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Yesterday's letter to alumni from MIT President Reif

   ________________________________________________________________

   Dear MIT Alumni,

   This evening, I sent the following message to the campus MIT
   community.  Because I know that you care very much about the
   welfare of our students, I thought you might be interested to
   see it, too.

   Sincerely,

   L. Rafael Reif
   __________________________________________________________________

   To the members of the MIT community:

   I am writing to address a problem that a group of MIT students
   currently face but that concerns all of us, because it highlights
   issues central to sustaining the creative culture of MIT.

   The students in question are the creators of Tidbit, a
   proof-of-concept code for a novel Bitcoin-harvesting strategy.
   After Tidbit won the "most innovative" award in a recent hackathon,
   the State Attorney General of New Jersey demanded that the
   students turn over a sweeping set of documents, code and
   information--a surprising and difficult turn of events for the
   Tidbit team.

   I am grateful to all those who have written to me to express
   their concern about this situation, and I want to make it clear
   that the students who created Tidbit have the full and enthusiastic
   support of MIT. Chancellor Cindy Barnhart and Provost Marty
   Schmidt met with the students yesterday. They and General Counsel
   Greg Morgan also spoke with the Electronic Frontier Foundation
   (EFF), which is providing to the students, pro bono, the independent
   legal representation that they need. We will remain in close
   coordination with the students and the EFF to offer assistance
   in the legal proceedings.

   Beyond this specific case, I believe we should provide our student
   inventors and entrepreneurs with a resource for independent legal
   advice, singularly devoted to their interests and rights. I have
   asked the Provost, Chancellor and General Counsel to develop and
   submit to me a specific proposal for creating such a resource,
   which will add an essential new strength to MIT's innovation
   ecosystem.

   When the MIT community works together, we spot problems, analyze
   them and solve them. Let's solve this one together.

   Sincerely,

   L. Rafael Reif