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Jailbreaking iPhone Now Legal

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the wait-for-the-appeal dept.

Cellphones 423

whisper_jeff writes "The US government on Monday announced new rules making it officially legal for iPhone owners to 'jailbreak' their device and run unauthorized third-party applications, as well as the ability to unlock any cell phone for use on multiple carriers." The EFF has further details on this and some of the other legal protections granted in the new rules.

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first am I ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33031654)

irst

hooray (5, Insightful)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031660)

Sudden outbreak of common sense.

Re:hooray (0)

piripiri (1476949) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031736)

About time!

Yawn. (3, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032056)

Good. I still don't want an iPhone.

Re:Yawn. (-1, Troll)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032098)

And we care because...?

Re:Yawn. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032256)

Guaranteed! This comment 100% Anthrax free!

And we care because...?

Re:hooray (4, Interesting)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032072)

Now make it so that performing this act does not void your warranty as well and I would be a happy camper. Or at least make it so that if the carrier then bricks your device on purpose to get those unlocked devices out of the market be liable to replace it.

Re:Warranty? (5, Insightful)

reezle (239894) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032500)

I've always felt that once I've bought a device it's mine to do with as I please. If I want to disassemble it, format it, load a copy of CP/M on it or cut it in half with a skill saw, that's my business.
But I certainly don't feel entitled to warranty support after I've gone out of the reasonable bounds of what the company expected me to do with the product.
They never sold the phone as a general purpose device that I can load whatever I want to on it, they shouldn't have to support it as such.
I'll gladly demand my right to enough rope to hang myself with, but only with the understanding that that is exactly what I'm getting.

Press release from EFF (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33031664)

Press release from EFF:

http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2010/07/26

What, too lazy to link? (2, Informative)

Qubit (100461) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031822)

Re:What, too lazy to link? (3, Funny)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032088)

ACs can't even log in yet and you expect them to be able to figure out how to link? ;)

Re:Press release from EFF (0)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032038)

Holy shit, does that mean that first sale doctrine, fair use, and such apply even under the draconian DMCA?

Does this mean that the "interoperability" clause applies for those who wish to run third-party software or third-party firmware?

ZOMG!

Re:Press release from EFF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032290)

Holy shit, does that mean that first sale doctrine, fair use, and such apply even under the draconian DMCA?

No.

Does this mean that the "interoperability" clause applies for those who wish to run third-party software or third-party firmware?

Yes. But remember, working toward interoperability doesn't mean pirated software that would have already worked.

Re:Press release from EFF (2, Interesting)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032456)

The DMCA only really applies when you distribute copies after circumventing copy protection. If you keep them to yourself, you are operating within the bounds of fair use and the legal protections for reverse engineering and interoperability. There is potential for instructions on how to do these tasks to be considered a form of contributory infringement (witness the status of DeCSS) but there isn't any precedent on that yet for the US.

Fail (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032156)

Sigh. My work web filter doesn't let me access eff.org. It's been classified as an "Advocacy Organization" and is therefore illegal.

Re:Fail (4, Funny)

jargon82 (996613) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032380)

I think you should contact the EFF about this issue.

Re:Press release from EFF (5, Informative)

paazin (719486) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032206)

Note, this isn't the only thing that came up. The AP mentions several more:


- allow owners of used cell phones to break access controls on their phones in order to switch wireless carriers.

- allow people to break technical protections on video games to investigate or correct security flaws.

- allow college professors, film students and documentary filmmakers to break copy-protection measures on DVDs so they can embed clips for educational purposes, criticism, commentary and noncommercial videos.

- allow computer owners to bypass the need for external security devices called dongles if the dongle no longer works and cannot be replaced.

All of which sound like pretty much what I've heard people complaining about for years now. Good to see the valid exemptions to the law are finally being updated to be somewhat logical.

Re:Press release from EFF (-1, Troll)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032338)

This is great news actually..

I am guessing we will see allot more efuse (Droid) type approaches in the future. Considering this current ruling, I wound if the vender is held legally responsable for damaging (aka bricking) a device if the intent is to prevent it from being tampered with?

Re:Press release from EFF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032450)

> allow owners of used cell phones to break access controls on their phones in order to switch wireless carriers.

Carefull there. If it involves tampering with the gsm-controller-firmware (aka baseband), this is just asking for trouble (it might not be prevented by the dmca, but the FCC could revoke a license for a device.) There *are* good reasons the basband-firmware is well protected that go beyond protecting a business model...)

Now they can make it illegal (2, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032364)

Making it legal is the backdoor way to give them the right to make it illegal. Prior to this your right to mod it came from the right of first sale. you own it. you can mod it. Now that right has been given you to a law. It shows that you did not have the right to mod it till it was explicity granted. Now it will be possible to take that right away.

If you think I'm paranoid then you don't know history. The way the government historically gains power is to grant you rights you already have, then modify them later.

Re:Now they can make it illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032478)

Does your reasoning apply to those famous amendments in the US constitution?

The US constitution certainly can be amended.

Re:Press release from EFF (1)

Shoeler (180797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032508)

Ironically, the EFF seems to have been slashdotted. Drat. :(

Now we're doomed! (4, Funny)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031690)

Now we are going to see a torrent of pornography for the iPhone! Think of the children!

Re:Now we're doomed! (5, Funny)

NickPresta (1011269) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031790)

I can't anymore! My wrist is too sore!

Re:Now we're doomed! (0, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032082)

That was absolutely hilarious. Twisted, demented, and hilarious :) Someone get this guy a +5 funny!

Re:Now we're doomed! (1)

balbus000 (1793324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032244)

You're wrist is sore from holding the iPhone the "right" way I hope?
I really do hope...for all of our sakes.

Re:Now we're doomed! (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031828)

I dunno man, the last time I was thinking of the children and downloading torrents of pornography the FBI broke down my door.

ITS A TRAP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33031708)

Steve Jobs is going fishing for suckers.

Just because the Feds say it's ok doesn't mean he won't STILL sue and WIN.

Re:ITS A TRAP! (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031988)

Steve Jobs is going fishing for suckers. Just because the Feds say it's ok doesn't mean he won't STILL sue and WIN.
Oh, you're more right than you know, I expect to see all sorts of TOS and phone contracts levy heavy penalities for jailbreaking phones, and possibly some lawsuits using "tort inducement" or some such similar legal phrase for providing info on how to jailbreak. Not to mention currently in the US the 3G freqs arent compatible and VZ and Sprint are using CDMA anyway.

A few bribes^H^H^H^H^H^H contributions will fix it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33031750)

This is an election year.

If jailbreaking was criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33031752)

Then only criminals will have jailbreaks.

Re:If jailbreaking was criminal (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032480)

Then only criminals will have jailbreaks.

Well Duh, What would a non-criminal be doing in jail?

Commercial applications on the way.... (0)

ClaraBow (212734) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031760)

I'm sure someone will come out with some cools apps with some interesting added features!

Correction: (5, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031762)

Jailbreaking iPhone WAS Legal.

Re:Correction: (2, Informative)

Lyrrad (219543) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032404)

Actually, these rules don't affect whether or not it was legal before.

This rulemaking power is built into the DMCA, and don't have any retroactive effect that as far as I can tell.

These exemptions are only for a limited time of three years. Assuming it was illegal before to jailbreak, it is would now be legal until the exemption fails to be renewed. However, actions could still be filed on jailbreaks from last week, for instance.

Re:Correction: (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032418)

So does this mean that Apple turning your legally-jailbroken iPhone into a brick is still legal too?

Re:Correction: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032444)

No, you're wrong. This is a clear change to existing law for the next three years, whereas before it would have had to have been decided by a court. If you read their explanation for their announcement, you'd understand this. Given that it involves modifying copyrighted code, it may well have been illegal either as a DMCA violation or as a matter of copyright -- depending on the court's decision, which of course depends on the defendant's pocketbook. Now it is decidedly legal.

headline? (2, Insightful)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031804)

shouldn't it be "Jailbreaking iPhone Now Not Illegal"?

Re:headline? (0)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031954)

ugh, double negatives make my head hurt.

Re:headline? (0)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032120)

ugh, double negatives make my head hurt.

They don't not make my head hurt, so it's endemic to slashdot, I suppose.

Refer to comment posted 2 comments below (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032094)

It was never illegal in the first place

Re:Refer to comment posted 2 comments below (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032452)

that's my problem with "Now Legal"... "still legal" = "now legal". "now not illegal" implies change from state.

besides, this isn't a case of legality... even if it's legal to jailbreak, apple still has the right to deny support for jailbroken phones... so you might be stuck with ONLY unauthorized apps, and might lose other functionality of the phone that requires the latest official apple update.

If anyone needs Steve Jobs (5, Funny)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031830)

He'll be in his angry dome!

Re:If anyone needs Steve Jobs (1)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032476)

Randy: "Steve? Steve? Mr. Jobs?" ...
Jobs: "Yes?"
Randy: "This is Randy Marsh, Stan's dad. Look Steve, my son has school tomorrow can you please just come out of the closet? What did you say to him?"
Stan: "I told him that jailbreaking is legal now."
Randy: "Ooooooooooh, this is gonna take a while."

My regards to Mr. Stone and Mr. Parker

It was never illegal in the first place (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33031846)

Reverse-engineering for interoperability was always covered by fair use, and that's what this is. Perhaps distribution of the software might have been illegal in some cases, but that's a non-issue since most of the iPhone Dev Team isn;t based in the US anyway.

Re:It was never illegal in the first place (2, Informative)

yar (170650) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032128)

Not quite. While reverse engineering is ordinarily legal, the anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA doesn't make allowances for fair use or other uses that may have otherwise been legal. That's one of the reasons the Section 1201 rulemaking procedure exists; to see if there are legitimate reasons for circumventing technological protection measures. I think it's a bit backwards, personally.

Re:It was never illegal in the first place (1)

yar (170650) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032306)

One caveat- reverse engineering for interoperability is specifically addressed by the statute.

I Shouldn't Have to Jailbreak It in the 1st Place (2, Insightful)

MogNuts (97512) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031864)

I shouldn't have to jailbreak it in the 1st place. I'll take the ability to have a true open market, along with superior technology. Oh, and a phone that you know, actually works and can place calls without dropping, from RIM or Google.

I could care less. Apple just isn't good enough. This story: *yawn*

Re:I Shouldn't Have to Jailbreak It in the 1st Pla (1)

uprise78 (1256084) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032210)

Oh god, here we go with the "everything should be open" talk. Just like all the RIM phones, right? And the Android phones you have to root? And the router you have to hack new firmware onto? You will never see a true open market and even if you did it most certainly wouldn't have superior technology. It's just not the way the world works man. Wake up!

Re:I Shouldn't Have to Jailbreak It in the 1st Pla (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032402)

Demonoid says you're wro- wait, you have to register there.

Carry on, good sir. Carry on.

Yeah and how about rooting Android? (1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032242)

I shouldn't have to jailbreak it in the 1st place.

Just like you shouldn't have to root Android either. But you do.

To have the fullest set of freedoms that is... which 90% of the people using the device neither need nor care about.

So wait, why should a device ship by default in a mode that only a small portion of the populace will use and that makes the device less secure and easier for the user to alter in a way they cannot recover from?

Isn't it enough that anyone who NEEDS the wider range of technical abilities, can easily activate it on demand? Why must any company ship a product made worse for the consumer because of your selfish desires?

Re:Yeah and how about rooting Android? (1)

geek (5680) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032396)

Why are you comparing rooting an Android with the iPhone being locked onto a single carrier? They are completely different issues.

The only reason to even bother rooting an android phone is to enable tethering. Something 99% of the public can't even define or explain.

Jailbreaking an iPhone or getting it to another carrier is a far more realistic and desirable goal for people. The fact you can ONLY get an iPhone if you sign up with AT&T is a major issue.

I know iPhone fans like their phone a great deal but Apple is killing their own device by locking it into AT&T's network. I know ONE person with an iPhone now. Everyone else I know is switching to Android phones for this very reason.

I myself would have considered an iPhone if it weren't for AT&T. There is a big difference between rooting a device and not even being able to get it because you can't/won't switch to the lone carrier allowed to sell it.

Re:I Shouldn't Have to Jailbreak It in the 1st Pla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032312)

This also applies to rooting Android phones, or unlocking Android phones. Don't be be a shortsighted fanboy just because the headline writer was.

Re:I Shouldn't Have to Jailbreak It in the 1st Pla (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032314)

Because of the dancing bunny issue, I wouldn't mind a hurdle steep enough to keep Joe Sixpack from jailbreaking his phone, downloading a "pr0n viewer", getting his phone infected, then bitching to the world how insecure the phone is. Something that will make him go, "gee, I might 'brick' my phone if I do this wrong" and keep his cluelessness inside the walled garden.

However, the obstacle shouldn't be too high that makes it iffish to impossible for people to know the ramifications to do it. Ideally it should be something like booting to a recovery prompt with a "$" sign, typing in something like "echo '1' > /proc/jailbrokenstatus" then rebooting, and when the phone comes on, it would be trivial to download Cydia and go to town.

The Nexus 1 had it right with the OEM Unlock command and the warning about "if you unlock this phone, there is no more warranty and any damage you bring is your own fault." Something stern enough to keep the guy with the drool cup from doing it, but someone who knows a kernel from an inode, it would be no sweat.

Re:I Shouldn't Have to Jailbreak It in the 1st Pla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032424)

lol i guess you've never actually used (or seen) any phone from rim or google?

Who cares about the Iphone? (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031888)

The real story is the video remixing: "EFF also won a groundbreaking new protection for video remix artists currently thriving on Internet sites like YouTube. The new rule holds that amateur creators do not violate the DMCA when they use short excerpts from DVDs in order to create new, noncommercial works for purposes of criticism or comment if they believe that circumvention is necessary to fulfill that purpose. Hollywood has historically taken the view that "ripping" DVDs is always a violation of the DMCA, no matter the purpose."

Re:Who cares about the Iphone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032026)

Sounds like someone in the government is a Nostalgia Critic fan... :D

Re:Who cares about the Iphone? (1)

The Hatchet (1766306) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032172)

So does that essentially mean that no more daycare centers will be sued for having disney characters painted on their walls? Now more totally absurb strain on progress created by the inability to reference other works due to overbearing copyright law? Or not?

Re:Who cares about the Iphone? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032196)

While this is a new rule, it's more of an explicit clarification. That behavior normally is converted by fair use. However, Since the DMCA was enacted, Hollywood has seem to forget about fair use for criticism, parody, etc.

Re:Who cares about the Iphone? (1)

Josh Triplett (874994) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032426)

And the DMCA and this insane exception-granting placation process means that unlike fair use, exceptions to the DMCA require someone to explicitly fight for them, with a default presumption of *not* allowing them.

Is this subject to a whim? (3, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031898)

One of the things I dislike about having things solved with regulation as opposed to laws is that regulations typically fall under the executive branch, and as such could change on a whim as administrations change. I see from the article that this is part of an list of exemptions (from the DMCA?) that is set by the U.S. Copyright Office in the Library of Congress. At a risk of showing my ignorance, is this a Legislative office, or an Executive one? How are its members appointed, how easy is it for them to add/revoke things, etc?

Re:Is this subject to a whim? (5, Informative)

yar (170650) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032074)

The Librarian of Congress is appointed by the President. The Register of Copyrights is appoints by the Librarian.

There is an extensive rule-making procedure for this process (Section 1201 rulemaking- see the featured link at copyright.gov). Unfortunately, those asking for the exemptions generally bear the burden of proof, and have to ask for the exemptions every three years. It is difficult to plan based on these exemptions.

Re:Is this subject to a whim? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032164)

The Library of Congress reports to Congress. It is, therefore, a legislative body. One of their mandates is to advise Congress on matters involving copyright but Congress can still ultimately decide how to act.

In this specific case, the Library of Congress themselves faces issues related to copyright as they attempt to archive materials themselves.

Re:Is this subject to a whim? (Am Gov 101) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032248)

The three branches of government: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.

The legislative branch consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. No relation to who is President at all, other than that the VP casts the tiebreaking vote in the Senate. These are the people who come up with proposed laws (bills) and try to get them passed. Any bill must bounce back and forth between the House and Senate until they agree and decide it should pass before it goes before the President.

The executive branch consists of the President. He signs bills into law. He also appoints certain members of the Judicial branch.

The Judicial branch enforces the laws. They are the court system, most notably the Supreme court. As members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the president, but serve lifetime terms, this is where the President has the most lasting effects.

All three branches are involved in the creation and sustainment of laws/regulations. No one branch is more powerful than the others - each balances the others out.

That being said, the LoC (as part of Congress) is part of the Legislative branch, under the oversight of your Congresscritters.
http://www.loc.gov/about/

Have fun.

Re:Is this subject to a whim? (1)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032266)

I don't know why no one else is asking that question. Everyone just falls in lock step with the idea that rights are "allowed" by the government. The constitution is clear on that matter.

Yawn... (2, Interesting)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031924)

What it doesn't say is that Apple (or others) have to make it easy to do, or that they can't "unintentionally" brick your phone if you do.

Re:Yawn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032022)

Would they even have to do it 'unintentionally'? They tell you not to do something, you do it, and it breaks, I don't see how they could be at fault for that.

Just because it is legal now doesn't mean Apple has to let you do it.

Re:Yawn... (1)

The Hatchet (1766306) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032250)

There is a GIANT difference between "whoops, I did something in the core OS of the phone and it died" and "I installed a harmless 3rd party application, and Apple got the signal and sent a kill code that broke my phone". The first is a stupid mistake, the second is a disgusting abuse of anything and everything. Bastards.

Re:Yawn... (1)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032356)

Well, there could be case for 'maliciously' attacking those who jailbreak their phones, as almost happened with Apple. It may not be technically illegal, but it sure makes you look like a shit. Personally, I think Apple is a little different from other companies in that its products *are* a closed system. Like them or not, they work because it's Apple from top to bottom. The second you put a third party app or hardware add-on into the mix, support and product development are going to take a HUGE hit. Just ask Microsoft.

Re:Yawn... (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032052)

I think you hit on a good point but it's bigger than that. In a sense all DRM is infringing on the public's right to Fair Use. This is no different.

More work for me? (1)

snowboardin159 (1744212) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031946)

Tech support for iphones, wonder if this is gonna make more work for me, cuz up til now that void's your warranty, idk if that will change now.

Re:More work for me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032220)

This has nothing to do with warranties. You can legally put an iPhone through a blender, too, but I'd imagine the warranty wouldn't cover that.

Obama's socialism continues unabated. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33031966)

Another big win for those who wish to see all private property become "communal". Good work Komrade Obama!

And the problem with socialism is what exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032408)

And the problem with socialism is what exactly? I can give you all sorts of examples of how capitalism has caused harm and is evil. That is why USians still cling on to capitalism while every one else is embracing socialism and communism.

Sincerely,
Signed:

The rest of the world.

iPod Touch and Playstation 3 Linux? (3, Interesting)

Niris (1443675) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031970)

So do these new exceptions apply to the iPod Touch as well? I would assume so since it's the same app process, but RFA only mentioned phones. Also what about the Playstation 3 and how they don't allow Linux anymore, would this fall under this, too?

Re:iPod Touch and Playstation 3 Linux? (-1, Troll)

Niris (1443675) | more than 4 years ago | (#33031998)

Would that fall under this* *shudders* Using "this" twice in that sentence bugged me after rerereading it.

Re:iPod Touch and Playstation 3 Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032442)

So do these new marklars apply to the marklar as well? I would assume so since it's the same marklar, but marklar only mentioned marklars. Also what about the marklar and how marklar don't allow marklar anymore, would marklar fall under marklar, too?

Re:iPod Touch and Playstation 3 Linux? (2, Informative)

Lyrrad (219543) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032288)

No, it wouldn't apply to the iPod Touch or PS3.

The exemptions are limited to exactly what the Librarian puts in their rules. Because the rule in question only mentions "wireless telephone handsets', it would not apply to iPod touches or PS3's.

The provision is as follows:

Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.

The full list of exemptions is here [loc.gov]

There is a video game exception, but it only applies to those on PC's and only if used for security testing.

Still not as good as a repeal/amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33031996)

This is good, but not as good as a repeal or amendment of the DMCA so that the anti-circumvention provisions do not apply if the use of the copyrighted material is otherwise legal (e.g., if something qualifies as fair use == automatic irrelevance of any circumvention provisions). Having a few officially-recognized exceptions is nice, but the whole idea that protection measures can trump fair use and other legitimate uses is wrong in principle.

Pre-paids. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032004)

"The US government on Monday announced new rules make it officially legal for iPhone owners to 'jailbreak' their device and run unauthorized third-party applications, as well as the ability to unlock any cell phone for use on multiple carriers."

Doesn't apply to pre-paid phones like Net-10 and Straight talk.

Legality vs. Ability (3, Interesting)

clinko (232501) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032024)

I don't think legality was holding people back. It mainly was the technical expertise to do so.

I think jailbreaking will be still limited to the hobbiest.

To use a car analogy (Which will be replied to with a better analogy proving me wrong):
Now everyone can put "illegal" flamethrower pipes on their car and not get arrested, but who's going to do it but hobbiest?

hobby, hobbier, hobbiest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032152)

I think jailbreaking will be still limited to the hobbiest....who's going to do it but hobbiest?

Yeah, the hobbier you are, the more likely you are to Jailbreak. Less-hobby users either won't know how to do it, or won't run into the limitations of the stock configuration anyway.

Re:Legality vs. Ability (1)

unix1 (1667411) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032216)

I don't think legality was holding people back. It mainly was the technical expertise to do so.

Before this narrow exemption, it was illegal. Because it was illegal, it was not commercialized. What if there were booths in the mall that (after installing your screen protector, or selling you an accessory) offered you to jailbreak your iPhone for extra few bucks? They could even demo some of the cool apps for you right there. Not everyone would do it, but many easily could.

I think jailbreaking will be still limited to the hobbiest.

To use a car analogy (Which will be replied to with a better analogy proving me wrong):
Now everyone can put "illegal" flamethrower pipes on their car and not get arrested, but who's going to do it but hobbiest?

If you must use a car analogy, it's more like installing non-factory accessories (navigation, entertainment system, bigger wheels, different headlights, etc.). Many do it, and there is a healthy market for it.

Re:Legality vs. Ability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032254)

Well, illegal flamethrower pipes aren't very useful. It's more like: a car requires expensive 92 octane fuel, not for performance, but because the car's manufacturer was paid by oil companies to put a sensor in the engine that shuts it off if anything less than 92 octane fuel comes in. Now, it's legal to hack the sensor to permit cheap, 87 octane fuel, which runs just as well as 92 in this car.

Re:Legality vs. Ability (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032410)

True but now there is a question of legality if Apple decided to try and brick all jail-broken phones. Before this there would have been no question about Apple bricking the devices since they would have been illegally modified iPhones.

Fuck Apple.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032040)

..and their Kool_Aid Consumpting Collaborators (sorry, Customers..) - theres some good stuff here:

  allow owners of used cell phones to break access controls on their phones in order to switch wireless carriers.

  allow people to break technical protections on video games to investigate or correct security flaws.

  allow college professors, film students and documentary filmmakers to break copy-protection measures on DVDs so they can embed clips for educational purposes, criticism, commentary and noncommercial videos.

  allow computer owners to bypass the need for external security devices called dongles if the dongle no longer works and cannot be replaced.

- Like, Result! Cheers!

Distribution of jailbreaking tools still illegal (5, Interesting)

Lyrrad (219543) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032054)

Note that the Librarian of Congress Rulemaking provision only exempts the circumvention provisions of the DMCA. The Librarian cannot exempt individuals from the distribution provisions of the DMCA.

So, while you can now legally jailbreak your phone, it would still be illegal to distribute the software program itself.

Does this mean... (4, Interesting)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032112)

That Apple isn't allowed to do anything warranty-wise if you jailbreak your iphone in the future? Could they refuse to replace a broken glass screen if they find out your iphone is or was ever jailbroken, JUST BECAUSE it was jailbroken?

Otherwise I don't see any implications for the end user. It's not like if you went into an Apple store with a jailbroken iphone the authorities were called to arrest you. Also, the people involved in the jailbreak process haven't exactly been trying to hide their work, they even have videos of them in the process.

Re:Does this mean... (2, Interesting)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032472)

All the law say is that it's not illegal *for you* to jailbreak your phone. It does NOT say that Apple has to provide warrantee coverage for your *modified* phone. Nothing has really changed here.

Re:Does this mean... (2, Insightful)

DutchSter (150891) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032474)

That Apple isn't allowed to do anything warranty-wise if you jailbreak your iphone in the future? Could they refuse to replace a broken glass screen if they find out your iphone is or was ever jailbroken, JUST BECAUSE it was jailbroken?

No it just means that Apple can't sue you for $250,000 in compensatory damages for violating the DMCA and you won't go to jail. Of course they can still refuse to honor your warranty for things you've done that you agreed to not do as a condition of getting service (i.e. a warranty) from them.

Re:Does this mean... (1)

Wingman 5 (551897) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032528)

This makes it so you are not breaking the law when you jailbreak your phone (DMCA circumvention law) however you are still under the terms of your "contract" with apple ( X number of days to revive a free warranty repair as long as you do not modify the hardware or software of the device)

A rare occasion to say this proudly (0, Offtopic)

beefnog (718146) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032130)

America... FUCK YEAH!

Not 100% legal (1)

odin84gk (1162545) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032304)

They just can't use the DMCA in their defense. They may find some other loophole to prosecute you, and they may still brick your phone with some kind of firmware update.

can you hear me now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032340)

can you hear me now?

Apple's Claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33032348)

"Apple's claim that copyright law prevents people from installing unapproved programs on iPhones"

I can't even describe the extent to which hearing this makes me sick.

Now Only If This Would Happen In... (0, Flamebait)

mlauzon (818714) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032378)

Canada, but it'll never happen as the CRTC is outdated and the lap dog of big busineses!

Disturbing (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032436)

Is anyone else disturbed that the Copyright Office is allowed to rewrite copyright law? That's Congress's job, and they shouldn't be allowed to defer it to an unelected body.

Issues (1)

helix2301 (1105613) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032448)

Well I think this is good for people that want to use there phones on other carriers. The only thing this has the potential to make the phone unstable or have a security vulnerability. I think if you want to jailbreak the phone be prepared for the consequences. Not to mention Apple might not give you support because you jail broke the phone. You could always fall back on the forums. But at least now its legal to do this.

What about rooting your 'droid? (1)

Keyslapper (852034) | more than 4 years ago | (#33032524)

I notice nothing is mentioned about simply rooting your android.

I haven't been able to find a definitive declaration, but I've been told and have read reports that rooting my DInc will result in a voided warranty.

IMO, this is like buying a Windows machine, but not having the right to administrative access.

What if I want to continue getting updates on the OS, but I also want to uninstall the crapware? I know there's very little on the DInc, but from what I hear and read, the X is choked with it. And these 'crapps' are using phone and network resources. What if you have a limited data plan (and regardless of what Verizon says, it will happen sooner or later), and your phone passively uses more than twice the data bandwidth you use actively? $$$$ out the window and into your carrier's pocket.

So, the real question (for me, anyhow), is does this apply to Android?
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