Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Submission + - 3 Years Prison in CA For Covering Laptop ( 7

mrcaseyj writes: California penal code section 537e makes it a felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison to be in possession of an integrated computer panel where the serial number or any other distinguishing number or identification mark has been covered. It's also a crime punishable by 6 months or a year to cover or obliterate the serial number or identification mark of just about any other personal property, from tools to CDs and much more. While a district attorney might have a hard time prosecuting you for such a crime, it appears a police officer could still take you to jail without having to worry about getting in trouble, because covering is apparently illegal by the letter of the law.
This discussion was created for logged-in users only, but now has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

3 Years Prison in CA For Covering Laptop

Comments Filter:
  • (a) Any person who knowingly buys, sells, receives, disposes
    of, conceals, or has in his or her possession any personal property
    from which the manufacturer's serial number, identification number,
    electronic serial number, or any other distinguishing number or
    identification mark has been removed, defaced, covered, altered, or
    destroyed, is guilty of a public offense, punishable as follows:
    (1) If the value of the property does not exceed four hundred
    dollars ($400), by imprisonment in a coun

    • The above quoted code section is correct, but it looks like my link to the official California Code may not be working. So here is another try at the link: []

      Scroll down about two thirds of the page for section 537e.

    • I've got an EEE pc where the serial number has faded (been altered) because of the heat. So technically, I'm breaking the law in California.

      I wonder how Californians deal with the fact that manufacturers often print serial numbers with ink that fades over time. (As one can't make a warranty claim without a serial number, it suits the manufacturer's interests to do so.)

      I'm tempted to call the DA's office and as him what I should do with my computer. It's not only illegal for me to possess it, it is a

      • When the cop arrests you, point out that he covered up the serial number on his gun when he put it in the holster...


        • I own what I own. There are specific registration laws regarding firearms and transportation vehicles (motorcycles, cars, trucks, aircraft) which dictate that the serial numbers remain intact. Anything else, they'll just have to arrest me, and we'll slug it out in court. It's unconstitutional to claim that my ownership is NOT absolute. If I have the right to destroy or dispose of something, I certainly have the right to deface it.

  • ... the land of the Fr... oh wait.

  • "If the property is an integrated computer chip or panel of a value of four hundred dollars ($400) or more, by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or 2 or 3 years or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year."

    Okay... Say I take the case off my laptop and repackage it with an ubercool handmade steampunk case. Do I get 12, 16, 24, or 36 months? Besides the issue I have with telling me what I can do with what I own, what is the punishment for this "crime"?

    People wonder why I

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN