Can you steal a free newspaper?
Free if you can find it
Possibly not but it is well-established that if you take a lot of them you may be guilty of some crime or other — perhaps malicious mischief.
The thought arises from a report in the Los Angeles Times (which I have not seen anywhere else even though it happened weeks ago) about a longish sentence (15 months) for a computer geek who made and gave away (or sold) restore disks that Microsoft gives away.
I’d like to know more; it sure sounds like entrapment, with a hint that MS inspired the sting.
The judges appear to have acted like idiots; the idea that people take free stuff and sell it is long established; and as long as people are willing to pay for what they can get for free, ain’t that capitalism? (If you want an example, this is morel season and you’ll pay a stiff price for them even though the seller got them for nothing.)
I tend to think the defendant is right when he says: “I don’t think anybody in that courtroom understood what a restore disc was.”