From Sat Feb 17 15:00:22 2001
From:	Declan McCullagh 
Subject: FC: Disposal fees for unsolicited ads on new computers, by Steve Mann
Mime-Version: 1.0
X-Author: Declan McCullagh is at


Subject: disposal fees for unsolicited advertising on new computers
From: Steve Mann 
Date: 	Sat, 17 Feb 2001 03:52:07 -0500

 > (3) She also sent a "Microsoft Word" document as an attachment.
 > Reading such documents requires proprietary software that the reader
 > must pay Bill Gates for.  The reason we have communication standards
 > (like the Internet RFC 822 that defines the format of email messages)
 > is so that one vendor can't lock us in and require us to pay them in
 > order to communicate with others.  If Rep. Eshoo isn't a believer in
 > monopoly, she should communicate in public standards rather than
 > proprietary formats.

On a related topic, I find it objectionable that my new computers have
been vandalized with various stickers and unsolicited markings inside
and out.  Perhaps this viewpoint would be of interest to your email list.

Here is a letter I addressed to an email address at the site of one
of these unsolicited markings on the outside of my new computer, together
with their well-thought-out reply:

From:	Steve Mann 
Subject: Vandalism of informatic property (unsolocited advertising+virus)
Date:	Fri, 16 Feb 2001 06:16:29 -0500

Recently I purchased four new computers, and I requested that they be
shipped with no operating system, because we develop our own software
in my lab, and we have a policy against using Closed Source software or
operating systems.  Therefore, we would expect blank hard drives.

However, all four of my new computers appear to have been contaminated
with informatic detritus of some kind, which appears to include
an unsolicited advertisement.  In particular the word "Windows",
which appears to be a trademark of your corporation, appears on each
of my computers when booted.

Presently, we are posting a copy of this waste material to our main WWW
server to seek advice from the computer science community as a whole,
on how best to dispose of it, as well as advice on what fee would be
reasonable for us to charge for its disposal.

We are also seeking advice from the community, and hoping that other
scientists can analyze these waste products to confirm their origin,
as well as give us advice on how best to decontaminate our systems,
and to obtain three independent quotations for having this unwanted
material verifiably removed from our computers.

Since the hard drives in question are each approximately 40 gigabytes,
and the best way for us to make this waste matter available to other
scientists for analysis has been to "dd" the entire hard drive contents
to our WWW site, this requires considerable space on our main file
server that supports or WWW server.

Accordingly, we seek a storage fee for this waste matter, until such
time as we can collect sufficient opinions on how best to dispose of it,
and to ensure that it has not adversely affected any of our computers,
as well as how best to ensure that new computers we order in the future
are not similarly contaminated.

Any advice you can provide on the nature of this waste product would
be greatly appreciated, especially if it might expedite the analysis
so that we can free up the 160 gigabytes of space on our WWW server
that the samples occupy.

The unsolicited message displayed on the screens seem to partly match
a sticker that was found on the side of each computer reading "Windows
2000 Professional 1-2 CPU Certificiate of Authenticity".

It might seem, therefore, that your corporation would be the
corporation responsible for contamination of my computers with
this waste product, virus, or unsolicited advertising material.

Please advise if your company can assume blame for this deliberate
vandalism of my new computer, or if this was an accidental act and
merely a result of negligence on the part of your company.

I would welcome your comments on what fee you feel might be
reasonable fee for disposing of this material, and how long we should
need to keep it publically available on our WWW server for reasonable

I am sending to this email address because this is the address that
I find from visiting the WWW site that appears on the unsolicited
stickers attached to the outsides of my new computers.

I will also be scanning the surfaces of my computers and posting copies
of these stickers to the WWW in order to obtain a quote for having
them removed from the outsides of my computers and having the housings

If you can advise on a removal process for these unsolicited
advertising stickers, or what you feel you might be willing
to pay as a reasonable fee for their removal, please advise.

Dr. S. Mann
284 Bloor St. W., Suite 701,
Toronto, Ontario,
M5S 3B8

 >From Fri Feb 16 06:18:11 2001
Received: from ([]:2640 "HELO") by with SMTP id 
; Fri, 16 Feb 2001 06:17:54 -0500
Received: from by (InterScan E-Mail 
VirusWall NT); Fri, 16 Feb 2001 03:16:18 -0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
Received: by with Internet Mail 
Service (5.5.2653.19)
	id ; Fri, 16 Feb 2001 03:17:46 -0800
From:	Canadian Anti-Piracy Hotline 
To:	Steve Mann 
Subject: RE: Vandalism of informatic property (unsolocited advertising+vir
X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2653.19)
Date:	Fri, 16 Feb 2001 06:17:54 -0500
X-Orcpt: rfc822;
Status: OR

Thank you for contacting the Microsoft Anti-Piracy Team.  Microsoft devotes
substantial time and energy toward fighting software piracy and we
appreciate your interest in our initiatives.

If the nature of your email involved a question or a request for additional
information on software piracy, a member of our Anti-Piracy Team will
respond as soon as possible.

If the nature of your email involved the possible unauthorized copying
and/or distribution of Microsoft software, please be assured we will
investigate further the matter you reported and will take the appropriate
action.  Due to the sensitive legal nature of these matters, we cannot
provide updates on the status of our investigations.

You may visit us at to review
additional information on recognizing genuine Microsoft product, Microsoft's
licensing policies and current news about Microsoft's anti-piracy

Further information about anti-piracy can be obtained from the Canadian
Alliance Against Software Theft at

Thank you for supporting the fight against software theft.

Microsoft Corporation
International Law & Corporate Affairs
Anti-Piracy Team

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From Sat Feb 17 20:27:35 2001
From:	TragicboB 
Subject: Quotation for removal of stickers
Mime-Version: 1.0

Dear Professor Mann,

I am a subscriber to the Politechbot mailing list, and read with great 
interest your predicament with the 4 (four) new computers you recently 

While I may not be an expert at analyzing hard disk drives in order to 
assist you in the removal of the waste material contained thereon, I have 
had considerable experience during my 45 years on this Earth in removing 
stickers and cleaning the residual adhesive they leave when removed from a 

Based upon your description of the stickers in your email to the 
Politechbot mailing list, I believe that I am familiar with them.  I 
further believe that I am qualified to remove said stickers and clean any 
remaining adhesive from the computer housings.

Please evaluate my quotation for removal of stickers presented below, and 
reply as to whether you desire to engage my services.

Thank you very much for you kind consideration.


Q U O T A T I O N   F O R   R E M O V A L   O F   S T I C K E R S

Qty.  Description                              Price   Ext. Price
  4    Examine stickers to determine optimal   $ 150.00   $ 600.00
       removal strategy
  4    Remove stickers using method determined $ 500.00   $2000.00
       as optimal
  4    Examine adhesive residue to determine   $ 150.00   $ 600.00
       optimal removal strategy
  4    Remove adhesive residue using method    $ 500.00   $2000.00
       determined as optimal
  1    Travel charge from Detroit, Michigan    $3500.00   $3500.00
       to Toronto, Ontario, round trip                    --------
                                            Grand Total   $8700.00

All prices quoted are in United States dollars.  Due to the nature of the 
current formulations of adhesives, I cannot guarantee that all residue can 
be successfully removed without damage to the finish of the computer 
housings.  In the event that the housings do not meet with your approval 
after the adhesive has been removed, I will arrange for each of the 
housings to be professionally refinished to a "like new" condition for a 
fee that will not exceed $2000.00 (United States Dollars) per housing 

All work shall be performed with due diligence, and your satisfaction is 

Thank you for the opportunity to provide this quotation for my services.