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From: var at (Vincent Archer)
Subject: Hacking into private files, my credit card purchases, personal correspondence or anything that is mine is trespassing and criminal.

On Fri, Oct 08, 2004 at 11:41:49AM -0700, Jesse Valentin wrote:
> How about using a digital de-scrambler for cable service? You?re getting something you?re not paying for? isn?t that stealing? True, its not a vital service, but isn?t this still plain ?ol stealing?

It's not stealing. The cable company has lost nothing. Every single bit
it had, it still has. The only part you might remotely have stolen is
the amount of electrical power required to bring the bits to your home.

That's how, in ages now long gone, an acquaintance of mine got charged.
It was the early days of X25 networking, you had plenty of computers
unsecured connected to access points (login: root, password: root),
so they created a BBS on one such. The BBS took off, until the company
noticed. Unfortunately, they couldn't demonstrate any loss; the computer
was still there, no data was damaged, the callers used charged calls (i.e.
the company was not billed for X25 usage, the BBS callers were).

In the end, the original BBS creators were charged with "theft of energy",
i.e. raising the electrical consumption of the computer equipment due to
extra activity. It didn't stick, but that was the only theft that occured,
and there was no legislation on hacking to fall back on.

It's the same with the MPAA and the RIAA screaming about "thieves". They've
stopped doing so, it's trivial to show that nothing was stolen, and they
are not facing lost property, they're facing lost customers.

Descrambling is counterfeiting and copyright violation, but not thievery.

(IANAL, of course)
Vincent ARCHER

Tel : +33 (0)1 40 07 47 14
Fax : +33 (0)1 40 07 47 27
Deny All - 5, rue Scribe - 75009 Paris - France

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