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RE: [dvd-discuss] Postage Meters and the "Right to Tinker"

Aside from my previous comment there is another
difference.  The TurboTax situation is (arguably)
accessing material sent as a gift -- but the
material is all there.

You can access an _uncharged_ postage meter all
you want, but you won't get any postage out of
it.  Rigging it to fake a charge is theft (of
the price of postage from the U.S. Postal Service), 
not mere access.

-Richard M. Hartman

186,000 mi/sec: not just a good idea, it's the LAW!

> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Zulauf [mailto:johnzu@ia.nsc.com]
> Sent: Thursday, January 09, 2003 8:41 AM
> To: DVD Discuss
> Subject: [dvd-discuss] Postage Meters and the "Right to Tinker"
> Throughout the "TurboTax for free" discussion I've contended that the
> "right to tinker" ends at the impact on others.  Clearly none of us
> would claim a "right to tinker" which involved breaking into a nuclear
> reactor site and rewrite the control rod program to perform a 
> multiband
> frequency display for our collection of MP3's.
> The question is if someone sends you an unsolicited object, what right
> do you have to tinker with it?  What limits are on that right, both
> ethically and legally?
> <narrator voice="Rod Serling">
> Submitted for your approval... the humble postage meter.
>  http://makeashorterlink.com/?P48932CF
> This simple looking device has the ability to store and dispense
> valuable metered mail stamps, and can be recharge.  Delivered on the
> doorstop of our unwitting tinker without his request, is the 
> possibility
> of endless, free postal service.  All he need do is tinker.  
> Extracting
> his tinkers toolset from his pocket, he plug the device into his
> telephone jack and inspected the coded mysteries exchanged with
> "PostageByPhone" -- he finds the key and a moral quagmire 
> appears before
> his eyes.
> Only in "The Tinker Zone"
> </narrator cue="Tinker Zone Theme", fade=black>
> I'm looking for any argument that receiving an unsolicited 
> postage meter
> in the mail is materially different from that copy of TurboTax.  Both
> require a commercial transaction (or a hack) to derive value from the
> delivered good (other than as a doorstop or coaster 
> respectively).  The
> rights to control both the printing of metered mail stamps or working
> copies of TurboTax are both only defended by legal constructs -- both
> rooted in the constitution (Copyright Clause and the Post Office
> clause?).  Both ignore the long held mantra, "there is no security
> without physical security." 
> Can anyone argue that a "right to tinker" or a 1A right exists to hack
> the postage meter for free stamps?  Can anyone argue that one has an
> ethical right to crack the postage meter for free postage because the
> meter was mailed to them?
> The humble postage meter -- compare and contrast with "keyware".
> .002