Letters to the Editor

Inviolable Property


May 3, 1976

As chairman and toastmaster of the Homebrew Computer Club, it was my privilege to read Herb Grosch's column, "The Worm In The Apple," [CW, April 5], to the multitudes assembled.

The body was left in a stunned silence, however, at the suggestion that we little fish should set an example for Big Business and Big Government. Really, this is 1976.

The amateur computer folk are the first group of users (with the possible exception of educational users) who do not regard computer hardware and software as capital goods, intended for the purpose of making money. How many people have to pay a royalty to borrow a book from a library?

Grosch's implied characterization of the Homebrew as thieves and/or shady operators has not been borne out by investigation, according to a report given at the same meeting.

The "counter-culture attitude" which Herb denounced is a little more complex than his characterization that "private property is obsolete." The uses to which a segment of the state of the art is applied seem to have some bearing on their status as inviolable property.

Lee Felsenstein
Berkeley, Calif.

Copyright 1976