminal acts that keep propagating the pan troglodyte lifestyle and society of prisons and crime manufacturing by criminals in fact trying to look legal.

      All over shekles? I doubt that. Some of the sub human groups involved do in fact enjoy pan troglodyte lifestyles.

      Almost seems like genocide to a certain point and is obviously economic warfare if you really think of the long term implications where everyone has to be subservient to mega-corporations and in the long run no one can own property including our family, other than per tax code still, unless we pay the bribery and extortion scheme payouts that look official for systems that aren’t even required for our survival and are most likely poisoning us… i.e. murdering us knowingly.

      1. Why?
        Well…. new technology has historically been squirreled away, outside of public record then eventually lost. Humanity has routinely forgotten and had to re-invent things hundreds of years later. To avoid this and accelerate society, the French came up with the idea of rewarding ‘inventors’ for public disclosure. The idea of rewarding exclusive reproduction rights was born out of the obvious issues with scalability and difficulty in placing a value amount on an idea.

        Although it flies in the face of capitalistic values, these limited monopolies have proven to work for hundreds of years. Today the world is drastically different though and it might be argued that there’s nothing that can be created that can’t be reverse engineered, so public record not only doesn’t need patents but is hampered by them.

        Copyrights are a little different.

        1. Makes sense. All my inventions are publicly documented somewhere and as my corporate attorneys told me… are cheaper to be published with “implied copyrights” versus actually paying for the filing process. Interesting is if in some cases a patent isn’t approved that the NSA want’s to classify… they can classify/seize if the patent isn’t published yet. This is another one of the strange loopholes that Patrick Flanagan of the neurophone has disclosed in his battles to make public his inventions:
          https://books.google.com/books?id=caMNee9ybUQC&pg=PA263&lpg=PA263&dq=neurophone+NSA+patent&source=bl&ots=jueL801tM2&sig=nfGndJegmUV3DxbQ3IY60KYcmAE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwikicSaoojbAhVO0lMKHa45BdQQ6AEIbTAJ#v=onepage&q=neurophone%20NSA%20patent&f=false
          http://www.flanagan-neurophone.com/HistoryoftheNeurophone.pdf

          1. You’re open to having others copyright your material and claim you’re in violation if you don’t actively pursue copyright for your original works. If they copyright your works and come after you, you’ll have to pay massive amounts just to defend against their claims in court. Doesn’t matter if you think you’ll win. It’s cheap, just do it the correct way.

            Patents are something else entirely. Now that the USA is a first to file state and there’s no grace period for research publications, if you just want to put your work out there, just publish it in as many places as you can. Good enough. It still might get patented by someone else and used to troll companies, but they’ll have an easier time dealing with the trolls if they can point to your publications.

          2. I’m not liable. The company I worked/work for would be liable… though even if for some unknown reason that is fabricated false I clearly noted what applications I used that were clearly licensed and I never made a profit from my work. Perrigo did and whatever agencies were working concurrent with me, unknown to me, most likely for different applications. I’m all for others copying the work. I’m not greedy, delusional, grandiose… though I do get on tangents and can have legal abuse syndrome disorder (LASD) that causes manic like mood, acts and events if I am paranoid that something I’ve experienced before is going to happen again that was criminally wrongful against me or others that are in or causing an imminent threat to life.

    3. “The fact is he was planning to make a profit from the discs by enabling people who have been unlawfully reassigning oem licences, a practice which does actually cost Microsoft OS sales. ”

      It’s more than that, too. The reason he was going to such lengths to make them look identical is because there are plenty of people who *do* follow the law, and wanted the originals, not copies. He was trying to defraud those people.

      And then, of course, you’ve got the other part where he’s actively trying to sneak things through customs via methods where they won’t check too carefully.

      Doesn’t matter what you think about the legalities of making a copy, the guy’s clearly trying to break the law and defraud people.

        1. Sorry, wrong link: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/mssmallbiz/2007/02/18/oem-microsoft-software-clarifications-plus-if-its-labeled-oem-you-should-stay-away-from-that-neil-macbride-of-the-bsa-business-software-alliance-about-buying-software-online/ in which is CLEARLY STATES:

          OEM system builder software packs are intended for PC and server manufacturers or assemblers ONLY. They are not intended for distribution to end users. Unless the end user is actually assembling his/her own PC, in which case, that end user is considered a system builder as well.

          OEM Windows Software: If the pack is opened, the enclosed individual software license(s):

          · must be distributed with a fully assembled computer system and

          · must be preinstalled.

          The individual software license(s) inside the pack can no longer be distributed with a non-peripheral computer hardware component.

          With the new 1-pack, the unopened package can be distributed to another system builder by itself, without any hardware requirement.

    4. Unlawfully reassigning OEM licenses?

      Firstly, if it comes with the equipment, then it is not reassigning it, as the OEM license is bound to the ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT. At least that’s what they claim.

      In addition, there is NOT a requirement in the licensing agreement to be FORCED to upgrade to Windows 10 for $25. But that’s what they MicroSucks claimed in court. Since the original equipment holds the license, any backup for install purposes is legal. At least that’s what the law and license agreement says. (it also says any backups with it must go with the original. hmm)

      Trademark infringement… absolutely. Criminal. No.

      Cary Decuir, a fraud investigator at Dell, who told him “technically, you did us a favor” because Dell wouldn’t have to provide those thousands of restore CDs. And he believes (and had an expert witness testify) that the worth of the Dell restore CD is the same as the price as you’d pay to download the software: zero dollars.

  6. I have slightly mixed views on it. Certainly there’s a violation of the licence agreement for download, and an attempt to profit (albeit only slightly) from something that’s given out for free through another channel in violation of the agreement. On the other hand, you could argue that Microsoft has stolen significantly larger amounts from the US public through violations of the first sale doctrine. Machines with an OS would be sold as having Windows on, yet they then seek to define situations where they do not allow the licence to be transferred under first sale rights. They may argue that people agree to a licence agreement in order to use the system, but for a bundled OS any licence is offered only after sale because that’s certainly not shown and agreed before buying a PC in a store. As a result you could similarly argue that the scenario that Microsoft is demanding is an infringement of owners rights and the total lost through that would be much higher.
    I don’t think Eric comes out well from this, in part from counterfeiting logos and so on and clearly breaching copyright, but Microsoft would arguably do better to put its own house in order rather than overstate its losses in the case, too.

    1. Thank you! There is no language in their license that requires anyone to upgrade to windows 10 for $25 dollars.
      Redistributing OEM restore media is technically required (if it exists) by their license. So yes, he did break some rules, no question. He didn’t steal money from MicroBlows.

      (https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/mssmallbiz/2007/02/18/oem-microsoft-software-clarifications-plus-if-its-labeled-oem-you-should-stay-away-from-that-neil-macbride-of-the-bsa-business-software-alliance-about-buying-software-online/)
      OEM system builder software packs are intended for PC and server manufacturers or assemblers ONLY. They are not intended for distribution to end users. Unless the end user is actually assembling his/her own PC, in which case, that end user is considered a system builder as well.

      OEM Windows Software: If the pack is opened, the enclosed individual software license(s):

      · must be distributed with a fully assembled computer system and

      · must be preinstalled.

      The individual software license(s) inside the pack can no longer be distributed with a non-peripheral computer hardware component.

      With the new 1-pack, the unopened package can be distributed to another system builder by itself, without any hardware requirement.

      MicroSucks can go to hell. They put a man in jail after lying in court.

      Bastards.

  7. Will be interesting(horrifying) to see if MS takes the Napster route and prosecutes everyone that sells their old PC at a garage sale as criminal. Or on the Great Internet Garage Sale, for that matter.

    1. They’d have to re-write a massive section of their EULA to do so. Currently, it’s legal to sell a computer with a valid copy of Windows if you also include everything you received from the OEM/retail box with it. So, you have to give the CoA sticker, the install media, the paperwork, the box, etc along with the computer.

  8. Bottom line, don’t touch Microsoft, or Apple for that matter. Just stay away, these are not nice people. You make a deal with the devil and you will probably be burnt. The same reason I would not put an FTDI chip into any of my designs.

  9. I used/supported Windows for 20 years as a system admin, but when I retired in 2010, I decided I was DONE with dealing with the insanity that was (and has gotten FAR worse since my retirement … witness Windows 10, or as I refer to it, Windows NSA Edition). When I retired, my home systems were dualboot, Win7 and Linux. Now they are strictly Linux. Frankly I feel pity for those who, for whatever reason, still use MS products. On the other hand, all of the endless stories of the abuse that MS heaps on those who still use its products, provides a lot of entertainment for me.. (Call me bad, I don’t care)

    1. That would be nice. Unfortunately, it’s like telling people with car problems that they should just walk everywhere.

      To do my job requires Windows XP/7/8/10. The programs do not support Linux and Linux does not have drivers for… well most things we use.

      Windows sucks just like a moped sucks. I was really hoping a big player was going to fix this.

      1. Try ReactOS. While its still in alfa, it could perhaps still be usable for certain cases. I personally switch to mac 5-6 years ago, I though I could never switch away from Windows due to software needs, but turns out I was wrong…

  10. Should software be covered under copyright laws? How about patent law?
    I don’t think it’s a good idea, but would love to know HaD reader views as I feel they’re >90% programmers.

  11. Microsoft has a blog post on this, which includes links to some pretty damning emails from Lundgren: https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2018/04/27/the-facts-about-a-recent-counterfeiting-case-brought-by-the-u-s-government/

    To summarize: he purposefully tried to make the discs appear as if they were genuine discs from Dell. The intent was for the end users to think that they were genuine, and this was done for profit. There was discussion of how to avoid selling to people who might recognize the counterfeits. He gave his partner instructions in how to ship things to avoid Customs. When a shipment was delayed by Customs, he gave his partner instructions on how to lie when questioned.

    1. Yes and the spin of how he did this because he is so kind is simply bull.

      He and his partner (and by extension the manufacturer in China) made fake copies that was made as close as possible to the real thing as possible – in order to fool the recyclers that were the targeted _customers_. When a batch had flaws they planned to sell them to customers that weren’t likely to detect those flaws.
      Sell. Sell for _profit_ – not at-cost as a service.

      This is conspiracy to sell counterfeit goods. And this was done in order to earn money. He and his partner did this when detecting that there were a market opportunity in that genuine restore discs are scarce and that the legal option getting a reinstall disc from Microsoft were very expensive.

      Anyone defending this without also being an anti-copyright warrior* is a hypocrite.

      (* those that complain on the Internet while never producing anything worthy of copyright in the first place)

    1. Thanks to nobody’s above reference… I do see now where there is counterfeiting involved such as substantiated and noted: “Mr. Lundgren took great pains to disguise the counterfeit software he imported, including arranging for fake Microsoft and Dell labels to be applied to the discs”.

      I still stand by my belief in intent of some systems being dangerous more than most realize in regards to our Rights being eroded and also in exclusivity period limits… though for profit reasons I do agree there is an issue here. I was under the impression that there was no profit being made.

      Still substantiates war with China is being averted to imprison people by war profiteering still. More substantiation that the free global market isn’t so free and really only a front for attorney, law enforcement, health care and retail mafia operations to operate as officials that are neglect of duties as continuing criminal enterprises with malicious intent with confusing alibis for armed robbery, torturing and other crimes against civil humanity.

      1. Yes, BUT the main reason this is a headline in a lot of places has little to do with “the law” or even “facts” and more to do with “but it’s Microsoft” playing on people’s prejudices and feelings.

        1. Right, the media with networks connecting U.S. law enforcement has to look like they’re helping defend Microsoft so they can maintain their revenue streams along with their tax fraud and evasion operations like a religious cult even though they’ve failed at investing billions of dollars just in regards to updating their computer systems over the years… not including the fusion center fiasco that probably caused more breaches in national security and intelligence to further substantiate their existance.

          The case especially, compounds and conceals with diversionary tactics the failed security of the homeland computer system infrastructure even more-so now with more wireless operations and the FCC related operations regarding the SDR nature and even SCADA/PLC nature of systems connectivity now.

          Whatever gets people tangential from survival requirements and the governments purpose of existing for general public health, safety, welfare and well being using emotional magnification tactics and no details of all the U.S. Jurisdictions Constitutional and Statutory Law being iterated through reviewing the various combinations and permutation of violations and balancing those acts is what it is like as you note. Placate on peoples mental health conditions and mood disorders caused by all the chemical, biological, electromagnetic and whatever poisons everywhere in our life.

          Another case of the state picking up charges that no one else even was concerned with since there might not have been that significant of an issue even though after the matter people act like there is. Am I forgetting the history of Microsoft patent infringement and higher dollar cases of money laundering, FTC violations and market fraud?

  12. The fact that he used Microsoft’s logos and copyright notices prevent me from having any sympathy for a guilty verdict. To honestly have discs professionally made with logos that belong to another company without explicit written consent to do so is stupidity in its purest form as well as a blatant disregard of common sense. As much as I despise how Microsoft handles restore discs and content to re-install a paid-for OS, I have to fully side with them on this case.

  13. I wonder if they have created another Linux advocate the same way they did Ernie Ball?

    http://mrpogson.com/2013/02/14/50-years-old-and-12-years-free-of-m-ernie-ball/

    There were some public school districts across the country which Microsoft also went after for licensing issues and a number of them switched entirely to Linux. Then, right before their annual public school IT conference where some of these schools were going to present their Linux migrations, Microsoft stopped all the ongoing attacks on the schools and made them offers they could not refuse.

    What Eric should have done was switch to Linux and then start going around the country showing non-profit recyclers how they too could use Linux instead of Microsoft.

  14. What made me side with Microsoft and the court decision was the fact that the guy was selling the discs. “At little cost” still means that there was a cost. These discs obviously were part of a profit making endeavor for this guy and, had he gone unchecked, he would have gladly collected profits Microsoft’s work ad infinitum.

    He could have easily given the discs or the files away for free or as a bonus alongside actual products and services that he provided. However, he did not. That was his mistake and fairly obvious evidence that he sought to profit from work and property that was not his to profit from.

  15. Very nice article. But Lundgren is really dumb why would anyone care about old M$ crap knowong that not only they suck all your blood as they distort facts as tehy always do to be on advantage.

  16. In the USA a warm body locked up is worth $36,000 taxpayer dollars (on average), that money goes into someone’s pocket. With over two million warm bodies locked up it’s an industry.

    1. That prison industry complex constitutes war crimes in civil jurisdictions with military systems and para-militants at the least kidnapping, pandering, and trafficking humans when not required to do so. That is why “correctional facilities” just like “public safety” terminology hasn’t been adopted and implemented as more than a naming convention in only a very few jurisdictions. Review economies where the GDP is below a certain percent threshold and determine what economic systems are in place and funds those communities… hint: government cults that stalk people, reckless endanger and cause interstate domestic violence. How are those peace officers or justices of the peace operations?

  17. That $25 dollar ‘licence refresh’ charge doesn’t apply in Europe, under first sale doctrine. I’m amazed they get away with it in the US, even knowing you’ve sold out most of your consumer rights and public rights.

    1. The $25 ‘licence refresh’ charge is available only to member refurbishers, and it gives them a new license key for the most up to date version of windows that the hardware will support, its really an upgrade licence.

      1. EXACTLY! THIS ought to be the highest debate point!

        This is essentially an argument of abandonware in many cases (anything below win7).

        In addition, the laws are set badly. Think about it this way, your VIN number (proof of licences number) with your car (equipment) can only get refurbished with OEM parts under warranty ( Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act) IF the VIN is true. Courts settled the issue of unlimited personal backup, transfer-ability of licenses that are bound by hardware (MicroFucks own choice).

        No. This is a case of our right to repair. Now, was there some trademark infringement with using certain pictures. Yes. That’s a CIVIL case. CIVIL. NO JAIL TIME!

        This is BS.

        Each computer by law has the right to have a backup copy of the software licensed to them. BY LAW. This CD is just that.

  18. And I am free as in libre to have as little to do with Microsoft as I can. And I have valid reasons for my dislike of Microsoft (but only the software side).

    1. Of course you are free. You can avoid buying products made by or sold by companies that buy Microsoft products, so that your money doesn’t go in part to Microsoft. Good luck with that.

        1. How so? I am just pointing out that trying to avoid paying Microsoft for their software is futile, since some portion of virtually anything you buy is going to pay Microsoft for their software.

  19. When you make a Dell restore disk and actually copy their logo and artwork onto the disk, you are looking to get sued. Who does not know that you can’t do that? Why put the Dell logo on the disk if it is not intended to deceive someone? I am sure at one point Dell paid Microsoft dearly for the privilege of distributing Microsoft’s software. I had some sympathy for this guy until I found out that he actually reproduced the Dell disk along with its artwork, that pushed it over the edge for me.

    1. I view the issue more as a “for profit” issue as the causation. Technically, we’re supposed to reference the trademark, copyright, entity or patent owner clearly. That is where I find issues with the intellectual non-tangible property issues that arise from recorded art or software. Then again, the software suite I developed and sold for a little over $2,000, for the one copy the one time, for profit dollar amount never went to me… it went to my employer. Technically, it’s more like electrons organized in a data structure flowing into different relational databases with other software apps that use the US dollar valuation scheme.

  20. He’s a pirate in every sense. We are a Microsft Registered Refurbisher as well. If a customer has a problem, we have to send a replacement hard drive which costs us time to diagnose the issue plus the cost in freight to ship the replacement hard drive plus the cost of freight. By playing by the rules we probably spend $15 to fix the customer’s issue. And truth be told, these issues are mostly related to faulty Windows updates or software conflicts with driver updates, not hardware problems.

    Eric Lumgrens costs were $.15 cents to burn the illegal disks which would ultimetley fix every issue except hardware drive failures. I don’t think this deserves hard time, but they should fine him a significant amount. The rules are simple. Follow them and you will be fine. Make up your own rules as you go along and pay the price.

  21. Stealing is stealing.

    He stole profits from Microsoft , who could have otherwise sold a replacement disc, or even a replacement license.

    He stole profits from Dell, HP, Compaq, ASUS, or whatever PC manufacturers remain. Computers are not meant to be recycled, they are meant to be disposed. It’s called a personal computer for a reason, it is to be used by one person, not “persons”.

    Recycling computers is theft.

    Just pirating the discs warrants a hefty sentence. Thats $119 a license. Licenses can not be reapplied to a computer, they need to be purchased “fresh” even on illegal or gray market “used” personal computers.

    If he simply installed a gray-market OS , like Linux, or other open-sores software, he would still be in the wrong, just “less” wrong.

    1. No, you are incorrect. Stealing has a broader definition that is more detailed and advanced than “is stealing”.

      Recycling is waste management and is not theft.

      I’m guess you can be thrown away like if someone tries to save your personal life then that would be theft? Oh, yeah… without your consent unless unresponsive huh?

    2. “gray market OS like Linux”??? What the hell are you talking about? There is nothing about PCs that makes any particular OS more or less legal than another.

      1. Linux requires a Windows license to run. Running Linux without a valid Windows license makes it a gray-market PC. The PC is sold as a complete unit, with software. The default software is Windows. Linux requires a valid Windows license to be complete.

        Open-Source is like a cancer that corrupts everything it touches. It steals the rightful profits from Microsoft , ASUS, Dell, and other PC manufacturers.

        1. No, you need to supply references to your comments. You’re not correct in any of your statements you are making. Maybe, “some PC are sold as complete units” is as closest as you’ve got to the truth.

          1. The BIOS calls use Windows/MSFT APIs. Linux simply ignores the proper licensing, and uses the APIs without any valid licensing. A properly licensed Linux PC requires a Windows License.

            A PC can do technically nothing without Windows.

            Access the MBR, this requires a proper license.
            Access the BIOS API. this requires a proper license.

            Use a Partition table, this requires a proper license.

          2. BillyGatesGator: I hope you’re kidding. It’s Microsoft and its dependent hardware and applications industry that came up with the term “gray market PC”, to spread lies about Linux and train people to believe that Windows is the only legal operating system for PCs. No, GNU/Linux does NOT use any Microsoft APIs. They DO use reverse-engineered methods, where for example, one person analyzes the code to determine exactly what it does, and writes a specification based on that, and another, who has seen none of the original code, writes an independent work-alike piece of code. Even WINE (“WINE Is Not an Emulator”), which duplicates the whole Windows runtime environment for running Windows applications without Windows, is a clean, infringement-free project. You can tell because it doesn’t work perfectly. If this is illegal or immoral, then the whole PC industry is illegal or immoral, because that’s how the PC’s original BIOS was reverse-engineered by the folks who brought us Compaq and the Phoenix BIOS.

            Patents and copyrights don’t protect what something does, only how it does it.

  22. The USA is a country where software piracy and trademark infringement can be sentenced more harshly than assault, robbery, and rape. People are getting in trouble for repairing iPhone screens for f**k sake! If you want to run a company that dumps toxins into the environment you are probably in the clear. But be careful if you want to reduce e-waste…and consider installing Linux; every person you switch (and it’s pretty easy when most people just use their computers for internet stuff and there are distros that look and feel like Windows for the average user) is one less future customer for the sort of company that would stand behind a case like this. FOSS can’t do everything…not by a long shot, but most of the population does nothing more than what an old Android phone can do.

    1. No joke… the fines and fees for “accidental spills” even repeatably are less than processing the hazardous waste. Then there is the business practice in the second and third World countries, that have taken over the U.S., of doing what you want until you’re caught and compelled to do otherwise.

  23. If we celebrate legal victories over those who would violate the terms of the GNU GPL license, we cannot in the next breath condone the violation of proprietary licenses simply because they run counter to the hacker ethos.

    Yes, we can. However, to do it we need to pass new law. As time passes and the information technology advances, the need for new regulations becomes more and more obvious. Privacy, freedom, security, these are fields that need to be properly described in bills.

    The recent problems of FB show, how the law, because most probably FB hasn’t broken any rules, is far from our values with regards to privacy.

    Eric Lundgren’s got into trouble because the law gives more freedom to corporations than to users. I can see no reason, other than profits of monopolies, not to forbid taking the four freedoms away from users in license agreements.

    With more and more IoT devices on the market, their manufacturers aren’t forced to provide security update at all, not even for a year or two. And they should to it for at least ten years after releasing a product. Car manufacturers have to provide spare parts and other companies are allowed to provide substitutes. Firmware is a part, that doesn’t break, but it becomes obsolete.

    1. We can agree to be slaves. That is illegal still throughout the U.S. Jurisdiction. We can agree to have someone assist in suicide… that unfortunately has become seemingly legal in some U.S. States now… even though is an 18 USC 1111 violation.

    2. Eric Lundgren got prosecuted for counterfeiting software, as evidenced by labeling them to appear to be genuine Microsoft/Dell products. The laws under which he was prosecuted were intended to prevent corporations from flooding our market with knock-offs. And by buying 28,000 copies to sell, he was acting like a corporation anyway. This is not an individual vs. corporation case. It’s unlikely in the extreme that he would have been prosecuted for buying one copy for his personal use.

      1. Bogus product everywhere, eh?

        [quote]DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) —
        A Los Angeles Police Department task force seized $700,000 worth of counterfeit cosmetics after raiding 21 locations in downtown’s Fashion District, an LAPD spokesman said.

        Police Capt. Marc Reina announced the results of the operation Thursday evening on Twitter, adding that the fake cosmetics were “found to contain bacteria and human waste.”

        “The best price is not always the best deal!” Reina wrote.

        The bust in Santee Alley netted makeup similar to such popular brands as Urban Decay, NARS, MAC, Kylie Cosmetics by Kylie Jenner, and others.[/quote]

        1. I know this isn’t really relevant, but I’d like to point out that the genuine name-brand cosmetics also contain bacteria and human waste. The highest price is not always the best product.

      2. Jim,
        The UK chain Comet was sued by Microsoft because Comet created and sold disks with Microsoft’s proprietary holographic label. Eric Lundgren did not duplicate hologram’s. Lundgren’s situation is quite unlike the Comet case, the disks seized by U.S. customs were plain, generic looking Dell utility “Restore cd”s. Wheras Comet (U.K.) sold their cd’s to the public as Microsoft product, the cd’s in question here misled no one, as they were intended to appear and function as the exact replacement Dell restore cd’s which is what they are. They contain 100% Dell supplied software.

        The reason that no American has ever been prosecuted or sued previously for restore cd’s is because its not a crime. Just as one does not steal a car by making a photo copy of the owners manual, Lundgren took NOTHING from Dell by copying that companies restore cd’s for Dell computers.. These Dell Cd’s are utility only, which is incidental and essential to Dell computer ownership.

        if Microsoft or Dell intends for operating systems to expire and become void. That expiration date should have been clearly posted on the box and the computer equipment. But there is no expiration date!

      3. He was operating as a corporation, “Source Captain Inc.” was the company he had for doing business in china however once he left China he shut it down and did not keep any of its records.

  24. The entire fiasco was avoidable.
    Genuine OEM restore discs are easily obtained in the surplus market, in bulk @ $1.00 USD each, and $10.00 as a single sale. Perhaps he was too far from Los Angeles to get these prices.

    The amazing fact is: OEM restore disks will install on most, if not all, other brand computers.

    Yes, Dell OEM disc will restore HP, Lenovo, etc. (try it) Yes, the new computer needs the COA attached, but that’s common.
    Yes, some drivers need to be updated, but that’s not so bad.
    Yes, he should have installed Linux..

        1. I had always felt Linux is dead in the water for the average computer user unless some group decide to sect a Linux distro to support for reasonable fee. They also pay a reasonable fee for support of the open source applications that do the same jobs they have using Windows to do. No doubt that would set the open sour purists hallowing. My conclusion has bee the open source county at times can be ripen source’s worse enemy Many computer users are intimidated by using forums for support. By proving support for reasonable fee could lead to more people using a developers product.

  25. So, he should play along, do 15 months then sue the government and MS for loss of income and emotional distress and whatever else is appropriate, then demand damages of say a million. Fair is fair,and law is law right?

    1. Except that it wasn’t Microsoft who brought the action against him. It was U.S. Customs, doing their job. Next someone will say it was Microsoft’s fault for producing discs that were too easy to counterfeit, thus tempting people who otherwise would not take up a life of crime.

      1. I base my critique on that judge who claims he has no choice. And talking of which, if he has no choice why do you need a judge anyway?
        Anyway, I apply that logic, and according to that logic ‘blind law’ the guy suffered for a no-harm ‘crime’.
        And a good lawyer could work with that.

  26. I think this guy should be in some trouble because he tried to make the discs look like they actually came from Microsoft.

    I also think he is an idiot for not realizing that burning and distributing CDs of Windows would get him into trouble.

    But.. I do not think that that second part was in any way wrong and that our legal system IS wrong about this.

    Here’s where I first have to start disagreeing with Tom. “but when Eric Lundgren decided to use Microsoft’s product he agreed to play by their rules.”

    Computer software and/or easily duplicable Intellectual Property have not existed for all that long. I bet there are many even here today that remember when home audio recording first became a thing that was available to most households followed by video and eventually software. While I would not recommend going up against the law in the manner that Mr. Lundgren did I think that those of us living under some form of democracy should NOT consider the rules of IP to be a said and done thing yet.

    I remember only a couple of decades ago reading about click-through EULAs and debates in court over whether or not pressing the ‘Accept’ button actually constituted a legally binding agreement. Early on things were looking good for consumers, there was no signature, no witness and no reason to expect that the person clicking the button actually read the legalese or would have understood it if they did. It looked like these things were going to be completely powerless. And then… something happened. I didn’t follow it at the time. I guess probably some companies with big budget lawyers bought themselves some legal precedent. Now I see EULAs discussed even on a site called ‘Hack a Day’ as though they were some sort of natural law!

    We will all be better off if this changes. I’m not advocating limitless copying. If the author wants to sell their product for a price they should be paid! But… First Sale Doctrine should apply, not just to things with physical copies (which the a-holes in Redmond get around by not giving any) but to the whole license. If a customer buys a license to use some piece of software they own the right to use that piece of software. That right belongs to that person. Like any belonging they should be able to sell it. If they do then the buyer gets the right and the original customer no longer has it. If the original customer wants to use it again he or she needs to buy another license. This stuff should be just as common sense as if we were talking about physical objects! EULAs be damned!

    Then there is the free download. If person’s A and B can legally download something for free then person A should be allowed do download it for B and vice versa. The author certainly isn’t hurt, there is no money lost. Society isn’t hurt, there is no motivation to create new works that is lost. Society actually benefits a little as electricity saved = less CO2! I would only add that the media it is distributed on should not infringe the author’s trademark. It should not duplicate the author’s logo and it should be clearly marked that the original author is not responsible for any defects and where to go to find the original author (the official download url).

    Then there is that crap about Thingiverse….

    “As a community we fought back against people selling prints of Creative Commons Non-Commercial models downloaded from Thingiverse,”

    I will argue for an author’s right to assert the non-commercial clause. It is their work I guess. But.. why? Really, what good does a free as in Beer, non-com license do for anyone? I honestly think that the proliferation of that kind of license is nothing but a cancer eating at our community. People liken selling things that were published with a non-com license to theft but how can you steal from someone who wasn’t getting paid in the first place? It is completely illogical!

    I get the argument for closed licenses. If I put my time into something and don’t want to give it away for free that is my right.

    I get Public Domain too. Doing good things and sharing is nice and has it’s own benefit.

    I get Open Source. If your goal is to do good things, help and share people then a license that requires those who may benefit to also share alike just magnifies the benefit.

    But non-com open source?!?! Why?!?! It just looks to me like an ego-bandage. I made this thing, didn’t think it could be profitable or didn’t want to go through the hassle of running a business… but someone else just showed me that I passed up a goldmine! Ouch… my ego hurts now I am going to cry foul! Just look at it this way. If you wanted to share your idea, your vision, your design… some guy on eBay printing it and selling it is actually spreading it to people that probably would never have found or known what to do with your design in the first place! Congrats, you succeeded! Or.. look at it this way. You gave the design away. Somebody else is selling the service of printing or otherwise building it plus raw materials.

    Now I know. People think they are the Homebrew Computer Club. Without the non-com clause the next Bill gates is going to turn their design into the next Billion dollar industry and they will be left with no credit or even rights to use the product.

    Well.. first.. that can be prevented with a good Open Source / Share Alike license. A non-com clause is totally unnecessary.

    Second.. it’s incredibly unlikely. Your little Thingiverse dragon just isn’t that groundbreaking.

    Personally, if I am not doing something for profit I will almost always just use an Open Source license. If someone makes money off it then great. It’s far more likely to be some kid looking to fund his maker hobby (which would make me happy) than it is to be the next corporate behemoth. Besides, either way my design gets out there, my little piece of immortality.

    1. It’s really cool if you have a choice. Want to put a non-com License on your design? go for it. GPL fits better? then choose that one. Ah you feeling the creative commons or the MIT vibe? go with those ones? What about BSD type license? nothing is stopping you for going for it? What if you want to use GPL and BSD and CC and MIT all the same time? All the power to you.

      1. Yeah, I really don’t think so.

        I think an important concept that we really need to be pushing when we talk about things such as EULAs and DRM is that when you give someone the right to use something you give up the right to determine what they use it for.

        Some examples;

        The power company should not be able to say the electricity you buy can be used to light a lamp but not to power your computer.

        Cellphone companies, as internet providers should not be able to say that you can use the same bandwidth you already paid for on your cellphone but not on your laptop.

        The water company should not be able to say that you can drink the water but you cannot cook with it.

        Movie producers should not be able to say that you can purchase a DVD and the right to watch the movie recorded within in country A but you cannot watch that same DVD in country B.

        I could go on and on. Those examples all involve money however the price can vary. What is a free (as in beer) license with a non-com clause but yet another sale where the seller is trying to control the product AFTER it’s sold only this time the price was 0?

        1. Morgauxo: the conditions you describe in your examples, which are not legal, are covered by the First Sale doctrine, a fundamental concept in common law. Note the word “sale” in there: you can’t sell something to somebody, and then dictate what they can and can’t do with it. In the case of free software, there is no sale. Somebody is GIVING you something for free, and in some cases saying, “I’m not charging you for my work, under the condition that you don’t charge others for the work you do using my work.” It may not be what you like, but you’re getting what you pay for.

          I don’t put “non-commercial” on anything I give away, but that’s my choice.

          By the way, the way some software companies have gotten around First Sale doctrine was to say, “you are purchasing the medium on which our software is recorded. We retain all rights to the software. You can use the medium any way you want, but if you transfer it to someone else, you must first remove the software from it.” And also, they tended to limit their responsibility to the media, i.e., if the software doesn’t do what you want and expect it to do, you can return the disc and they will send you a replacement disc. I think courts have ruled this to be nonsense – nobody is paying hundreds of dollars for blank discs.

          1. No, half of the conditions I described were hyperbole, examples of the EULA concept being taken absurdly far. The other half were quite real. Tethering limitations and region restricted DVDs, even region restricted online streaming services are very much a thing. Perhaps they aren’t directly given the force of law but thanks to DRM and the DMCA they are.

            I’m not sure that I see any moral difference between putting restrictions on what is given away vs what is sold. What if I went around handing out apples, telling people they are only for eating, not decorations, drawing subjects, etc.. and they may only be eaten by the person I give them to. Would not everyone think that I am nuts?

            I don’t know if I want to keep pushing this point though….

            “I don’t put “non-commercial” on anything I give away, but that’s my choice.”

            Good, neither do I. I just go a step further and strongly believe that nobody else should either. That’s not necessarily the same as saying people shouldn’t be allowed to. Maybe I should stop making my previous argument because there are some restrictions that I do think are beneficial.

            I think everyone should stop using free non-com licenses because there is no benefit to anyone in using them, content creator included. Why? Because I think there are three motivations why one shares content.

            1) Profit – A free non-comm license is still free as in beer. You get NO MONEY. Yes, I know, some people hope that all the free users will spread their content far and wide causing the big corporations to come beating down their doors begging to be sold a different license for some unspecified sum of cash. Get over yourself, that’s just lazy marketing and it isn’t going to happen. Well funded companies don’t use things that are shared for free, they look down their noses at that as hobbyist stuff. And honestly this is not all without good reason. It takes time to sift through all the garbage on the free sites. Time is money and a well-funded company is better off getting an account with a reputable content provider and skipping all the cruft.

            2) Recognition – More people distributing your stuff for free or profit will get your stuff out there farther and wider. Let them sell your wares. Just make them put your name in the credits using a BSD style license.

            3) To benefit the community – Awesome, if this is your motivation you rock! How does an non-com clause help this? Some guy selling prints of your stl on FleaBay doesn’t in any way remove your free download from Thingiverse! It just makes it accessible to people who can’t or don’t want to print it themselves. That’s just benefits an even wider community! Maybe in this case we could have a license that says if you sell it… and you advertise (that ebay listing counts does it not) the advertisement must include a link back to the free offering. There! Now if a Fleabay browser happens upon your design, has a printer but never saw your original they now can choose… pay Fleabay seller X to print it for him/her or download from you and self-print. Best of all worlds!

            For benefiting the community why not use a share/alike license without the non-com clause? If someone wants to sell your design they will probably want to improve some aspect too. Now they have to share their improvement! How does that NOT benefit the community even more?

            Software people seem to get this. Most software these days seems to either be commercial or free OSS. I don’t see a whole lot of non-com free as in beer apps out there. And the result? Linux, WebKit, Libre Office, MySQL, etc… Then I browse Thingiverse, free music sites, image sites… almost everything is non-com licensed. More than half of shared 3d objects are usually just STLs with no original source for easy modification.

            Imagine if big companies were grabbing designs off of Thingiverse, paying professional engineers to improve them and then re-sharing them knowing that only a small fraction of the population would download them and print them anyway, they could still make just as much profit off their products. Look at the accelerated development that Linux enjoyed when that happened to it! Sure, there would be the occasional Lennart Poettering poisoning the well with shitty designs but just like with Linux it would still be free so that you can just pull the crap out and keep the good!

          2. For some reason you got me thinking… If I buy a GMO apple… then what prohibits the farmer from owning my excretement?

            Seems like modern day slavery schemes with economic warfare making warfare all cute, sweet and innocent looking trying to fake puritan legal Christian or whatever the valid religion looks, acts, ways and means for the market region.

  27. Reads to me that Lundgren din’t know enough to not start digging a hole, or quit making it deeper. The landowners and merchant started the American revolution, they also created the Constitution. A constitution that addressed commerce befog civil rights. Therefore we have a government of the merchants by the merchants for merchants

    1. Starting with the declaration of U.S. assets in the Declaration of Independance:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Declaration_of_Independence

      Then with the more formal organization Articles of Confederation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Articles_of_Confederation

      Then replaced with the U.S. Constitution: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Constitution

      Then more formal documents with organizations noted with the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, then Northwest Ordinance of 1789 following with the Organic Acts of the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 and 1871 really driving the U.S. Jurisdiction Districts… not only States, Territories, Tribes and Nations.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_act

      Now the U.S. is divided and conquered by Rome again and their Titles of Nobility and Ecclesiastical Provinces cartels. Looks like the U.S. is losing ownership to international interests. Those statistics can be found in corporate and property ownership research as well as population citizenship information.

  28. “But let’s not make the mistake of deluding ourselves into believing he did nothing wrong”. Really? That’s utter BS, and I’m tempted to use much stronger language, but I’ll rein myself in. That he violated Microsoft’s licensing terms is undeniable. That violating those terms in a way that caused Microsoft neither financial nor reputational damage is against the law, is both sad and disgusting. There IS a delusion here though, and it’s contained in this article. And it’s a dangerous delusion, of the full-on Kool-Aid-drinking variety. Namely, it’s the implication in that last line that Eric Lundgren did something morally wrong.

    As a society, we have gotten into the habit of rolling over and accepting this kind of crap from our legislators and their corporate owners, and parroting their pronouncements. It’s time to stop that; the first step is to stop saying that Eric Lundgren and people like him “did something wrong”. A victimless “crime” that neither harms, nor poses any danger, to anyone else, isn’t a crime at all, and we need to stop naming it as such.

    Wanna talk about crime? Let’s talk about forced ‘upgrades’ to Windows 10, in defiance of people’s express wishes. These caused financial harm to many, and came close in at least one case to causing actual bodily harm or death. That’s pretty obviously ‘wrong’ behaviour. Where’s the jail time for their c-level wonks? Nadella and crew should get life sentences for that! OTOH, Lungren should be awarded costs and damages, not to mention a very public apology from Microsoft’s pet DA. Now THAT would constitute justice.

    1. [rant] Shakespeare said it first: “First, kill all the lawyers”. Even taken out of context, it makes sense.
      Most, (if not all) civil and other laws, city, county, state, and federal regulations, are based upon “Slippery Slope Logic”.
      First year college debate class clearly indicates this type of debate/premise is false. Yet we allow the “Powers that Be” to continue this attack on our freedoms. [/rant]

      Yore mileage will vary..

      1. Technically, the origins of the software can be traced back to public domain work with not just Unix, C++, Assembly, Windows even. There is going to be some form of public investment directly from companies using or financially.

        Like say for instance AT&T going back to The Bell Telephone Company that was started on the basis of holding “potentially valuable patents”, principally Bell’s master telephone patent #174465. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_Telephone_Company
        There used to even be limits to capitalization and anti-monopoly laws enforced more.

        Interesting how the origins of Microsoft dates back to 86-DOS: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/86-DOS

        I also bet the companies are a profiteering public entity shell company especially where the move to Albuquerque, NM seems suspicious to me being that is where some of the most brilliant in Math, Physics, Chemistry, Electronics and Engineer convened for more than just the Manhattan Project, i.e. remote sensing, synthetic telepathy and other highly technical operations where computer programming and processing was required to process the inputs for the desired outputs.

        Why not use psychic warfare in the civilian world to fund more civil ways and means to mass process data and way more than Stazi document everything about everyone instead of extremely greedy like loses trillions of dollars DOD operations that can be way more deadly:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_B._Alexander
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Stubblebine

        The internet even… i.e. DARPA or ARPA net. Even the bankrupt companies that most likely fraudulently and unfairly defrauded investors and maybe even stakeholders… used public domain currency that was derived from the U.S. Federal Reserve and potentially earlier U.S. Treasury financial instruments.

        Again, I don’t think this was an issue with Microsoft… I’m not sure about Dell. I think this is another one of those U.S. government law enforcement and attorney racket issues that in the long run might not help Microsoft or Dell of which I think the founders at least meant well in their intent since to me the devices are a useful article with a utility that does somewhat fall under a job aid for healthcare so may fit as more a survival requirement in some cases in regards to data mining for more complex memory associations for our safety also. Still, these are inventions that having a express explicit copyright for longer than the 30 years our forefathers came up with as a duration… is mentally ill and profiteering in an economic warfare way IMHO.

  29. 28,000 is 560 per state. If 60 of each states’ ends up in.another territory that’s still 500 per state. What was his game? If over 10 years “repairing” computers that’s 2500 repairs per year. Something just doesn’t add up. He was stupid &/or ballsy and dumb we will consider, later. If 2800, I might buy a charitable story.

    MS preformed criminal theft and ran with it, to gain market share due to a bwtter product, and assumed they were too big to fail and were not overly surprised to have to pay back-royalties.

    I want yo say that we should somewhat boycott MS or the Gov’t… but something was fishy with 28,000.

  30. Simply put, Microsoft decided to make an example of this man, to send a strong warning to anyone else keeping old hardware running. Their bottom line depends on forcing you into buying new machines. Yes, he violated the license, but remember, moneyed special interests (Microsoft, Apple, etc.), the kind Jefferson warned us about, bought and paid for these laws as written. There’s a big difference between “legal” and “moral”; the law today seldom has anything to do with right and wrong. This is why every computer in our house is running Linux, have been since 2000. I may try Qubes on my next build. If we want these sorts of practices to stop, then we must all stop paying the salaries of those engaging in them. In the words of radio host John B. Wells, if you want something to go away, then stop buying it. Many of you typed out your protest on your brand new Windows PC. Think about that for a minute.

  31. Difficult to believe this topic is still snagging replies.
    Micro$oft just revised their business plan to require an annual payment for windows, not unlike M$ Office 365.
    At this point, I heard it’s “Only” for business, but how long until the great unwashed masses are subject to this “TAX”.
    It’s time to switch to the “Grey Market” Linux distro. Perhaps I could ™ that name.

    Now, my thoughts: OEM products have been “Improved” until they are “Fast Enough” and “Reliable Enough” to last quite a while. So, the next step, prevent recycling of computers. The best way to do that, force upgrades by making hardware fail by deleting the correct drivers. This requires a conspiracy with hardware OEMs.

    Window$ 10 deleted the DVD player software, requiring a $15.00 fee to download it.

    Intel has “Renamed” CPUs with newer titles. The Intel i7 CPU has been released in 2 cores, (Core 2 Duo?)
    4 cores, (Core 2 Duo Extreme?) and more.The famous Intel Quad Core i5, (Core 2 Duo?) is faster that the i7 in most laptops. Excessive heat is the issue. I see abandoned “Business Class” towers in the surplus market for pennies on the dollar. The same for laptops.
    If you follow Bill Gate$ blog, he is being hammered by scammers that want to skim a bit of his billions. Fun stuff.

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