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Chapter 31 Raid

Because she was an official reporter, the Internet version of USA Today would contain her byline with her stamp on it. Since late 1990s, it was possible to create Hyperspace stamps. The daily edition of USA Today had a "readright" stamp on it. This stamp was issued by the U.S. Government and cost USA Today $500 to put it on an edition. It guaranteed that only those people with "reading rights" to USA Today, could read it. If a person misrepresented himself, who he was, then he was in violation of the law, and would be guilty of theft. Hyperspace stamps were used for many purposes. A Government 'minted' read right stamp was just one stamp. In fact it was not the only one. The same internal treaty of the United Nations that had guaranteed unique phone numbers in the late 1980s had been used to guarantee unique 'stamps.' These had names that, like a phone numbers, were guaranteed unique throughout the world, and they usually had a pretty icon.

There were less expensive "read right" stamps, that usually meant that the offense was civil. Furthermore, there were more expensive "read right" stamps. In fact there was one, that cost $5,000, that imposed stiff penalties against anyone unauthorized to read and against any agent that permitted the content to be transmitted in an unprotected fashion.

USA Today also had stamps that indicated that Gannett automatically conferred free use for schools as long as they did not remove any of the stamps. Wendy's stamp was one that she 'minted' herself. It wasn't her signature, but it was her unique declaration that this was her material. She had registered the stamp with the U.S. Copyright office. This meant that no one else could use the stamp legally, and no one could remove it legally. The stamp would 'stick' to the text of the article for all time. If she ever found it was removed, she could take the offender to her local judge. He could assess damages and have her paid. The standard penalty was $1000. That wasn't very much money, but the judgement would be swift and sure. Unbeknownst to people outside the U.S. Copyright office, it was Metafire software that made the copies of the copyright office records that in turn established, authoritatively, the date of first copyright.

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