1996-04-20 - Re: Bernstein ruling meets the virus law

Header Data

From: Computer Virus Help Desk <vhd@pobox.com>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 3218dc4b3413a200b78f95b8450d85bea05314369e5bd2192fff7e3646b7c327
Message ID: <>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1996-04-20 23:34:29 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 21 Apr 1996 07:34:29 +0800

Raw message

From: Computer Virus Help Desk <vhd@pobox.com>
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 1996 07:34:29 +0800
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: Bernstein ruling meets the virus law
Message-ID: <>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 09:08 PM 4/19/96 -0700, Tim May wrote:
>It should be interesting to see what happens when the Bernstein ruling
>(assuming it is further upheld as the court case and appeals proceed) meets
>the proposed law making the writing of virus code a crime.
>If crypto  software is essentially speech, albeit in a non-traditional
>human language, then virus software is no different.

To the best of our knowledge simply writing Virus Code including it's
"distribution" is not a crime in the United States.  However, the
deliberate, malicious upload or infection of another's computer or system is
a crime in many states. 

The writing and or distribution of Computer Viruses is a crime in some
European countries.

We don't see the "Bernstein" ruling as having an effect in the U.S. one way
or the other.  Virus Code seems to be treated just like "speech" right now.
Use "it" to yell "fire" in a crowded theater and see what happens.
Deliberately and maliciously infect another's computer or system with a
computer virus and see what happens.

What proposed law making writing virus code a crime were you referring to ?