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[dupe] ‘E-waste’ activist gets 15 months in prison for selling Windows restore disks (polygon.com)
87 points by ilamont 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments

If you have contacts at Microsoft, please share this with them and ask them to overturn this terrible ruling.

Quote: Microsoft’s lawyer argued to the court that the sales of the disks “displaced Microsoft’s potential sales of genuine operating systems,” while ignoring the fact these disks were inoperable without an existing license paid for or granted by the company. An expert witness testified there was “zero or near zero” monetary value in any of the disks; they were useful mainly as a convenience to users or maintenance technicians.

The reason customs got involved is that he violated Microsoft and Dell trademarks by printing their logos on the disks. The reason he got jail time is that despite the disks getting seized by customs, they setup a sting to convinced him to sell the disks behind custom's back and he fell for it.

I appreciate his cause, but I think there is a much simpler solution: Have computer repair shops offer a DVD burning service. There is legal precedence for 3rd party services being able to legally make physical copies of digit files for consumers and charge for the service/materials.

15 months in prison, a $50k fine, and then 3 years of subsequent "supervised release" where this guy isn't allowed to be self-employed, smoke cannabis, and must submit to a search of his person on demand.

This is absolutely fucking crazy.

But seriously HN: what are we going to do about it? If this were you going down like this, what might you ask us to do?

What the hell is going on here? Doesn't Microsoft offer similar for free download from their own website? I seem to remember their media creation tool not prompting for a key until install time. Why on earth would they fight this?

There's another article on HN right now about it, one of the comments provides some insight:

  He was not providing people with restore media they could use to 
  fix their own machines. He was taking the restore media, burning 
  it onto discs _with official Microsoft and Dell logos on them 
  and then selling them to computer refurbishers who would then include them with PCs 
  they were selling.
If that's true then I think it provides some justification. It's at least infringing on trademarks.


This is Microsoft telling the public better not get clever with us or we'll get clever with throwing your aas in jail just to set an example for the next clever person. He was clever and got smashed like a bug by them.

Is the idea that Microsoft has a legal right to make it inconvenient or obscure enough to fix an existing licensed Windows installation, that people just don't bother and buy a new license?

So it would seem. From my experience with laptop "recovery" partitions, actually reinstalling windows on old hardware is a pretty iffy business, requiring a good deal of expertise. Easier to install Linux at that point.

I was just at Fry's electronics and right under the official Windows 10 copies (USB stick + license key, $105) were DVDs that said they were "Restore only" disks for Windows 10. It said plainly on the box that it didn't have a license key and you would need one. They were $12. They weren't made by Microsoft though (no genuine sticker, different packaging).

Seems like the same thing? I thought it seemed convenient for those who lost their media.

What a real shame. The punishment does not at all fit the crime.

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