Guy Jailed for Helping People Fix Their Microsoft Computers

Microsoft computers are trashed all the time because people don’t understand how to fix them, and now we know that you can go to prison for fixing them!

This story shows how our legal system is owned by corporations like Microsoft.

Eric Lundgren is an electronics recycler. He noticed that lots of people throw away perfectly good Microsoft computers because they don’t know how to re-install the operating system which they have a license to use. The software can be downloaded for free. So he downloaded it and made reinstallation disks.

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And now he’s going to jail for fifteen months for “software piracy.” Microsoft is happy that people are trashing their computers and doesn’t want anyone to stop them.

Furthermore, the powers-that-be in the court system threatened to be extra hard on Lundgren if he spoke to the media!

The Los Angeles Times reports, “Electronics-recycling innovator is going to prison for trying to extend computers’ lives.

Glenn Weadock, a former expert witness for the government in its antitrust case against Microsoft, was asked: “In your opinion, without a code, either product key or COA [certificate of authenticity], what is the value of these reinstallation discs?”

“Zero or near zero,” Weadock said.


Still, Hurley decided that Lundgren’s 28,000 restore discs had a value of $700,000, and that dollar amount qualified Lundgren for a 15-month term, along with a $50,000 fine. The judge said he disregarded Weadock’s testimony. “I don’t think anybody in that courtroom understood what a restore disc was,” Lundgren said.

A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit deferred to Hurley in his judgment that Weadock was not credible, and that “while experts on both sides may have identified differences in functionality in the discs, [Hurley] did not clearly err in finding them substantially equivalent.”


“I got in the way of their agenda,” Lundgren said, “this profit model that’s way more profitable than I could ever be.”

Lundgren said he wasn’t sure when he would be surrendering. He said prosecutors in Miami told him he could have a couple of weeks to put his financial affairs in order, including plans for his company of more than 100 employees. “But I was told if I got loud in the media, they’d come pick me up,” Lundgren said. “If you want to take my liberty, I’m going to get loud.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami declined to comment Monday.

“I am going to prison, and I’ve accepted it,” Lundgren said Monday. “What I’m not OK with is people not understanding why I’m going to prison. Hopefully my story can shine some light on the e-waste epidemic we have in the United States, how wasteful we are. At what point do people stand up and say something? I didn’t say something, I just did it.”

There was one quotation from the judge that took my breath away:

“This is a difficult sentencing,” U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley told him last year, “because I credit everything you are telling me. You are a very remarkable person.”

It reminded me of the great writer Albert Jay Nock and his story of his intellectual discovery about how government works:

Once, I remember, I ran across the case of a boy who had been sentenced to prison, a poor, scared little brat, who had intended something no worse than mischief, and it turned out to be a crime. The judge said he disliked to sentence the lad; it seemed the wrong thing to do; but the law left him no option. I was struck by this. The judge, then, was doing something as an official that he would not dream of doing as a man; and he could do it without any sense of responsibility, or discomfort, simply because he was acting as an official and not as a man. On this principle of action, it seemed to me that one could commit almost any kind of crime without getting into trouble with one’s conscience.

Clearly, a great crime had been committed against this boy; yet nobody who had had a hand in it – the judge, the jury, the prosecutor, the complaining witness, the policemen and jailers – felt any responsibility about it, because they were not acting as men, but as officials. Clearly, too, the public did not regard them as criminals, but rather as upright and conscientious men.

The idea came to me then, vaguely but unmistakably, that if the primary intention of government was not to abolish crime but merely to monopolize crime, no better device could be found for doing it than the inculcation of precisely this frame of mind in the officials and in the public; for the effect of this was to exempt both from any allegiance to those sanctions of humanity or decency which anyone of either class, acting as an individual, would have felt himself bound to respect – nay, would have wished to respect.

Read the full L.A. Times story.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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