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

On Thu, Jan 09, 2003 at 11:29:03AM -0700, John Zulauf wrote:
> You are making good and valuable use of the software, a right not
> granted without the authorization of the copyright holder.

Yes, however, I would would argue that, "making good and valuable use"
should not be a right the copyright holder has a right to restrict, when the
copy of the work in question has been legitimately obtained.

> They haven't
> sent you (without circumvention) sufficient information to use
> TurboTax.

Nor have you agreed to not generate that missing information yourself. They
may not have envisioned that possibility when they sent you the disk.
However, I do not believe the law should protect ill-conceived busniess

How about another example. If you were sent an unsolicited dead-tree copy of
a book that had a padlock on it. Would you say it should be illegal for you
to remove that lock using whatever means you see fit, when the copyright
holder is offering to send you the key for a fee?

If the answer is no, then why should it be different for information stored
on more modern media?

> You are extracting the a right to use without payment to the
> rights holder.  Circumvention changes the disk from a coaster to a
> useful valuable product,

I would disagree that it was a coaster beforehand. Similarly I wouldn't call
a padlocked book a doorstop.

> and a replacement good for any full version of
> the software.  This is right to license is the "good or service" of the
> software company, and circumventing (prior to first sale) infringes this
> right.

As was mentioned previously there hasn't been a "sale", but there has been a
"transfer of ownership" in the form of a gift.

> Can we agree that the TurboTax keyware disk mailed to Richard is not the
> complete product as-is?  One must add authorization "sauce" (true or
> forged) to make it so.

I would disagree with the use of the term "forged" in this case. Using the
"missing component" analogy, why should it be illegal to make that component
yourself? Also obtaining a valid key from another source is not the only way
to make the software work. It would also be possible to remove the code that
asks for it in the first place.

> P.S. I am half in DA mode.  I truly believe the ethical side of the
> argument, but I'm using the  arguments of the software industry on the
> legal side.

On the ethical side, I would say that if it were determined that the
business model used by TurboTax were the only way that certain works of
immense usefulness could be produced, then it may be benificial to have
certain laws that protect the business model in those cases. However, I
can't think of any products for which that would be the case.

In all other cases I would say that the citizens' freedom to do as they
please with their property outweighs the benefit of the works that are
not created because of it, and that it most certainly outweighs the right of
businesses to profit from these business models.


"No dictator, no invader, can hold an imprisoned population by force of
arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for
freedom. Against that power, governments and tyrants and armies cannot
stand." (Ambassador G'Kar, Babylon 5)