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Re: Security by Not Peeking

At 05:56 PM 1/9/00 -0800, Eric Cordian wrote:

>It's much like a book held shut with a small strip of masking tape, upon
>which is printed "By Removing This Tape And Opening This Book, Reader
>Agrees Not to Read Page 36."

But if you buy the book knowing the terms of the 
contract/license first, where's the coercion?  

And if no coercion, you *must* not interfere, no?

Sure, the contract may have foolish things in it,
but who forces you to sign the contract?

>If millions of such books were made available for free to anyone who
>wanted a copy, with no tracking whatsoever of who got their hands on them,
>it would be laughable for anyone to claim that such a trick created a
>legally enforceable contract, or that the public dissemination of the
>contents of "Page 36" could only have been based on some sort of illegal

You're confusing practical enforcement problems with the validity
of contracts.

Sure, its impossible to link a license-click to meat.
Sure, RE is not prohibitable in some places.
But it doesn't mean the contract is in principle bogus.  

>A contract is something signed by two parties which involves
>consideration.  "Please don't peek at my code" is not a contract. 

"Please" is not a contractual term.  "Purchase of a license
lets you execute, but not disassemble" is a well-formed
contractual clause.  Unenforcable, but that's not the issue.  

But it means that someone in Hollywood got
scammed ---told that the contract *prevents* RE, when
all it does is *prohibit* it. (But not by anonymous engineers in distant lands).  There's a big difference.  

>is "Opening the box constitutes your agreement not to peek at my code", or
>any number of equally silly variations.

Well, must the contract be signed in ink on treepulp?  

Shouldn't any Creator have the right to license his content
any way they see fit, to any party who agrees?  


My point is, the disassembler was not *demonstrably*
party to a non-RE contract.  So no moral problem.

And no legal problem: The disassembler was
in a place where RE cannot be made illegal, even if
the engineer *had* agreed to a contract.  (This is
of course statist intervention in private affairs, 
but this moral objection and $2.25 buys you a cuppa coffee.)

End of story.  The rest is the DVD-org's death spasms,
with various characters scurrying to figure out what happened,
or what to say to the mourning family, or who to blame.  

Hollywood got scammed.  That's the plot.  The rest is
just story development, with a little comic relief tossed
in by the DVD lawyers.

Jack the Ripper