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On Steve J.'s second day on the job, he wasn't quite sure what to make of Lee. Steve had only briefly met Lee the day before while he was getting his first day rites of humiliation — awkward introductions to all sorts of people with the typical mutual feigned interest. Lee was different, though. Lee's back was to them, he had a pair of headphones on and was nodding his head to the beat, gently drumming his fingers on the keyboard.

Steve's boss half-yelled a cheerful "Lee! This is Steve, new in IT!" No response. "Lee!" Still nothing. The boss sighed, turned to Steve, and said "Sometimes Lee likes to listen to music loud on his headphones." Irritated, he walked up behind Lee and tapped on his shoulder twice. Lee let out a gasp and tensed up, yanking the headphone cable from his laptop. A fast, typical bmm-tss techno song was blaring out of his laptop speakers. Hurriedly reaching for his volume down key, Lee gave an exasperated "yeah?"

"Lee, I want you to meet Steve, the new guy," he said with a warm smile.

"Hi, good to meet you."

Half facing them, and half acknowledging Steve, Lee gave a weak "yeah, hi," before spinning his chair back around.

"So what are you listening to," Steve asked, the laptop providing background music for their conversation.

Lee's eyebrow arched. "It's the new Autobahn. Do you like post-industrial semi-punk nekronoise ambient happy hardcore triphop shoegaze?"

Trying to be polite, Steve pretended to understand. "Yeah, uh, and I didn't even know the new... Autobahn was out."

Lee made a sound that can only be described as a "chucklesnortscoff," saying "it's not out yet. Leaked on the 'net."

His first day, all things considered, had gone well. The worst thing was that happened all day was that someone at the company now thought Steve was a poseur in the post-industrial semi-punk nekronoise ambient happy hardcore triphop shoegaze scene, and Steve figured he could live with that.

The second day, however, didn't go as smoothly. Steve had joined the company right as they were doing a big move to a new facility. Their datacenter was being moved, and the new facility would also absorb a former satellite office's staff and equipment, with everything being housed in one AD domain. All of the PCs were collected and had their contents reviewed prior to joining the network.

Unbeknownst to Steve, a fellow technician had received Lee's laptop. During the analysis, he was shocked to find that the hard drive had less than 1GB of space available, and that the hard drive was full of pirated DVD rips, MP3s, and the like. The tech deleted whatever files he could that looked illegal and moved on.

Weeks later, though, when Steve's colleague was out to lunch, the IT manager came looking for him. After asking where the tech was, the manager casually asked Steve if his colleague had ever mentioned a laptop that had a bunch of MP3s and AVIs on it. "Yeah, actually. Is there a problem?"

"Well, yeah. He deleted some training CDs that had been put on the system." Steve reasonaed that this would be an easy mistake to make in a folder that had over 40 gigs of (mostly) illegally downloaded music in it. Steve explained it to the manager, who closed his eyes as if he was in intense thought, exhaling loudly through his nostrils.

"Well, we mentioned the laptop in Lee's employment contract." It was Lee's? Steve was surprised he hadn't realized it on his own. "And because of that, it's technically partially his, and thus must be allowed certain freedoms. One of which is to store his home files if need be. So it's kind of a gray area."

Kind of a gray area?! This was a company PC that would stay with the company after Lee left. He'd been using company resources to pirate movies and music, and suddenly he's the victim? Steve could understand if it had been a signing bonus, but it seemed pretty cut-and-dry that Lee was in the wrong here.

While Steve and the IT manager were talking, Steve's fellow tech walked in. "Ah," interrupted the IT manager, "just who I hoped to see. Can you come to my office for a second?"

Steve sat in disbelief the whole time that his colleague was in the IT manager's office getting reprimanded for deleting Lee's MP3s. The good news is that Autobahn's CD ("Nagelbett") came out in the intervening time, so Lee can at least buy a legitimate copy now.