hacker crackdown

Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier
by Bruce Sterling
Preface to the Electronic Release of *The Hacker
Chronology of the Hacker Crackdown
A Brief History of Telephony / Bell’s Golden Vaporware /
Universal Service / Wild Boys and Wire Women / The
Electronic Communities / The Ungentle Giant / The
Breakup / In Defense of the System / The Crash Post-
Mortem / Landslides in Cyberspace
Steal This Phone / Phreaking and Hacking / The View
;From Under the Floorboards / Boards: Core of the
Underground / Phile Phun / The Rake’s Progress /
Strongholds of the Elite / Sting Boards / Hot Potatoes /
War on the Legion / Terminus / Phile 9-1-1 / War Games
/ Real Cyberpunk
Crooked Boards / The World’s Biggest Hacker Bust /
Teach Them a Lesson / The U.S. Secret Service / The
Secret Service Battles the Boodlers / A Walk Downtown /
FCIC: The Cutting-Edge Mess / Cyberspace Rangers /
FLETC: Training the Hacker-Trackers
NuPrometheus + FBI = Grateful Dead / Whole Earth +
Computer Revolution = WELL / Phiber Runs
Underground and Acid Spikes the Well / The Trial of
Knight Lightning / Shadowhawk Plummets to Earth /
Kyrie in the Confessional / $79,499 / A Scholar
Investigates / Computers, Freedom, and Privacy
Electronic Afterword to *The Hacker Crackdown,*
New Years’ Day 1994
Preface to the Electronic Release of *The Hacker
January 1, 1994 — Austin, Texas
Hi, I’m Bruce Sterling, the author of this
electronic book.

Out in the traditional world of print, *The
Hacker Crackdown* is ISBN 0-553-08058-X, and is
formally catalogued by the Library of Congress as “1.

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Computer crimes — United States. 2. Telephone —
United States — Corrupt practices. 3. Programming
(Electronic computers) — United States — Corrupt
practices.” ‘Corrupt practices,’ I always get a kick out
of that description. Librarians are very ingenious

The paperback is ISBN 0-553-56370-X. If you go
and buy a print version of *The Hacker Crackdown,*
an action I encourage heartily, you may notice that
in the front of the book, beneath the copyright
notice — “Copyright (C) 1992 by Bruce Sterling” — it
has this little block of printed legal boilerplate from
the publisher. It says, and I quote:
“No part of this book may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic
or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
or by any information storage and retrieval system,
without permission in writing from the publisher.

For information address: Bantam Books.”
This is a pretty good disclaimer, as such
disclaimers go. I collect intellectual-property
disclaimers, and I’ve seen dozens of them, and this
one is at least pretty straightforward. In this narrow
and particular case, however, it isn’t quite accurate.

Bantam Books puts that disclaimer on every book
they publish, but Bantam Books does not, in fact,
own the electronic rights to this book. I do, because
of certain extensive contract maneuverings my
agent and I went through before this book was
written. I want to give those electronic publishing
rights away through certain not-for-profit channels,
and I’ve convinced Bantam that this is a good idea.

Since Bantam has seen fit to peacably agree to
this scheme of mine, Bantam Books is not going to
fuss about this. Provided you don’t try to sell the
book, they are not going to bother you for what you
do with the electronic copy of this book. If you want
to check this out personally, you can ask them;
they’re at 1540 Broadway NY NY 10036. However, if
you were so foolish as to print this book and start
retailing it for money in violation of my copyright
and the commercial interests of Bantam Books,
then Bantam, a part of the gigantic Bertelsmann
multinational publishing combine, would roust
some of their heavy-duty attorneys out of
hibernation and crush you like a bug. This is only to
be expected. I didn’t write this book so that you
could make money out of it. If anybody is gonna
make money out of this book, it’s gonna be me and
my publisher.