April 19, 2024
Apple Says iPhone Jailbreaking is Illegal

Apple Says iPhone Jailbreaking is Illegal

Posted February 13, 2009 at 1:08pm by iClarified
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.

EFF, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, confronts cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today. The foundation has asked the Copyright Office to officially exempt jailbreaking from Apple's DMCA claims stating that this sort of claim is absurd. Imagine GM trying to claim that only GM could do any mechanical work on your car. You can read the whole article below...


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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.


As part of the 2009 DMCA rulemaking, EFF has asked the Copyright Office to recognize an exemption to the DMCA to permit jailbreaking in order to allow iPhone owners to use their phones with applications that are not available from Apple's store (e.g., turn-by-turn directions, using the iPhone camera for video, laptop tethering).

Apple's copyright infringement claim starts with the observation that jailbroken iPhones depend on modified versions of Apple's bootloader and operating system software. True enough -- we said as much in our technical white paper describing the jailbreak process. But the courts have long recognized that copying software while reverse engineering is a fair use when done for purposes of fostering interoperability with independently created software, a body of law that Apple conveniently fails to mention.

As for the DMCA violation, Apple casts its lot with the likes of laser printer makers and garage door opener companies who argue that the DMCA entitles them to block interoperability with anything that hasn't been approved in advance. Apple justifies this by claiming that opening the iPhone to independently created applications will compromise safety, security, reliability, and swing the doors wide for those who want to run pirated software.

If this sounds like FUD, that's because it is. One need only transpose Apple's arguments to the world of automobiles to recognize their absurdity. Sure, GM might tell us that, for our own safety, all servicing should be done by an authorized GM dealer using only genuine GM parts. Toyota might say that swapping your engine could reduce the reliability of your car. And Mazda could say that those who throw a supercharger on their Miatas frequently exceed the legal speed limit.


But we'd never accept this corporate paternalism as a justification for welding every car hood shut and imposing legal liability on car buffs tinkering in their garages. After all, the culture of tinkering (or hacking, if you prefer) is an important part of our innovation economy.

Of course, many iPhone owners will be happy to choose solely from the applications that Apple is willing to approve, just like many Ford owners are happy relying exclusively on their local Ford dealer. But if you want to pop the hood, the DMCA surely shouldn't stand in your way.
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Apple Says iPhone Jailbreaking is Illegal
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Comments (13)
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istivan
istivan - February 14, 2009 at 7:49am
I understand that Apple has copyrights on its products but there is a point that Apple needs to understand. I reside in Malta (Europe) and when I bought mine I had to wait 3 days to start using my mobile phone, all Thanks and success goes to the creator of ZiPhone. There is one question behind this, Does Apple wants to increase the the Sales and Profit at the end of the year?, I'm sure the answer is yes. Then there is only one way out to do that. Make the iPhone compatable with all Networks around the World and 2nd the owner of the iPhone will decide what to install and what not to install. My iPhone is a 2G and I am running the latest firmware which is V2.2 and Apple is doing a really good job, doesn't crash, works perfect. Another thing I'd like to mention is, App Store has only few applications which I and other people can get, which are those listed as free. That is completely non-sense, why can't some countries around the world buy applications from App Store? Isn't this something that has to do with the copyrights as well, or is it Apple thinking that only American's live in this world. Well, Thanks to the creator of Cydia everyone can enjoy a whole lot of applications and live happy ever after. I don't think that this is fair on people who own an iPhone 2G or 3G, important to mention this is not referring to American iPhone users or Countries which are listed as Authorized Dealers and can buy applications through App Store or legally Unlock GSM Networks. This is referring to users that have Authorized Dealers like Malta but still are unable to buy applications from App Store or can't upgrade firmwares with ease, in other words we can't use iTunes to upgrade the firmware. Now I know that this message is completely useless because Apple will ignore all messages written to them because they will stick to their copyrights a stupid Law stuff. But there is something they need to be aware of, "HACKERS" , because they constantly provide service to countries with restrictions of Apple's Twisted Copyrights. I have no doubt that there will be an agreement on copyrights with European and Asian Countries in order that Apple will permit people to buy applications from App Store and can Legally register on iTunes and Legally Unlock GSM Networks and eliminate the hassle of Jailbreaking the iPhone. Again this is referring to countries that are unable to do this stuff. Thanks. Istivan Spiteri
Emad Shaabani
Emad Shaabani - February 13, 2009 at 6:19pm
This is really ridiculous. Ofcource I can do everything I want with my own mobile device. How can that be illegal? If I own it, then I do whatever I want with it! Is it illegal to clock my computer too? LOL
SunLizard
SunLizard - February 13, 2009 at 4:42pm
Apple has to respond in like kind in order to continue to do business as it has. It has not made any real attempt to block jailbreaking or unlocking (those motions to update baseband and change bootloading fuctionality have been largely to improve functionality/reliability. Not a direct attack on fixing the exploits used to jailbreak.) If Apple were serious about fixing holes and plugging backdoors they would have done so, they have the horsepower to do it. Also they've made no motions to take anyone to court over Jailbreaking or unlocking, if they thougt they had a legal leg to stand on they would have done so as well (Apple loves those letters...) What we have here is a corporation making a statement to re-inforce developers faith in thier business model, the AppStore. I think you will see a more of directed effort to protect against craculous and unauthorized app use, but you won't see anyone in court for the same reasons stated in the article above. Apple won't throw money into legal battles it stands to make pittance in financially... they learn from other folks mistakes (RIAA et al)
Telia
Telia - February 13, 2009 at 4:35pm
It will be interesting to see if iClarified will become like the Pirate Bay. After all, iClarified provides the most comprehensive jailbreaking tutorials
spliffalicious
spliffalicious - February 15, 2009 at 8:45am
buzzer sounds. wrong. iClarified IS a GOOD place and growing stronger. Keep looking before making broad but generalized statements
Jeff
Jeff - February 13, 2009 at 3:47pm
Back to my Original thought on this one: It's MY Toy and I'll do what the Hell I want with it! I Use ATT as the Carrier, and Apple as the base OS.. Like my Car, If I want to change it, I Will.. It's Mine and I payed for it. If someone Else want to buy it for me, I guess then They can say NO..
Naz
Naz - February 13, 2009 at 3:53pm
Actually you own the hardware, Apple owns the software (iPhone OS). You are given a license to use the OS and not own it. This is what most people don't understand. You might want to read your iPhone documentation.
Naz
Naz - February 13, 2009 at 3:02pm
I think it is just Apple covering their a$$es. I am not a lawyer but I think jailbreaking cannot be considered illegal based on the argument that it facilitate running pirated App Store applications (Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc) since jailbreaking was used originally developed to allow third party app development. However, if jailbreaking modifies the iPhone OS code then they have a case. IMO, Apple will not pursue any legal action because so far it is helping them sell more iPhones but they do need to address this issue in case it becomes a major problem for them in the future.
Thomas
Thomas - February 13, 2009 at 2:25pm
Wow! Apple is willingly admitting defeat; creatively and economically. I have to say i'm fearful of an Apple without Steve Jobs. I wish Steve all the best. Without him, pardon the pun, the Apple has lost its core.
Al
Al - February 13, 2009 at 1:59pm
It is also illegal to lock a phone in order that a customer cannot use that phone on another service in that an unlock must be made available upon request. Nice to pick and choose, Apple!
disgruntled
disgruntled - February 13, 2009 at 2:16pm
f&#k apple i am a mac fan but they need to stop saying its illegal isnt mac OSX based on freeware n linux? either way its my phone i can do whatever i want isnt that like saying windows pple cant use linux?
SunLizard
SunLizard - February 13, 2009 at 4:41pm
Apple has to respond in like kind in order to continue to do business as it has. It has not made any real attempt to block jailbreaking or unlocking (those motions to update baseband and change bootloading fuctionality have been largely to improve functionality/reliability. Not a direct attack on fixing the exploits used to jailbreak.) If Apple were serious about fixing holes and plugging backdoors they would have done so, they have the horsepower to do it. Also they've made no motions to take anyone to court over Jailbreaking or unlocking, if they thougt they had a legal leg to stand on they would have done so as well (Apple loves those letters...) What we have here is a corporation making a statement to re-inforce developers faith in thier business model, the AppStore. I think you will see a more of directed effort to protect against craculous and unauthorized app use, but you won't see anyone in court for the same reasons stated in the article above. Apple won't throw money into legal battles it stands to make pittance in financially... they learn from other folks mistakes (RIAA et al)
Osiris
Osiris - February 13, 2009 at 6:54pm
I totaly agree man, Apple lock the iphone to one phone company this is iligal. we buy they phone because is the best regarding the facts is attach to one phone company
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