https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16924587 - 87 points/6 days ago/11 comments
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16921634 - 390 points/6 days ago/262 comments
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16940722 - 72 points/4 days ago/22 comments
Whenever I bring up the abusive legal behaviour of these big companies or how inherently flawed IP laws are, people either shrug it off or treat me as if I was wearing a tinfoil-hat.
If you want Microsoft's take on this, they responded on their blog after the negative press:
It very much reminds me of the Aarton Swartz case (whose life was destroyed by Carmen Ortiz).
Anyway, the article is light on details.
He went out of his way to create discs that would fool customers. He went out of his way to evade customs inspections, because he knew customs would seize the discs. He sold some of the discs for $3, some for $4, and some for $30-$40. He spent $80,000 creating the discs, and you don't do that for something that has no value.
I don't think he should be in prison for this, but it's clearly criminal behaviour.
In any case, jail time is the issue. If a large corporation was doing this, there would be a fine and no jail time.
Oh yeah, here we go:
Frank X. Shaw "Corporate Vice President, Communications, Microsoft" seems incompetent. This stance (not fully disavowing) is hurting his company much more than helping it. Aaron Swartz committed suicide. It's not a far stretch to think that this could happen here. Would that really help Microsoft?
But why did he print them with Dell labels?
The courts found that MS sell these discs for $25. They mulitplied that by the number of discs he sold. They did it that way, rather than using the price he sold them at, because he had done such a good job of forging them and the law then uses the value or the infringed, not infringing, item.
(I don't think he should be in prison for this).
But I really don't get why Microsoft didn't get that his business is about waste reduction, and cut him slack. And indeed, why Microsoft didn't just grant him a license for them. Or even, donate thousands of genuine restore disks to his business. It would have cost them virtually nothing. Almost certainly, less than they're paying PR flacks to explain it all away.
I guess because he cares about encouraging reuse?
> The courts found that MS sell these discs for $25.
But according to the article, those $25 CDs come with licenses. And his didn't.
> McGloin also testified about “certificate[s] of authenticity” (DE:145:45). A certificate of authenticity, or a “COA,” is a paper-based label that “contains security features, much like a bank note or [a] passport that is adhered to [stuck to] a device” (DE:145:45). During the conspiracy period, COAs typically contained a “product
key” that could be used to activate the Microsoft OS software and verify the authenticity of the software license (DE:145:47). Importantly, however, an end user who purchased a computer with pre-loaded Microsoft OS software would not need the product key to activate the software (DE:145:47-48). This is because Microsoft allows devices sold by large OEMs like Dell to “bypass activation,”which means that an end user can start operating the computer without having to enter a product key (DE:145:48 (“COURT: So, if somebody bought a Dell laptop, and got it home, they plug it in and operate it? McGLOIN: Yes. COURT: And the end user does nothing else?McGLOIN: Correct. It gives the end user a nice experience, it works. THE COURT: It works.”)).
> What this creates, McGloin noted, is something called an “unconsumed” product key—i.e., a product key that goes unused, so to speak, because an end user never has had to enter it into the system, and hence Microsoft has not registered the use of that key as an “activation event” (DE:145:50-54). This “unconsumed” product key exists in “around 98 percent” of cases, McGloin testified, where the software was pre-installed by the OEM; there has not been a hardware failure; the end-user has not had to enter the product key; and Microsoft has not registered the use of that product key as an activation event (DE:145:50-54). In light of the vast number of unconsumed product keys,it is “very common,”McGloin explained, for computer refurbishers unlawfully to remove COAs with unconsumed product keys from one device and stick them on another device as away to grant a Microsoft software license impermissibly to an otherwise unlicensed device (DE:145:51). Indeed, there “is quite a large market for obtaining product keys from other devices and reselling them through a particular market, on Ebay or other means,” because they “[can] be used . . . in the refurbished market as a genuine license” (DE:145:81-82). And, as relevant here, these unconsumed product keys canbe used unlawfully to activate and use pirated versions of Microsoft OS Software like the Microsoft OS software contained on Lundgren’s counterfeit Reinstallation Disc
I don't trust the court documents, in any case. Because it's based on opinions of biased experts.
Edit: See the top comments at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16921634 The court clearly didn't understand that he was providing restore disks, which would not work unless the user already had a license key.
Perhaps you are confusing him with the official from Microsoft who testified that the discs were equivalent to the 25USD discs sold by Microsoft.
Yeah, Microsoft "changed so much for the better".