An e-waste recycler by the name Eric Lundgren has landed up on the wrong side of the law for creating copies of Microsoft’s restore software and selling them to repair shops. As a consequence, a federal appeals court has handed Lundgren a 15-month jail term along with another $50,000 as fine.
However, what makes the ruling rather strange is that the software that Lundgren is charged of making thousands of copies are distributed free by Microsoft. Lundgren also argued his motive was to let users have easy access to the software so that users can hold on to their devices for longer, thereby reducing e-waste.
Microsoft, however, would have none of it and claimed each of the 28,000 disks that Lundgren made are worth $25 each. The court too accepted Microsoft’s charges and stated Lundgren’s activities – infringement of Microsoft software and products – led to the software major losing about $700,000.
The Redmond giant also justified its actions claiming the e-cycler had bought counterfeit software and planned to sell them off to other recyclers as the real stuff. As a result, anyone who bought these and tried installing them on old devices exposed them to the risks of malware attacks and other forms of cyber-attacks.
Microsoft also said their pressing charges against Lundgren do not undermine their commitment to safe disposal or transformation of e-waste. The company also said they have been actively involved with e-waste disposal and processing since 2006 and has helped recycle 11 million kilos of e-waste since.
Interestingly, Lundgren pleaded guilty to a different crime altogether, that of making copies of software using the Dell brand name. He also argued the core charges levied against him, that the software, in reality, is counterfeit is entirely baseless.
While the above might be true, Microsoft’s concerns, that of chances of malware attacks using the said software can’t be ruled out entirely. While all of this makes the case all the more complex, Lundgren might have no other option but to spend 15 months behind bars, while also coughing out $50,000 as fine.