Apple sez jailbreaking iPhones is illegal and should be banned

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Fred von Lohmann's been reading all the submissions to the Copyright Office on exemptions to the DMCA, and he's found this beauty: Apple is trying to ban jailbreaking iPhones:
Jailbreaking an iPhone constitutes copyright infringement and a DMCA violation, says Apple in comments filed with the Copyright Office as part of the 2009 DMCA triennial rulemaking. This marks the first formal public statement by Apple about its legal stance on iPhone jailbreaking.

Apple's iPhone, now the best-selling cellular phone in the U.S., has been designed with restrictions that prevent owners from running applications obtained from sources other than Apple's own iTunes App Store. "Jailbreaking" is the term used for removing these restrictions, thereby liberating your phone from Apple's software "jail." Estimates put the number of iPhone owners who have jailbroken their phones in the hundreds of thousands.

Apple Says iPhone Jailbreaking is Illegal


  1. Sorry, but when I buy a physical item, I should be able to smash it, give it away, use it to shim a wonky coffee table, whatever – I bought it, it’s now MINE, not the manufacturer’s property. I’m not renting it. If you want to rent me something, then *rent* it, don’t sell it.

  2. I have to agree. Apple should have no say in what I do with their phone after I buy it. They have no say what happens to the phone after I purchase it. If they don’t want me to do what I will with the product, don’t sell it to me.

  3. I’ve been saying for ages I’m gonna bin my iPhone when my contract lapses. If this goes through, I’m binning it that day and Apple can bite my arse.
    This really makes me furious.

  4. why do they care so much? there’s no restriction on where the music comes from that you put on your ipod, and yet they sell a ton of music in itunes. same thing will happen with the apps – and… only a very small percentage of people are actually going to attempt jail-breaking. Really – they should say “jailbreak at your own risk.”

  5. @1: I don’t think Apple cares at all what you do with the physical phone: bake it into a cake, smash it, poop on it, whatever, they’re not going to come calling.

    @4: And that would be protected under current copyright laws, unlike, say, you digitally scanning contents of same book and distributing them for free.

    Pretending that “jailbreaking” iPhones is a physical modification alone, like the examples above, and not a tech modification, isn’t going to get “copyfighters” (blergh) anywhere. It’s the tech modifications they’re objecting (rightly or wrongly) to, not that you, say, put Obama stickers all over the back….

  6. rezpect:

    from the blurb at the top of the page…

    ‘Apple’s iPhone, now the best-selling cellular phone in the U.S., has been designed with restrictions that prevent owners from running applications obtained from sources other than Apple’s own iTunes App Store. “Jailbreaking” is the term used for removing these restrictions, thereby liberating your phone from Apple’s software “jail.”

  7. I understand what jail breaking is, but I can’t get the point. This is not veiled sarcasm, I honestly don’t know why someone would want to do this. Could someone explain?

  8. I don’t care about Apple’s arguments for this, or anyone’s, for that matter. I’m just glad that there will be no way for them to enforce it, and their brazen attempt to criminalize innocent activity will backfire on them 100%.

  9. As one of the most persistent and unrepentant Apple fanboiz on BB, let me say this: Apple, you suck.

  10. johninsapporo:

    a standard iphone will only allow you to load apps that have been made available through apple’s app store. you cannot run any homebrew software or aps that haven’t received the official apple blessing. in other words, a walled garden.

    on an iphone that has been jailbroken you can run any app you want, including homebrew. there are many, many apps out there that users find useful and interesting that apple will not allow on their store. this alleviates that problem.


    Simple: Apple imposes strict rules on what programmers can publish on their appStore.

    So the only way to get certain 3rd party software on your iPhone is by jailbreaking it and installing this software w/out the appStore.

    For example, tethering software – allowing the iPhone to act as a modem, so to speak, to your laptop, isn’t available from the store as the carriers don’t really want this. I didn’t see the point, since over here it used to be cheap to get a 2nd phone card and an UMTS/3g expresscard, but they discontinue that service. So I’ll probably jailbreak mine, too, just in case I ever need tethering.

    Ah yes, and doing video. Nothing I need, but some people want this and Apple doesn’t allow this. Also background apps, though I understand by apple doesn’t want possible enegry drains on the phone.

    Last but bot least, jailbrreaking is the first step in makeing the iPhone accept other carriers than the one you gog the from phone , the so called unlocking.

  12. I’ve jailbroken my iPhone for Cycorder (the only way to actually record videos I know of) and a nifty way to get instant access to running processes and functions on the phone through SBSettings.

    There are numerous other jailbroken applications that are worth the trouble, like widescreen sms/mms’ing, visual enhancements that aren’t allowed by Apple or new proof of concepts fun like sms-to-speech (TalkMe) or simply improved connectivity like accessing the phone through ssh.

    I agree that when the sale’s gone through – the phone is mine, not Apples.

  13. @Rezpect; non-broken phone (or ipod touch) can only access App Store, which will only have applications that Apple stamps “good”.

    With jailbroken phone, you can install programs from third-party providers without Apple’s say-so. You can also run programs on the background, which Apple doesn’t allow.

    I own Ipod Touch, and jailbroke it to replace YouTube apt with MxTube – the latter could download the videos to the harddrive, to be viewed when there’s no internet connection (Apple doesn’t like it, because they sell music videos in their store). I’ve also installed Finder, which allows me to browse ipod’s harddrive and better manipulate the files I’ve downloaded. Apple doesn’t like this either, because it highlights the fact that ipod is a computer, not limited-functioned gadget (you CAN buy the Finder from the App Store, but it can only access one folder).


    The programs that you get to jailbroken iphone can be free, shareware or add-supported. Whatever they are, they don’t bring any money to Apple’s coffers (unlike if things move thru the App Store). That by itself is enough for Apple not like jailbreaking.

  14. I bought my iPhone at full price (in Belgium…. €635) and I’ve jailbreaked it (65% of my apps are non iPhone.
    Apple can say whatever they want, this is now mine, I do whatever I want with it.

  15. Maybe someone can clear this up for me. Often DMCA is used (incorrectly) for companies to assert “you are not allowed to break my encryption,” when the actual intent of the law was “you are not allowed to break my encryption in order to steal my copyrighted content.” Is there any copyrighted content that is actually being stolen here?

    I’m just curious when we finally get a case the limits this over reaching used of DMCA (a bad law made worse by misuse).

  16. Rotwang – true for a purely physical item, but the iPhone contains embedded software, and the ownership of said software isn’t as clear.

    You “own” your copy of it in the sense that it’s your device, but you don’t “own” it in the sense that you developed it.

    In terms of precedent, you do have the right to modify your copy however you want… but you don’t necessarily have the right to distribute modified copies of it. You also may or may not have the right to distribute tools to modify it.Jailbreak tools do one or the other.

    One of the reasons Apple is making their legal stance clear now is because there are companies trying to turn a profit on selling freely-available jailbreak/unlock tools.

    Given the popularity and potential of the iPhone, I get the feeling that no matter how this turns out, it will hinder jailbreaking about as much as the DMCA hinders DVD ripping.

  17. @Markfrei: Actually, no…the DMCA does say “you are not allowed to break my encryption”. It also says “you are not allowed to explain to anyone how to break my encryption” and “you are not allowed to own tools which are intended to break my encryption”.

  18. It’s just a self-validation tool, Apple knows you really haven’t really arrived until have an anti-trust suit brought against you.

  19. Apple’s reasoning from the filed document:

    “Apple is opposed to the proposed Class #1 exemption because it will destroy the
    technological protection of Apple’s key copyrighted computer programs in the iPhone™ device
    itself and of copyrighted content owned by Apple that plays on the iPhone, resulting in copyright
    infringement*/b>, potential damage to the device and other potential harmful physical effects,
    adverse effects on the functioning of the device, and breach of contract
    †.” [emphasis and footnoting mine]

    * – I want to see their ironclad case that the mere act of installing someone else’s firmware on their device necessitates copyright infringement – regardless of what is done with it afterwards. There is, of course, no such valid legal argument. They might make some valid argument regarding copyright infringement for a particular flavour of jailbreak firmware that was reverse-engineered from their own and substantially embodies their own firmware’s work, but I think that’s only going to be the case if an actual duplication – or actual copying – of the firmware occurs, to, say, third-party iPhone hardware clones. They may have a case to claim there is copyright infringement occurring by individual people if they use the functions provided by a particular firmware to produce infringing copies of particular resources (programs, data) of the iPhone operating system. These are, however, issues to be decided on a case-by-case basis for particular firmwares as to whether they are meant to circumvent Apple’s copy-protection mechanisms, and not to be prevented in a blanket denial.

    Potential damage to the device and other potentially harmful physical effects are technologically foreseeable; It may be possible to “brick” the device, overdrive the antenna arrays to output harmful amounts of energy, and drain the battery with such a high load that it potentially overheats and exceeds safe operational parameters (in plain english: leaks or explodes). These are possibilities – but they are irrelevant to a copy-protection discussion. Neither copyright law nor the DMCA is meant to prevent people from revving the engine of their vehicle too hard; They’re /purely/ dealing with the rights of authors and rightsholders.

    † Whether the act of installing someone else’s firmware on a device manufactured by Apple constitutes Breach of Contract is a question of civil law, covering several questions such as:

    • Can a manufacturer enforce a contract that prevents you from /not/ using their product?

    • Can a manufacturer enforce a contract of adhesion that contravenes the First Sale doctrine?

    • Can a manufacturer enforce a contract that civilly embodies Rent-seeking?

    all of which are questions to be decided by a court of law, not a criminal copyrights-protection-mechanism legislative review panel — or for which there are civil remedies available in the courts for Apple against the individual or several collective users of the iPhone who breach the contract.

    Their second substantial comment:

    “Although EFF’s proposed exemption is phrased in the obligatory language about a class
    of works, its arguments really amount to an attack on Apple’s particular business choices* with
    respect to the design of the iPhone mobile computing platform and the strategy† for delivering
    applications software for the iPhone through the iPhone App Store.”

    *,†: The DMCA does not protect a business model or strategy, nor rent-seeking behaviour, nor does it provide criminal-code legal protection for a business model.

    “EFF has picked an ironic target around which to center the arguments in its proposal.”

    Pot, Kettle.

    “Specifically, it seeks through the proposed exemption to
    clear the path for those who would hack the iPhone’s operating system so that a proprietary
    mobile computing platform protected by copyright can be transformed into one on which any
    third party application can be run*, without taking account of the undesirable consequences† that
    would ensue from the transformation.”

    * First Sale doctrine.
    † Undesirable to whom?

    “EFF’s submission offers no proof that this proposed
    transformation would actually increase innovation or investment in creative works*, and as this
    submission demonstrates, it would not do so.”

    * The SDK licensing for the iPhone Operating System – and the licensing requirements for the Apps Store – prevent someone from writing and releasing to the general public of iPhone / iPod owners an application that can enable or perform access to an attached USB peripheral input device or Bluetooth peripheral input device – such as a camera, physical network connection device, or keyboard. As Apple has their SDK and licensing set up currently, in order to produce this functionality requires that the prospective innovator enter into a non-trivial hardware production licensing agreement with Apple – even to merely produce, market, and distribute a USB keyboard driver that would allow the iPhone/iPod to be plugged in to the female port of a port-bearing (passthrough) USB keyboard (readily available on the market), which itself would then be connected to a USB power supply or AC->DC mains->USB power converter (readily available on the market).

    Equally prevented by the SDK licensing and OS restrictions preventing third-party unapproved-by-Apple applications, is the marketing and distribution of a piece of software allowing the iPhone to be used over Bluetooth as an input device for other Bluetooth-enabled devices.

    I’ve spent an hour reading and writing this, and need to be productive. I will sum up by saying that Apple’s claim that they’ve enabled the production of a large number of individual works and classes of works through production of their platform does not lessen the fact that their business model, enforced by licensing restrictions, enforced by technological means, has prevented end-user’s enjoyment and legitimate exploitation of the devices after the First Sale.

  20. A site recently popped up that provides tools for cracking and sharing apps from the App Store. I suspect that might have something to do with Apple raising a stink about it now. Before this jailbreaking was relatively benign.

  21. CADIN – that’s exactly it, and something I forgot to mention in my last comment. Jailbreaking wasn’t about piracy, now for some people it is.

    Just like how Nintendo didn’t do much to stop Wii homebrew until people figured out how to pirate games with it.

  22. Thank you SUMZERO and PETERBRUELLS. I wonder if the main point from Apple’s point of view is that a jailbroken phone can be used with any carrier and those carriers who had made exclusive agreements with Apple don’t like that.

    I don’t have an iPhone. To be honest, I wish the cell phone I had was just that – a phone. It’s got far too many bells and whistles that I never use. I just want a phone. I don’t need a camera, MP3 player etc. I have a Touch that works beautifully for light entertainment, seeing my iCal and so on. I’d rather keep them separate. And there already seems to be TOO MUCH software on the iTunes store.

    I guess needs are different. THere must be some people who absolutely MUST run programs that are not on the iTunes store.

    Can’t be a lot of them, though, can there?

  23. The only strength of their case here is that the Jailbreaking tools infringe copyright. While my license as a personal user doesn’t explicitly grant me the ability to modify the phone’s software, that’s pretty well established as fair use.

    @Lars: Flixwagon not only records video, but it streams it live to the Internet. Must have.

  24. As someone who used to work for Apple for many years, I am pretty appalled at this heavy-handed approach. They should have just left it at voiding the warranty and therefore invalidating the support contract you have with Apple for buying their product (for a year, unless you extend it.) That was fair. If you knew what you were doing and wouldn’t try to have them spend support resources on you, you could pretty much do what you wanted.

    Since when did hi-tech companies gain direct legislative ability? It’s getting to the point where all advanced computer use is becoming “illegal”, so any self respecting techie will have no respect the law (much like marijuana laws erode respect for drug laws, come to think of it.)

  25. They are going to regret this. Oh yes they are. There’s nothing uglier than Apple fanboys turning on their own and gnawing off the legs of their writhing hapless victims.

    Seriously – what a turd ass thing to do.

    The fact so many people are jailbreaking their phones is an indication that Apple’s attempts to control their device is WRONG and they should change their business model. But no – they choose to follow the thinking of the RIAA – file criminal charges against the customer – yeah – that’s working out real good.




    Well, it depends on the software you need. Apart from tethering (not a big issue for me) I’m fine. There’s lots of quality stuff on th appStore at okay prices.

    I think the locking to ca carrier is both Apple’s and the carrier’s interest. Certainly the carrier’s interest, when they give they iphone itself away for a coupe of bucks. Apple suppsedly gets a cut from he monthly fee. But I can see Apple stopping that at the drop of a hat.

    Control of their device is more important to them. Because – and I’m an iPhone owner – one can seriously mess up one’s iphone with malicious or badly though out 3rd party apps. It’s bad enough in the store where many application do not pay attention to the low memory warning, which makes it look as if the phone can’t handle wee little progams. I hasten to add that the iphone and its built-in software does have annoying bugs of their own.

  27. I have always admired Apple for standing bravely against an army of IBM clones, and for the wisdom to donate thousands of computers to schools. I suspect that is why they survived. I’m surprised that they would pull a punk stunt like this. It demonstrates that you must be careful who you delegate authority to.
    Not that I’m a Mac guy- as I explained to my boys: PC’s are for boys, Macs are for girls. I know this is about cell phones, but my respect for Apple has dropped a couple wrungs.

  28. Say I buy a Mustang, and tinker with the engine to make it run better. I install third-party parts. I teach myself how via freely available information on auto repair websites. Surely Ford owns the copyright to the design of the engine system, but did I violate Ford’s copyright by modifying it?

    I imagine that contracts and EULA’s make my metaphor more complicated, but… screw them. I bought something. I own it. It is mine. I should legally be able to do whatever I want with it. Dropping my iPhone in a blender would probably breach my contract as well, since I won’t be using the phone for 2 years like I promised.

  29. Not that I’m a Mac guy- as I explained to my boys: PC’s are for boys, Macs are for girls.

    ….I’m sorry, what?

  30. I’ve bought nothing but Apple computers for over a decade now. I have an iPhone. Apple is losing me as a customer. I loved them for their innovation and now they’re dedicating themselves to stifling innovation. This is the last straw for me.

  31. Stuff and nonsense. That’s like saying artists are in violation of copyright when they alter a book (google “altered books” if you don’t know what I mean). Once the phone’s yours, it’s yours, and in the iPhone’s case, especially, since you’re not getting any apparent price break by committing to the recommended phone service.

  32. I have a jailbroken phone. I have only three applications installed on it – Cycorder, the excellent video recording application, Scrobbled, which runs in the background and posts my music listening stats to in real time, and Bossprefs, which is merely a toggle board where I can turn wifi, 3g, GPS, autolock, SSH, and edge on or off instead of navigating through the Settings app where all those toggles are buried in different places.

    None of these apps are used to unlock the phone (my phone is locked to AT&T and I plan to keep it there), none of it is used to infringe copyright or pirate software. It’s all to make the phone easier for me to use.

    I used to be a huge Apple fan. I was a big Machead, I evangelized it to my friends. Once Apple started turning anti-user with DHCP in their Macbooks, the anti-jailbreaking OS X update that remotely altered your USB ports to no longer accept jailbroken phones (as if Apple ought to be allowed to remotely cripple your hardware), and now this, I decided my computing future was elsewhere. My latest computer purchase was a netbook running Ubuntu, and I’m thrilled with it.

  33. Cory wrote:
    “The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Fred von Lohmann’s been reading all the submissions to the Copyright Office on exemptions to the DMCA, and he’s found this beauty: Apple is trying to ban jailbreaking iPhones”

    Apple wrote:
    “Although EFF’s proposed exemption is phrased in the obligatory language about a class of works, its arguments really amount to an attack on Apple’s particular business choices* with respect to the design of the iPhone mobile computing platform and the strategy† for delivering applications software for the iPhone through the iPhone App Store.”

    THEREFORE, Cory is lying when he claims that EFF “found” an Apple submission when reading through submissions. Apple was in fact responding to an EFF proposal that a specific exemption be made to allow Jailbreaking. Apple did NOT submit a request to outlaw Jailbreaking.

    Apple may be wrong in their position. But Cory’s article is far more Orwellian than Apple’s opposition to the EFF proposed exemption.

    Apple is guilty of trying to make a legal argument based on the unconstitutional DMCA.

    Cory is guilty of spreading lies in the name of journalistic reporting.

  34. Either you own it or you don’t. Name another piece of electronics you can own where the producer tells you it is “illegal” to modify it? You might void the warranty, but that isn’t “illegal.”

    Maybe they should just rent iPhones instead.

  35. Carolina,

    I believe if you look back at some of his other comments he finds all the proof he needs in the Bible. The PC vs. Mac nonsense was in the Bible, right?

  36. it’s an interesting find. here in italy there was the exact same debate some years ago. a carrier (3) gave away expensive phones for free but sim blocked and crippled (like no bluetooth transfer). the deal was that you got a 300-400euro phone for free but blocked with 3 sims (prepaid or with a contract) for 2 years.

    not surprisingly people bought the phones trashed the 3 sim then promptly unlocked them and used them with other carriers.

    3 filed a general suit against unlockers, distributors of unlocking software and unlocked phone users claiming that unblocking the phone was a breach of their copyright and unfair competition since they offered for free an expensive item and they based their business model on the monthly fees.

    they lost the case. judges ruled that all sales are final and that the customer has full rights over a regularly bought item, including unlocking it or reselling it and has no obbligation to respect arbitrary EULAs even if he signed such an EULA upon purchase. the right to personal property cannot be overiden by a vendor’s arbitrary terms and conditions.

    another interesting bit is that the court decided that 3’s commercial tactics like offering free phones is not a customer’s concern. once the phone changes hands the seller has no right to control it even if it was given away for free.

    to this day 3 offers free expensive phones (n96, e71, htc touch,samsung omnia etc) for 2 year plans prepaid or contract but now they are unlocked since locking them only angered customers away. instead now they offer interesting plans and sweeten the deal with a free phone (no other carrier in italy offers high end phones for the same low prices). they are doing much better now than they did 5 years ago.

  37. Their counter-proposal has a hell of a lot of back-slapping guff in it. Does Apple think that underlining how successful the iPhone is will help their argument?

    BTW, can someone explain why it’s not possible to jailbreak a phone in a way that doesn’t involve a program that contains modified Apple code?

    Can’t someone make a jailbreak program that’s more of a patch, which modifies the firmware on the device, rather than overwriting it?

    My coding knowledge is tiny, but it seems the only strong argument Apple has is that jailbreak software contains their copyrighted code. So why not reverse engineer it to the extent that it’s original?

  38. Oh LOL:

    “Although the App Store is beneficial to Apple, it has clearly been beneficial to developers
    and consumers as well, essentially eliminating the principal barrier to commerce: the means for
    iPhone developers to find potential customers in a secure and trusted marketplace.”

    YES, OF COURSE. Developers love being forced into licensing contracts, that’s not a barrier at all! And if consumers were given a choice, how would they know who to trust?

  39. iPhone is not a fancy phone that you own. iPhone is a Point Of Sale in your pocket, through which you may shop for and buy things. The phone, PIM, apps, and browser are amenities, such as you would find in a cafe or hotel.

    “But I paid for it — that’s not rent!” Your rental period ends when the device, or your interest in it, dies. This is the real iPhone ‘revolution’.

    Truth hurts, donit?


  40. Caroline @38:

    I think what Troofseeker was confessing was that he had to explain to his sons that the excellence of Mac was the purview of the superior sex, while they were required, by canon law, to accept the burden of wrestling with PCs throughout their nasty, brutal and short male lives.

    I feel very grateful to live in a liberated home where Barbara lets me use a Mac– and yes, even an iPhone!

    Hang in there, brothers, better days are coming!

  41. I’m concerned, but I’d be more concerned if this actually stopped me from doing whatever I want with the device.

    They can make all the legal arguments they want. The reality is that the phone is a physical device in my possession, and they can’t stop me from doing whatever I want with it (or even know that I’m doing something they disapprove of.

    Corporate intellectual property lawyers live in a fantasy land. You can’t legislate or litigate reality.

  42. Felix Mitchell @#45:

    Apple’s own iPod/iPhone firmware has, in the past, had exploitable issues that allowed someone to jump through certain hoops to get the control they needed to bypass portions of the code. That is still how jailbreaking occurs: Someone finds some exploitable issue inherent to Apple’s own code. To make that useful or more than transient (good for more than an esoteric trick), that control is always leveraged to bypass other portions of Apple’s own code – and that is accomplished by overwriting those portions of code, thereby patching the firmware.

    It is hypothetically possible to author an entirely-original firmware for the device – I’m just not aware that anyone has done so yet. The hardware might have inherent functions that negotiate with the installed firmware to perform, hypothetically, a cryptographic identity verification function – the firmware verifies that it is running on a real iPhone/Touch, and the hardware verifies that it’s running a real Apple firmware. In such a case, writing a replacement firmware becomes much more difficult*. Above and beyond that, I know for certain that the firmware (or hardware, or both) contain cryptographic identity verification functions so that any given instance of iTunes can verify that a device is actually an iPhone/Touch, and to verify the account information stored on it. Those features would be very difficult* to reverse engineer.

    For those reasons, to make a Jailbroken iPhone/iPod touch that a consumer would actually /want/ (as opposed to a tiny PC running some sort of primitive OS) they are using Apple’s code.

    Those features rely, for security, on running in a trusted context on a trusted system; Once someone has a certain level of control over the hardware and software running on a system, that system and the context aren’t trusted (by Apple). Their SDK and App Store licensing and review process are designed to ensure that no-one provides widely-available software to the public at large for use on their iPod/iPhone that secretly compromises the trust Apple has in the security of the systems they use for commerce. As a side effect, people feel they can trust the iPhone/iPod to be secure enough that it is less likely to leak their personal financial information to criminals via worms, viruses, and trojan horse programs – because those phenomena are virtually non-existent on the iPod/iPhone platform.

    This approach presents at least two problems:

    First, Apple has decided that they are the gatekeeper of what is and is not permissible innovation on the devices they manufacture and sell to end-users. They use this leverage to moralise and editorialise (no porn, no “demos”, nothing lurid or highly mildly objectionable, and no super-expensive status symbols (“I Am Rich”))

    Second, they rent-seek – a hardware development license agreement is required to access the software interface for the USB port, no current plans to make available features on the bluetooth port, and submitting an application to the Apps Store requires a $99 setup fee and the whim of Apple as to when the approval process for your application is finished. I know of one application whose developer submitted an update to their application which took in excess of twenty days to appear on the App Store.

    You /can/ use something called Ad Hoc application distribution, but that will only allow one hundred other iPod/iPhones to run that application – it doesn’t prevent Apple from setting a limit on how marketable your product is if they aren’t getting their pound of flesh and hackles soothed.

  43. If apple wants to pull this shit then they should be up front about it and offer iPhones on a lease-only basis instead of selling them outright. Then they would have the legal backing to stand on, they just wouldn’t have the customers.

  44. Another long-time Apple fan here (and ex-iPod Touch owner), who is also mightily disenchanted with life in Apple’s walled garden. They are doing their level best to become the Nü Microsoft, with mobile platforms turning into Browser Wars part Deux.

    Let’s call it what it is: MonopolyBreaking.

  45. “Unregistered” WAS a good little story! I own no Apple products and have no plans to. I’m a Windows girl with a WinMo phone. I also run Linux on a couple of my machines and have toyed with the idea of Androiding my Mogul.

    I can’t say what it must be like to feel like you can’t use your device the way you want. I suppose if I had an iPhone I’d jailbreak it, I’ve probably done the equivalent with my Windows devices. At least I don’t have to use MS’s stuff to get my content and they can’t make me buy it from their shop. If they even have some kind of online shop.

    ..Do they?

  46. Apple is not trying to ban jailbreaking. It is already illegal under the DMCA. The EFF is proposing an exemption to the DMCA that would allow it. Apple is against the exemption.

    Apple is not trying to go after anyone that has jailbroken their own phone. Just like they don’t go after the individual hackintosh users. What they are fighting against is someone trying to make a business out of distributing Apple’s code or modifying Apple’s code.

  47. I’ve used Apple, and preferred it, since they stuffed my grade school full of IIE’s.

    Having said that, because they have always refused to allow the iPhone to be used as the communications computer it is, and since they insist on the practice (which seems like it should clearly be illegal) of only allowing one carrier (not to mention demanding here be a carrier at all), I have never been interested. Screw ’em. Treat me with respect or I’ll do everything I can to avoid giving you money.

  48. COLONEL GENTLEMAN to Carolina:
    “I believe if you look back at some of his other comments he finds all the proof he needs in the Bible. The PC vs. Mac nonsense was in the Bible, right?”

    I’ll admit right here that it’s time to update myself a little. I’ve been in engineering since pencils and slide rules. Engineering has always used PC’s (aka IBM clones). In the early days, Macs were embraced by the printing and graphics industries because their software was better for artsy stuff, while the PC’s were more… industrial. To date I have never seen a Mac in use in manufacturing.
    Plus, the Book of Jehuzyabuddy says in chapter 2 verse 86: “The man shall lay his hands upon the keys of the dell, but the woman shall take up the apple.” Scholars have debated this verse for centuries. d8^) My older son bought a Mac. d8^(

  49. Apple is not asking the government to enforce their ELUA. EFF is asking the government to make a special exemption in the law which applies only to iPhones. Apple is arguing against the EFFs special exemption.

    I agree that its a bad law. But all this bllsht about Apple asking the government to make ban Jailbreaking is really annoying and counter productive. Apparently none of you even read the EFF article on the subject, which makes it perfectly clear that it is the EFF asking for a special exemption to apply only to the iPhone, not as a general principal. This exemption would not permit Jailbreaking of any other phone. So the motives are crap. If you people want to uphold your ideals, then do that. Don’t engage in stupid vendettas at random.

  50. My understanding of this is that the EFF is trying to explicitly legalise jailbreaking iPhones, and Apple doesn’t want that to happen. That is a subtle, but important difference. I’ve yet to see any evidence that Apple wants to make the practice illegal (perhaps I read the wrong thing). It seems that Apple wants to leave it in the gray area.

    I don’t mean to say that Apple’s lawyers aren’t something to worry about, but what I can’t stand are idiots spreading misinformation. One of the downsides to the internet is that misinformation spreads like wild fire because no one bothers to do any background checks.

    I also expect better from a site like Boing Boing — having just read this on Slashdot, it’s situation normal there. I guess I’ll have to wait for Daring Fireball to see anything worth reading on the subject.

  51. I didn’t notice it before, but the contrarians here are right. The EFF is the aggressor in this case, filing preemptively for a DMCA exception. Apple hasn’t actually filed any claims yet.

  52. i don’t see this “aggression”. apple takes great lenghths to brick jailbreaked units so i think that a clear message should be sent on who owns the freaking phone.

    that apple does not legally pursue jailbreaking (till now) and wishes to keep it in a gray zone is no excuse or surprise. they cannot do much else but actively try through “updates” to block customers from tinkering with what they obviously consider their property not the user’s.

    there is no issue of “legalizing” jailbreaking. it is already legal as its your right to do whatever you want with your property. it’s about making it crystal clear and eliminating those “grey zones” that reduce your right to property by degrading it in some short of leasing.

    the EFF probably targets specifically apple because the jesus phone is a popular product that affects the rights of milions of customers. but i think that whatever legislation should pass would be valid for all manufacturers should they become control freak wannabe monopolists like apple.

    EFF FTW.

  53. Apple does, however, have an intent to make the use of their device work well for users. Having people bitch about their iPhone having issues without stating “Oh yeah, and it’s not just F@#ked up, but the damn illicit software I installed on it doesn’t work right either!” damages Apple’s reputation and marketplace. As such, the company has two choices: allow hacked versions with their implicit approval, or request that their model for functional systems be implemented. Guess with the shareholders are going to want?

    If Apple didn’t pursue this model, they’d be knee deep in legal sh..issues. Technically, I’m sure they couldn’t give a shit: but being in business brings lots of baggage with it.

  54. I have noticed a similarity between this claim of Apple’s and what happened to Edison and his phonograph… After the success of his cylinder machines, Edison wanted to make it so that only Edison discs could be played on his flat disc phonographs. He vigorously fought attempts by others to market their own discs playable on the Edison “Hill and Dale” groove reading machines, which started out as wildly popular. Columbia and Victor, among others, began to market phonographs that could play any old squiggly- grooved (side-to side, the method that still predominates) record people felt like playing, from any number of providers. Edison’s system was eventually choked out of the market. Between that and what he did to Tesla, its no wonder he was in constant need of laxatives.

    I think Steve Jobs needs to stop looking backwards at what his old pal Gates is doing and realize that the more you as a merchant enable commerce around you, the better commerce you will enjoy. Macy’s always made more money from a customer they sent to Gimbels for a product they lacked, as that customer was statistically more likely to return to a merchant that HONESTLY steered them towards exactly what they want. Its called a RELATIONSHIP, Steve. You gotta keep give the ones you love (your loyal customers) FREEDOM, then they’re more inclined to love you back. The more you mistrust em, the more you try to CONTROL them… the less they’ll want to do with you. SImple human nature.

  55. “Oh yeah, and it’s not just F@#ked up, but the damn illicit software I installed on it doesn’t work right either!” damages Apple’s reputation and marketplace. As such, the company has two choices: allow hacked versions with their implicit approval, or request that their model for functional systems be implemented. Guess with the shareholders are going to want?

    this is a non issue. apple cannot and should not “allow” or “block” the use of the products it sells. once sold an item it is no longer company property, and shareholders’ opinions do not matter. if you sell it the buyer does what he wishes. say that smashing an ipod for fun looks bad for apple, should i be sued for smashing one?

    if you buy a car you can use alternative fuel, change the engine and hack the electronics voiding your guarantee, no legal issues for the manufacturer whatsoever. but it’s your right to do it. you own the car. GM or VW will not sue you for using ethanol but they will not give you a new car if you trash it.

    on the other hand bolting the engine compartment and threatening to sue you if you open it, is illegal and that is what apple is doing. it sells you a device and wants a say on what you do with it. it is not about jailbreaking voiding your guarantee. it’s about jailbreaking being illegal alltogether.

    i have a right to trash my stuff that i paid good money for and noone should care. if i come up with something better than the manufacturer intended (which is the case of apple and the iphone) shareholders should press for a better product not for blocking my rights.

  56. Zio – Apple does not go to great lengths to brick jailbroken iPhones. If they wanted to do that, they would check every time you connected it to iTunes and wipe the bootloader if you had jailbroken it. I’ve seen devices that are designed to self-destruct if you tamper with them. The iPhone is not one of them.

    The “bricked” iPhones were cases of the baseband (a separate processor for communications) being modified by an unlocker (not the same as jailbreaking – Jailbreaking does not free you from AT&T)

  57. Does the iPhone jail serve any other purpose than to restrict access to third-party apps? The DMCA almost certainly (IANAL!) isn’t applicable to jailbreaking for the purpose of uploading “unauthorized” content, but if the jail also prevents the user from accessing Apple-copyrighted material, then it serves as a copy-protection device under the DMCA anti-circumvention rule. The ability to add your own apps to the iPhone sounds like a good analogy to the “copy protection” HP used to have for their printer cartridges before it was ruled legal to circumvent the protections in order to use 3rd party ink cartridges.

  58. by apples theory when i buy a mac i should not be able to install any windows products on it (office, xp, windows media player etc.) and when i buy a PC i should not be able to install any apple products on it (itunes, quicktime etc.) yet apple pushes itunes for the pc and vice versa. so why can’t i install other developers software on my mobile device but i can on my laptop? makes no sense. there argument is stupid. its my phone i should be able to install any program i want on it

  59. Jail-breaking an iphone or itouch, should be the CONSUMERS decision. Once you pay Apple for your product, its yours, you are entitled to do with it as you wish. You have bought that item, you did NOT RENT it. I do think Apple has the right to stop pirated apps, as that is copyright infringement, which is Illegal. But simply Jail-breaking itself is NOT Illegal. Aside om 3rd party apps, and cool features, Jail-breaking makes your device COMPLETELY customizable! Apples argument that jailbreaking is illegal due to overwriting system codes is like saying that it is illegal to change your background on your cell phone. Just stupid. Apple your better than this. KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS HAPPY. If you dont, you wont have to worry about jail breaks because no one will buy Apple products. I still love Apple though. but possibly not for long…

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