Today, Eric Lundgren turned himself in to the Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution, where he will spend the next fifteen months isolated from society, the internet, and his business. His crime? Helping recyclers restore Windows onto Dell laptops.
California leads the world in environmental policy, and the state agency CalRecycle oversees the nation’s first and largest electronics recycling programs in the world. Fifteen years in, Howard Levenson, Deputy Director of CalRecycle announced that the program has diverted 2.2 billions of pounds of CRT glass and other hazardous electronics from landfills. The program is widely considered a model for sound electronics policy and is vaunted as the most successful program in the country.
And today, at a packed house in Sacramento, CalRecycle released a report mapping out the future of electronics recycling in California. One of their major findings is that Right to Repair legislation is necessary to “provide incentives for repair and reuse of electronic devices, and facilitate collaboration between manufacturers and repair and reuse organizations.”
Earlier this month, our friend Eric Lundgren was sentenced to prison for duplicating OEM Dell restore CD’s. After losing his last appeal, Eric now faces 15 months in Federal prison and a hefty $50,000 fine. Eric argues that he was just trying to keep PC’s out of the landfill—and since Dell offers up those restore discs to freely download, he thought he was on the right side of the law.
Welp, he thought wrong.
So what role does Microsoft have in all of this? And why do they care so much about a restore disc? We took a trip to Eric’s recycling facility to hear his side of the story and find out.
Warranty Void if Removed stickers are everywhere. Turns out, those stickers are not only unenforceable—they’re illegal! Back in 1975, federal law was put in place to protect the rights of consumers. The law has been largely ignored—until now! Watch out manufacturers, we’ve got a license to tinker.
As Microsoft faces tough questions about how it handled the case of Eric Lundgren, facing 15 months in prison for duplicated restore discs, U.S. PIRG and iFixit noted the tough environment for repair and Microsoft’s role in other repair disputes, and called for Microsoft to come to the table to move repair forward.
With the powers of copyright law, the DMCA, and EULA’s combined, manufacturers are doing a bang-up job of killing the non-OEM repair industry. As more companies put digital locks over our gadgets, then—under the DMCA—they’ll be the only ones who can fix that stuff. They can sue anyone who tries to break up a repair monopoly, or anyone who’s shared their diagnostic codes. When you buy something, you should own it. You should have the right to repair it yourself.
Apple apologized for concealing the performance hit for older batteries, and they’re admitting that batteries are consumable. For a limited time, they’re offering some battery replacements for $29. Good on Apple for fixing their battery fiasco—but all we really need is the ability to fix our phones ourselves.
Greenpeace released its 19th Guide to Greener Electronics, a report that grades companies based on sustainability efforts. And, according to Greenpeace, most of the world’s renowned tech companies—including Samsung, Google, and Apple—have lots of room for improvement when it comes to greener tech.
Ever wonder how tech companies can make unrepairable, non-upgradeable, hard to recycle products—and still get away with calling themselves green? Because those same tech companies actually help write US standards for greener electronics, according to a new report from Repair.org.