California man gets 15-months in jail, fined $50,000 for selling Windows Restore disks

Arif Bacchus

When your PC is not working like normal, a good way to get things going again is to reinstall Windows with a restore disk instead of just throwing it out. That’s the simple idea that one California man wanted to put together for a business but it instead landed him a $50,000 fine, and a 15-month jail sentence (via Polygon.)

Indeed, 33-year-old Eric Lundgren was convicted in federal court yesterday for infringing on Microsoft’s intellectual property. Lundgren allegedly ordered 28,000 of the Windows restore disks and had them shipped to Florida where he hoped to sell them to PC repair shops at the price of 25 cents each. He believed this would help the shops cut down on the proccess of downloading files and making restore disks themselves, but unfortunately, the order was caught by US customs agents in Florida first.

Despite the fact that experts in the case argued that restore disks have zero value and are useless without a valid Windows license, Lundgren still landed in big trouble with the law. Government officials valued the disks at $299 each and claimed they cost Microsoft $8.3 million total. Microsoft’s lawyers also stated that the disks “displaced Microsoft’s potential sales of genuine operating systems.”

Lundgren calls himself an “e-waste activist” and argued he was only making the disks available for individuals who already had Windows licenses. Though this point is somewhat valid the law still wins the case, which you can read in all of its glory right here.