Microsoft Sues E-Waste Harvesters of Phoenix, Claims Firm Sold Pirated Software

Computing giant Microsoft is suing a Phoenix e-waste recycling firm in federal court, claiming that the company has been selling unauthorized copies of its software.

Phoenix’s E-Waste Harvesters and its principal, Earl Campbell, have repeatedly advertised and sold refurbished computers that contain pirated copies of XP, the aging Windows operating system, says a complaint filed in federal court last week.

Ironically, the company — featured in a 2010 Business Journal article — helps get rid of some of the untold tons of e-waste produced by Microsoft. E-Waste [Harvesters] says its goal is to help the environment by reducing the amount of toxic computer waste that goes into landfills.

But good intentions won’t pay Bill Gates’ bills.

E-Waste [Harvesters] was warned back in June by Microsoft that it shouldn’t sell computers with “infringing copies” of the computing giant’s software installed, the lawsuit says.

“Nevertheless, in or about September 2012, Defendants distributed to an investigator a computer system with an unauthorized copy of Windows XP installed,” the suit says. “This is not an isolated incident.”

E-Waste [Harvesters] has been “willfully blind” and reckless in ignoring copyrights, writes Microsoft’s Phoenix laywer, Rusty Crandall.

Microsoft is playing hardball: It’s asking a judge to place all of the profits E-Waste [Harvesters] allegedly made by selling computers with the unauthorized software into a trust, which will be analyzed in order to return the “illegal” profits to Microsoft. And the company wants triple damages.

A woman at E-Waste Harvesters who answered the phone said Campbell was not in, and that she knew nothing of the lawsuit. We’ll let you know if he calls back.

Source: Ray Stern, Phoenix New Times, Jan. 25, 2013

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