Header Data

From: hughes@ah.com (Eric Hughes)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 401910afdf7d71a7540f694a8e355061f7b1196d53a4f4557acc4d9dfb0b4281
Message ID: <9407270358.AA06874@ah.com>
Reply To: <Pine.3.89.9407262206.A5701-0100000@vorlon.mankato.msus.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1994-07-27 04:19:36 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 26 Jul 94 21:19:36 PDT

Raw message

From: hughes@ah.com (Eric Hughes)
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 94 21:19:36 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
In-Reply-To: <Pine.3.89.9407262206.A5701-0100000@vorlon.mankato.msus.edu>
Message-ID: <9407270358.AA06874@ah.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

   What if the passphrase was something like "I do not pay income taxes"?
   (half-joking, half-serious)

Since this comes up frequently, I'll comment.

When, under oath, you utter the words "I do not pay income taxes", you
are less abbreviatedly say "I testify under oath that I do not pay
income taxes".

When, under oath, you tell the judge that the passphrase is "I do not
pay income taxes", the less abbreviated version is "I testify under
oath that the passphrase is 'I do not pay income taxes'."

The second statement is not testimony that you do not pay income

This distinction between the performative and the descriptive was used
by one of the video game companies to try to prevent compatible
cartridges from being manufactured.  Part of the protocol required
that the cartridge send back the string "(c) Slimy Video Games, Inc.".
The company then argued an unfair trade practice, claiming that a
compatible cartridge written by another party was asserting a false
designation of origin.

In fact, the sending of the string as part of the protocol is a merely
syntactic use of these characters for purposes of interoperation.  In
the same way that the meaning of a passphrase is immaterial as a
passphrase, so the transmission of the (c) copyright sign is not a
claim of copyright nor a designation of origin.