Authority to operate

I bought a little tape player/recorder the other day. I can't find my old one, and I figured it would be a good stopgap way to listen to tapes in the car until I get my car stereo repaired or replaced. (Which is taking a long time because I can't decide whether to try to get it repaired, again, or just replace it. And if I do replace it, I don't know whether to get a CD player only, or a combo tape/CD player, which is bigger and clunkier and more expensive but would let me keep listening to all the tapes I have. And I don't know which brand is best, and I keep neglecting to go research that.) It turns out that it's not a great substitute; this unit is designed for recording speech (like in class), and its playback gets very distorted at volume high enough to be heard in a car at freeway speed. Sigh. And it has no radio, as my old one did. Almost enough to make me consider shopping at the Great Satan (a.k.a. Fry's Electronics) again. Almost.

But that's not what I'm here to tell you about.

What I'm here to tell you about is the little manual for this Sony "Cassette-Corder" unit I bought. Right here on the front, above the part that says "Welcome!", there's an area labeled "Owner's Record." It's for writing down your model number and serial number for easy reference. Not a bad idea.

But underneath where you write the model and serial numbers, it says this:

You are cautioned that any changes or modifications not expressly approved in this manual could void your authority to operate this equipment.

Which leaves me wondering: who granted me the authority to operate this equipment, and how and why would/could they take that authority away from me?

It's gotta be a boilerplate notification intended for use on Sony products that can emit radio frequencies, is all I can figure. But in the context of a tape player/recorder, it's very odd, and just a little bit ominous-sounding.

Play a tape, go to jail. It's the law.

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