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An idea Eric Lundgren had to prolong the life of personal computers could land him in prison. Prosecutors said the 33-year-old ripped off Microsoft Corp. by manufacturing 28,000 counterfeit discs with the company's Windows operating system on them. Lundgren does not deny that he made the discs or that he hoped to sell them. But he says this was no profit-making scheme. By his account, he just wanted to make it easier to extend the usefulness of secondhand computers — keeping more of them out of the trash. The case centers on "restore discs," which can be used only on computers that already have the licensed Windows software and can be downloaded free from the computer's manufacturer, in this case Dell. The discs are routinely provided to buyers of new computers to enable them to reinstall their operating systems if the computers' hardware fails or must be wiped clean. But they often are lost by the time used computers find their way to a refurbisher. While in China, Lundgren hit upon the idea of selling restore discs to computer refurbishers. The discs work if computers still have their license and product keys available, and the license transfers with the computer, no matter who owns it. In his view, the new owners were entitled to the software, and this just made it easier.
In 2013, federal authorities intercepted shipments of 28,000 restore discs that Lundgren had manufactured in China and sent to his sales partner in Florida. The discs had labels nearly identical to the discs provided by Dell for its computers and had the Windows and Dell logos. "If I had just written 'Eric's Restore Disc' on there, it would have been fine," Lundgren said.
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-=-=-=-=-=- Jayne Cravens Author, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
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