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Activist goes to jail for fighting programmed computer obsolescence

Activist goes to jail for fighting programmed computer obsolescence

For extending the useful life of computers and fighting programmed obsolescence, activist and inventor Eric Lindgren was sentenced to jail for being an illegal activity.

The term "planned obsolescence" refers to the way in which many electronic devices are designed or programmed to be disposed of early, when they could well be used longer. Scheduled obsolescence is the useful life that a factory or company gives to a product, when this period of useful life passes the product will become obsolete, useless.

The reasons why this occurs range from issues in manufacturing that could be avoided to irrelevant details in functionality, or the samemarketing that makes users look to buy new appliances when the ones they have are still working perfectly.

The product must be designed to convince the customer that it is of quality, even though the time required to replace it is shorter than the actual time of its useful life. In this way, when the product fails, the customer will have to buy another, usually the updated version.

This behavior is unethical. Therefore, against this disastrous trend, which also produces a huge amount of electronic waste, which is usually the most toxic in the world - due to the use of rare metals ingadgets- Entrepreneur Eric Lundgren created a business using e-waste to extend the life of other electronics. Lundgren gained fame by building a car out of electronic waste, which out-tested a Tesla car.

Eric Lundgren, 33, was sentenced to 15 months in jail by a Miami court for infringing Microsoft's rights by creating "restore discs" to extend the life of computers. Lundgren had argued that these discs were worthless, but the court found their value to be $ 25 each, a total of about $ 700,000. (as valued by Microsoft), even though they could be downloaded for free and could only be used on computers that were already licensed by Microsoft.

Restore CDs help users restore Windows to computers if the installation is corrupt, and require users to have a previously purchased use license. Generally, users throw them away or lose them. However, the same discs can be downloaded to a computer in a process that, although not too complicated, many users do not feel capable of doing. Lundgren noticed that, in many cases, people were throwing away their old computers and buying new ones instead of restoring Windows, so he decided to manufacture these disks that could be shipped to computer stores for 25 cents. With this, according to Lundgren, electronic waste could be reduced.

Lundgren made and shipped 28,000 of the records to a broker in Florida. His plan was to sell them to computer restoration stores for about 25 cents each, so that technicians could provide them to buyers of used computers without having to take the time to create them themselves. In turn, the new user could use each disk to maintain their computer the next time a problem occurred. However, this did not go as expected, as the US authorities seized the shipment. When a broker named Robert Wolff offered him $ 3,400 for the records, they were both arrested for trafficking counterfeit goods and copyright infringement.

There is some consensus that what Lundgren did was illegal. However, the same judge noted, during the trial for the case, that the sentence was difficult, as he was aware that Lundgren's intention was to avoid electronic waste, and not do business.

"This is a tough sentence," Daniel T.K. told him in 2017. Hurley, United States District Judge, “because I give credit to everything you tell me. He is a very remarkable person ”.

"I'm going to jail; I've accepted it, ”Lundgren said. “But I don't like that people don't understand why I'm going to prison. Hopefully, what has happened to me can shed some light on the e-waste epidemic we have in America, how wasteful we are… When is it okay for people to stand up and say something? I didn't say something about it, I just acted. "

With information from:

Video: MSc Course on Internet Technologies and Regulation: Digital Copyright 4 (October 2020).