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

OK....before we get any further...I think there is a distinction to make:
postage...and stamps...and the mail system in general...is often covered 
by specific legislation in every country.
There are (for example) specific criminal code provisions in my 
jurisdiction for postal fraud. There is none for the use of TurboTax or 
specifically for the unsolicited distribution of coasters for turbotax 
or AOL or anyone else.
there are also often other pieces of legislation that govern postage 
directly and indirectly...like procument regs specifically prohibiting 
govt departments from pre-buying too much postage or telephone service. 
The agreement (if any ) between you and turbotax...is private. The 
agreement (if any) between you and some postal authority....is governed 
(as a minimum) by some enabling legislation or regs. that established 
the authority of that postal authority...to issue, control, print, 
etc....the postage.
sorry if this post is not clear enough. I have a deadline I should have 
been working on a month ago.... :-(

So when we start our analysis we have to:
a) determine *where* we are talking about....i.e. where you are subject 
to local jurisdiction
b) what laws (if any) apply
c) figger out....if the specific laws that apply are different from the 
generallly applicable law....cause...sometimes... you find legislation 
on the books that completely duplicates what you already know to be the 
law in general...its not so rare...chalk it up to politics...or some 
weird monday-morning case that was bad judgement they had to 'remind' 
everyone about...etc etc.

mickey wrote:

> 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.
> mickeym
> 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
>>> hartman@onetouch.com
>>> 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

Dan Steinberg

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