#CBC: “This e-waste evangelist bought right into a battle involving Microsoft — and goes to jail for it ” #Toronto #Montreal #Calgary #Ottawa #Canada


Eric Lundgren lifts a cardboard field over his head and dumps out the contents. Hundreds of laptop discs cascade onto the ground of his warehouse on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

Lundgren, an e-waste evangelist, says the discs he is dumping on the ground had been meant to avoid wasting 1000’s of laptops from the landfill. Instead, they landed him in the midst of a courtroom combat involving a tech titan and, in the end, in jail after he pleaded responsible to conspiring to visitors in counterfeit items and prison copyright infringement.

“I fought this battle as long and as hard as I could,” Lundgren says. “But I’m fighting a giant. And … there’s no winning when you go up against Microsoft.”

Lundgren is a 33-year-old recycling entrepreneur. Every 12 months, the corporate he based, iT Asset Partners, buys about 19 million kilograms of outdated electronics and recycles them.

Lundgren’s firm buys about 19 million kilograms of outdated electronics yearly and recycles them. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

At one of many firm’s services in Chatsworth, about 40 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles, Lundgren strides down the warehouse aisles, pointing this fashion and that.

“These are all computer electronics here, these are servers over here, you have some television sets that are going to be dismantled,” Lungren says. “Every single part of these we’re going to save.”

On the disassembly line

On cabinets and inside packing containers, there are what appears to be like like bits and items of each discarded laptop that is ever been constructed. Just a little additional away, 5 males have shaped a disassembly line, the place they crack open outdated computer systems to salvage usable elements and extract worthwhile metallic.

“Most of the corporations want you to use a gadget or gizmo for one to two years and then toss it, throw it away,” Lundgren says. “I don’t believe in that.”

To make his level, he picks up a used Dell laptop computer.

“This is a perfectly good working laptop,” he says and factors to a sticker on its underside.

A sticker signifies this Dell laptop computer has a Microsoft licence. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

“It’s got a licence right there. As you can see, you’re allowed to reload Windows 7 on this device. Now this laptop — we’re going to be selling [for] $50. It doesn’t make sense to pay for a new licence.”

Lundgren’s battle centres round so-called “restore discs:” a CD given to laptop consumers containing software program to revive a Windows working system to its authentic state. Buyers also can obtain the software program immediately from Microsoft. Both are free, and crucially, the discs can solely be used on a pc that already has a sound Windows licence.

In 2011, Lundgren’s manufacturing facility in China made 28,000 restore CDs for use with outdated Dell laptops, every reprinted with the Dell and Microsoft logos on high of the discs.

Recycling ‘nugatory’ discs

He says he was going to promote the discs to laptop refurbishers for 25 cents every to permit consumers of a used laptop computer with a authorized Microsoft licence to repair their working system if it crashed as an alternative of throwing away the pc.

“I recycle millions of restore CDs because they’re worthless,” Lundgren says, as he continues to dump the discs onto his warehouse flooring. “But apparently the government thinks they’re worth something.”

Federal authorities intercepted the Dell restore discs in 2012 and valued them at $8.three million. They additionally raided his house.

Restore discs are given to laptop consumers containing software program to revive a Windows working system to its authentic state. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

“The first time I knew that there was any problem [was] when armed guys with guns and masks stormed my house,” Lundgren says. 

Federal prosecutors accused him of prison copyright infringement and Microsoft specialists testified in courtroom that the discs had been price $25 every. Lundgren pleaded responsible to conspiring to visitors in counterfeit items and prison copyright infringement, was fined $50,000 and sentenced to 15 months in jail. The sentence was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Miami final month. 

When contacted for remark, Microsoft declined an interview and pointed to a weblog publish on the corporate’s web site that acknowledged it was U.S. Customs and never Microsoft behind the case towards Lundgren, a person the corporate says “set up a large counterfeit operation in China and intended to profit from his actions.”

Microsoft stated Lundgren “failed to stop after being warned” and “went to great lengths to mislead people.”

His emails “submitted as evidence before the court make clear that Mr. Lundgren’s motivation was to sell counterfeit software to generate income for himself,” says the weblog publish written by Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s company vice-president of communications.

Lundgren says the courtroom ruling is a victory for giant firms that do all they will to influence customers to make use of devices for a 12 months or two after which toss them away.

“Refurbishers are going to start not refurbishing these low-end products, Lundgren says. “And if they do not … they are going to enter landfills.”

Off to jail

On June 15, he’ll head to a federal jail in Oregon. Ever the recycler, he finds a sure magnificence and performance even on this.

“Now I’ve become an e-waste martyr,” Lundgren says. “The beautiful thing about that is it’s going to bring awareness to the thing that I’ve been fighting for my entire life. But I need the world to stand up and say: ‘No, that’s not right. This is our product. We own this product and we have the right to do with it as we choose.’ ”

Lundgren opens one other field of restore CDs and begins to empty it, including to an already spectacular pile forming beneath his ft. Recently he purchased these CDs — 40,000 of them — from a laptop computer maker for lower than 5 cents every, as a dramatic and symbolic gesture of how little worth they maintain.

Lundgren says if low-end merchandise aren’t refurbished, they may find yourself in landfill websites. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

“Here’s the fun thing of what I’m doing with these: I’m sending every one of these to the judge one box at a time, saying:  ‘Here, have them for free.’ ”

It’s a message to the person who despatched him to jail, he says, for mainly nothing.

“Because they are physically worthless,” Lundgren says. “They’re basically plastic.”

He shakes the final of the 1000’s of restore CDs onto the ground and makes his method over the shifting pile again to agency floor.

Note: “Previously Published on: 2018-06-02 04:00:00, as ‘This e-waste evangelist bought right into a battle involving Microsoft — and goes to jail for it

‘ on CBC RADIO-CANADA. Here is a supply hyperlink for the Article’s Image(s) and Content”.

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