Planet Money did a podcast on this very issue.
All this would take is a digital signature. You can ship the public keys with the firmware.
These blocks are only for people who run their own mail servers. If you're using a mail client, it'll be configured to connect to your ISP's mail server, and nothing changes for you.
It's not a work for hire. The company is being hired on an independent contractor basis, and essays don't fall under any of the classes of work that can be covered under work for hire.
Even if they did, a work for hire in a non-employee relationship requires a signed agreement by both parties, and I doubt a company like this would go to any effort to relinquish their copyright.
I was horrified because I thought you threw a coach off the top of the building. I swear I'm not making this up.
Besides not having to pay for the electricity when they shut off the water heater, you also get a small credit on your bill every month, whether they shut the heater off or not. It's only a few dollars, but it adds up and doesn't inconvenience people too much.
I think Google Docs meets every one of your requirements.
A large number of Mac users are technically savvy. I switched from Windows to OS X when Windows XP introduced activation, while OS X let you make illegal installs with impunity. (It still does.) I stayed because of the UNIX core. The second Apple changes the value proposition, I'll jump ship, and I think many others will as well.
No problem. Hawaii is also civilized.
iTunes (or the producers?) generally offer premieres and catch-up videos free of charge so people get into the series. It's not a bug, but it most likely is for a limited time.