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By Theodore Butler
Tuesday, November 1, 2005

There were an usually large number of news reports and articles that
followed the release of my last article, "A Surprise Silver
Endorsement," which dealt with the opposition of the Silver Users
Association to the proposed exchange-traded fund in silver. Most of
these reports concurred with my take that this confirmed how little
silver was available for investment. For this I am gratified.

I'm less pleased that none of the many reports indicated that my
article was what caused these reports to be written, although there
was a reference cited in one article.

I'd like to get something off my chest. I've never understood why
widespread plagiarism is tolerated in the investment-writing world.
It is certainly not tolerated in any other venue. Let a student at
any level, from high school to graduate school, turn in a research
paper without citing source information and a failing grade is the
least that will result. Let a journalist use another's work without
acknowledgement and he will be dismissed. I just learned from
today's newspaper that it is considered a cardinal sin for one
comedian to steal another's joke. So what is it about investment
writing that permits the theft of intellectual property?

I'm not complaining about someone learning what I am attempting to
teach. I want people to learn -- that's why I write. And that's why
I've written for free on the Internet. But I don't want anyone to
steal my work and then pass it off as his own original research.

In the case of the article about the SUA and the silver ETF, it's
easy to prove my point, although this is hardly a unique case. The
Internet is a giant time-stamping device. None of the articles in
question predate mine; all postdate my article. The SUA didn't
suddenly make the announcement on October 10, the date of my
article. The SUA first made its position clear months before, in its
July newsletter. I explained in my article that I became aware of
the SUA's position only because friends and readers sent me e-mails
about it and I wrote about it in my Tuesday article.

It would strain credulity to think that the articles postdating my
article were just coincidental, especially considering that they all
basically agreed with my conclusion. This is basically an issue of
integrity and morality, of taking something that doesn't belong to
you. I would no sooner plagiarize someone else's work than I would
go on a shoplifting spree or steal from a neighbor's home.

Having said all this, I would like to point out that the SUA has
blundered in its public handling of this ETF issue. Not in two
decades of observing them have I seen them handle an issue so
poorly. In the "old days" they would have put the ETF quietly to
rest, with nary a public utterance. I think the chances are good
that they'll kill the ETF with their backroom dealing and lobbying,
but their public relations effort backfired. Their blunder, of
course, is your gain, as a more compelling endorsement for the true
state of the silver market is hard to imagine.

I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm not so sure it would be all
peaches and cream if the silver ETF were approved. Oh, I think it
would have a bullish effect on the price, all right, but if enough
silver was bought and the price reacted strongly enough, it could
turn out that the authorities who approved it would panic and change
their minds, ordering a forced liquidation. That would not be good,
in my opinion.

I guess you have to be careful what you root for, because you just
may get it. In any event, the silver market will do fine, with or
without the ETF.

For a variety of reasons I have decided to change course on my
weekly Internet articles. I have indicated a desire to do so in the
past and I'd like to explain why. I don't think most people know
this, but there never was any profit motive behind my Internet
articles other than attempting to end the silver price manipulation.
I got paid and expect to continue to get paid for writing articles
for Investment Rarities' customers. Most of those articles were then
made available on the Internet, in addition to many others. The
Internet distribution was basically a public service.

While I take full responsibility for the content of the articles,
IRI should be given full credit for underwriting all costs and
providing all technical assistance associated with maintaining the
Internet service. It never was, nor was intended to be, a revenue
source for them. Basically, Jim Cook posted the articles as a favor
to me.

I do expect new articles to be posted after they have been
distributed to IRI clients but do not foresee that will be on a
weekly basis. I want to get away from running commentary on the
commitment of traders, as that is interfering with my private
efforts with friends and close associates, but I will comment on
special occasions. I have also prepared several articles that are
more controversial in nature and that I feel would be inappropriate
to ask IRI to post. Those will be released on my Internet site at
the appropriate time.

Finally, I apologize for falling hopelessly behind in responding to
e-mails. Hurricane Wilma was the breaking point. I read everything
but have time to respond to only a few. The sad part is that the
more involved and well-thought-out the correspondence I receive, the
less chance I have to answer it because of time constraints. Those
requests that can be answered in a word or sentence stand the best
chance of reply.

Just to set the record straight, this has nothing to do with my
opinion of the silver market; that has never looked better long-
term. (Short-term I have my concerns, as I hope I have indicated in
my last couple of articles). It has everything to do with
rearranging my priorities according to time constraints. I hope you


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