Microsoft responds to e-waste recycler’s jail sentence: ‘he was counterfeiting Windows software’

In response to stories about the 15-month jail sentence given to Eric Lundgren, Microsoft has written a raucous blog post that details his perspective on the case. The publication, entitled "The facts about a recent case of falsification filed by the US government", consists of several statements taken from the case itself, the evidence sent by email and the opinion of Microsoft.

Microsoft's corporate vice president of communication, Frank Shaw, begins by once again affirming Microsoft's support for restoration and recycling. But the main objective of the publication is to reaffirm the findings of the court. After noting that it was the US government. UU., Not Microsoft, who filed the case, Shaw notes that Lundgren pleaded guilty. He also argues that Lundgren's emails contain strong evidence that, in fact, he intended to benefit from Windows forgery.

Included in the publication are several emails detailing how Lundgren not only provided software discs, but made "great efforts" to make those discs appear to be made by Microsoft or Dell.

Earlier today, we published an interview with Lundgren, which details his side of the story. Although he pleaded guilty, he blames Microsoft for his time in jail. He feels that this is more about protecting the benefits obtained from the sale of Windows to the reconditioners than the concerns about counterfeiting or piracy.

Microsoft obviously does not agree. Shaw concludes this post as follows:

Mr. Lundgren's plan was simple. I was falsifying the Windows software in China and I was importing it to the United States. Mr. Lundgren intended that the software be sold to the reconditioning community as if it were a legitimate copy and licensed by Windows. Was not. The evidence in the case shows that Mr. Lundgren used his knowledge of the PC recycling community to defraud the same community that claimed to be a champion and evade the law. If you simply wanted to help this community, why did you create a complete counterfeit production operation in China to make the CD look legitimate? And why did he charge for his counterfeit product and try to make a profit at the expense of the community he was apparently trying to help?

One of the central issues of the case was the value of the software that Lundgren was trying to distribute. Lundgren and an expert witness contend that the value was essentially zero. This is because, they argue, the actual value of the software should have been in the license to use the software, not in the restoration software itself, which can be downloaded for free from Microsoft itself website.

This is how Lundgren characterized the problem:

He was being compared to a new license. You do not get a license with the restoration CD. The government treated the infringed article as if it were a licensed product, the license itself, what Microsoft sells, and it is not. … I got in the way of Microsoft's multi-million dollar business model of charging people for computers that already have an operating system.

Although Microsoft's response does not directly address the distinction between restoration software and the license to use it, it seems that the company maintains that the distinction is misleading. Shaw writes:

When a reconditioner installs a new version of Windows on a reconditioned PC, we charge a discount fee of $ 25 for the software and a new license, it's not free. Thousands of restaurateurs participate legally in this program without confusion, and the program works.

Whether or not it is necessary for reconditioners to pay that $ 25 fee to Microsoft for a new license is still in dispute in the community at large, but that is the number on which the Lundgren prayer was based. Lundgren is resigned to serving his 15-month sentence. As he told The Verge : "I want to write a book in prison about trying to find joy".

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