iPhone Jailbreaking Legal

By David Kravets Email Author

Federal regulators lifted a cloud of uncertainty when they announced it was lawful to hack or “jailbreak” an iPhone, declaring Monday there was “no basis for copyright law to assist Apple in protecting its restrictive business model.”

Jailbreaking is hacking the phone’s OS to allow consumers to run any app on the phone they choose, including applications not authorized by Apple.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation asked regulators 19 months ago to add jailbreaking to a list of explicit exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions.

At stake for Apple is the very closed business model the company has enjoyed since 2007, when the iPhone debuted. Apple says it’s unlawful to jailbreak, (.pdf) but has not taken legal action against the millions who have jailbroken their phones and used the underground app store Cydia.

Apple maintains that its closed marketplace is what made the success of the iPhone possible, and sold more than three billion apps. Apple also told regulators that the nation’s cellphone networks could suffer “potentially catastrophic” cyberattacks by iPhone-wielding hackers at home and abroad (.pdf) if iPhone owners are permitted to legally jailbreak their shiny wireless devices.

Every three years, the Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office entertain proposed exemptions to the DMCA, passed in 1998. The act forbids circumventing encryption technology to copy or modify copyrighted works. In this instance, Apple claimed the DMCA protects the copyrighted  encryption built into the bootloader that starts up the iPhone OS operating system.

But the Copyright Office concluded that, “while a copyright owner might try to restrict the programs that can be run on a particular operating system, copyright law is not the vehicle for imposition of such restrictions.”

A federal appeals court came to the same conclusion last week in an unrelated dispute about “dongles,” or keys that grant access to software. “The owner’s technological measure must protect the copyrighted material against an infringement of a right that the Copyright Act protects, not from mere use or viewing,” (.pdf) the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a case concerning a software licensing flap between MGE UPS Systems and GE Consumer and Industrial.

Jay Freeman, who runs Cydia, said about nine million iPhones have his alternative marketplace installed on their phones. “If there was something on the books that jailbreaking was not exempt, that would be painful,” Freeman said. The Dev-Team, one of the main groups offering free iPhone hacks, declared Monday’s development as “fantastic news.”

Mario Ciabarra, chief technical officer of Rock Your Phone, which sells an application to turn an iPhone into a Wi-Fi hotspot, said the the Copyright Office’s decision is a “big win for consumers and applications developers” and has given the jailbreak community “the legitimacy it deserves.”

Apple told regulators that modifying the iPhone operating system leads to the creation of an infringing derivative work that is protected by copyright law. The Cupertino-based computer maker also claimed that the license on the operating system forbids software modification.

Monday’s decision, (.pdf) which applies to all mobile smart phones and not the iPad, does not require Apple or other handset makers to allow jailbreaking. Instead, it makes it lawful to circumvent controls designed to block jailbreaking.

Previous iPhone Easily Subscribe to US Holidays, Sports Team Schedules, Movie Release Dates, and More!
Next Ways to Unlock The Potential Of a BlackBerry

About author

Jarrett Gucci
Jarrett Gucci 289 posts

Jarrett Gucci is the owner of Dynasty Web Solutions. A full service Internet presence provider specializing in WordPress development for business owners. Jarrett Gucci along with his team of professionals have designed over 400 WordPress websites. Jarrett Gucci believes strongly in creating websites that are unique, functional and generate referrals.

You might also like

Mobile Technology 0 Comments

Two LinkedIn Secrets You Never Knew: Picking Up the Phone and Joining Groups

LinkedIn is one of the most popular networks used by professionals to network with each other. Although Twitter and Facebook are awesome tools for keeping in getting information on things

Mobile Technology 0 Comments

BlackBerry Secret Codes

BlackBerry Secret Codes Decibel meter. Displays your signal strength in decibels, instead of bars. Hold “Alt” and press “N”, “M”, “L”, “L” (repeat to reverse the effect). Address Book file

Mobile Technology 0 Comments

iPhone Tethering Make Your iPhone a mobile Modem

Are you an iPhone user? Does your patience with AT&T and its lack of tethering get your goat? Well, here’s your chance to bring tethering to your iPhone without official

Mobile Technology 0 Comments

12 iPhone Tricks You Might Not Have Known

Update: When you’re done reading this, check out 8 More iPhone Tricks You Might Not Know. Whether you’re an iPhone rookie or a weathered pro, take a look at these

Mobile Technology 0 Comments

Avoid Disneyland Lines? New iPhone App for that!

If you have an iPhone and plan to visit Disneyland on your vacation, then you need this brand new application to use when you get to the Maingates. Released today, June

Mobile Technology 0 Comments

No Phone Number Means Less Business | Dynasty Web Solutions

Having a highly visible phone number on your Website will help improve the profits of your company. Even though you may not receive a lot of calls from your website,

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply