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

Isn't the so-called "stamp" a printed version of an authorization 
string? And isn't that authorization string obtained over the phone 
line? If so, I would think that the difference is that one would have to 
commit wire fraud to obtain a valid string. I suppose that one could 
guess the stamp number, and print it with any printer. That would be 
similar to generating a credit card number.


John Zulauf wrote:

>How does "charging" the postal meter differ from "authorizing" the
>installer to install TurboTax.  Aside from an authorization the postal
>meter is also "all there".  The ink is installed, the print programs
>installed, the print head functional, etc.
>In either case you are avoid payment to obtain a token of
>authorization.  In one case, the authority to print postage, in the
>other the authority to copy a functioning TurboTax.
>Richard Hartman wrote:
>>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
>>>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
>>>of endless, free postal service.  All he need do is tinker.
>>>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".