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Jailbreaking iPhone Now Legal 423

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wait-for-the-appeal dept.
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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Jailbreaking iPhone Now Legal

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  • hooray (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) on Monday July 26, 2010 @12:22PM (#33031660)

    Sudden outbreak of common sense.

  • Correction: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clone53421 (1310749) on Monday July 26, 2010 @12:25PM (#33031762) Journal

    Jailbreaking iPhone WAS Legal.

  • headline? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Michael Kristopeit (1751814) on Monday July 26, 2010 @12:27PM (#33031804)
    shouldn't it be "Jailbreaking iPhone Now Not Illegal"?
  • by MogNuts (97512) on Monday July 26, 2010 @12:29PM (#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*

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday July 26, 2010 @12:31PM (#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."
  • by nebaz (453974) on Monday July 26, 2010 @12:31PM (#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?

  • Yawn. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Monday July 26, 2010 @12:38PM (#33032056)
    Good. I still don't want an iPhone.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 26, 2010 @12:40PM (#33032094)

    It was never illegal in the first place

  • by DutchSter (150891) on Monday July 26, 2010 @12:59PM (#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:Warranty? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by reezle (239894) on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:00PM (#33032500) Homepage

    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.

  • by Arccot (1115809) on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:04PM (#33032550)

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

    One major ability that is missing is format shifting. That one is a biggie, and I doubt it'll be fixed anytime soon as long as MPAA/RIAA keeps its strength.

  • "Just like all the RIM phones"? What's your problem with a Java development environment which allows you to develop apps or to install those developed by RIM either through your desktop or BES, with RIM neither knowing nor caring?

  • Re:hooray (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jgagnon (1663075) on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:13PM (#33032712)

    Not likely... forcing a company to support (for free) something you willingly broke through modification would be pretty stupid.

  • Re:hooray (Score:3, Insightful)

    by marcansoft (727665) <hector@marcan s o f t . c om> on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:16PM (#33032758) Homepage

    But forcing a company to support (for free) hardware that broke due to a manufacturing or design defect whether you happened to install unofficial software on it or not would be a pretty good idea.

  • by Caerdwyn (829058) on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:19PM (#33032826) Journal

    So how long will it be before people are thoroughly bricking their own iPhones with bad firmware updates and bad applications, getting their identities stolen, then blaming Apple? I can smell the lawyers and the puddles already.

    If people want to jailbreak their cell phones, fine, but with that comes absolute responsibility. Not one word of blame on the provider or manufacturer, including when your credit card is suddenly maxed from Thailand, or when the FCC comes knocking on your door because you downloaded a cell-tower spammer that you thought was a jiggly-boobs app. You don't get to sue, you don't get to say it's Apple's fault, and you get to pay for the trouble you cause.

    Scream "freedom" all you want, but recognize that with it comes the full burden of the consequences of your actions. If... and only if... you can handle that, enjoy your iPhone on T-mobile or wherever else. I'm all for being able to go to other carriers, but if the process involves downloading a firmware image from Russia, yeah, I'll pass.

  • Re:Warranty? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:21PM (#33032852)
    But you buy the -hardware- unless you are overclocking the CPU or something, they should have to allow warranty claims for hardware issues. Just because I run Linux on my laptop, if the screen dies, I expect the hardware company to pay for it if it is under warranty. Granted, if I try to install RAM that isn't compatible with the system and I break the sockets, of course the hardware company shouldn't have to pay for it.

    No matter what you do with the software, it shouldn't ever break hardware barring overclocking and the like and so they should still have to allow claims for hardware issues.
  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:24PM (#33032906) Homepage Journal

    I never needed the government's permission before why should I now?
    Relaxing imaginary DMCA restrictions makes the new government look like a hero while quietly ignoring the elephant in the room.

    Should our leaders be lauded for adding exceptions to an already complex legal system. Is it impossible for us to tear down two laws and replace it with one simpler law. Or will entropy in this political organism carry us to our downfall?

  • by bm_luethke (253362) <luethkeb&comcast,net> on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:26PM (#33032932)

    No more or less than before - it only means that you are no longer in violation of the DMCA (which isn't even saying it is "legal" either, it just means that one law can't be used to say it is illegal).

    Since as far as I know Apple wasn't suing anyone over it anyway then there isn't a change at all.

  • by webdog314 (960286) on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:27PM (#33032956)

    I'm still not sure this would prevent them from doing this. You sign a contract when you buy one of their phones that says you won't modify it (jailbreak). It doesn't matter if the act of doing so is no longer a punishable crime according to the law, it's still in the contract. Apple can 'punish' you in any way they want (cancel your warrantee, refuse to service the device, even brick it). It pretty much makes them look like assholes, but that's a different issue.

  • Re:hooray (Score:4, Insightful)

    by click2005 (921437) * on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:32PM (#33033038)

    Now Apple will add some DRM style component to future Iphones and the game will continue.

    Does making jailbreaking legal also make it illegal for Apple to 'accidentally' brick your phone with the
    next Ios update because you installed 'incompatible' software.

  • Re:hooray (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:40PM (#33033230) Homepage Journal

    You're asking a bit to much with that. When I buy an automobile, I can change out the computer chip to make it high performance, or to make it more fuel efficient, or in some cases, to do both at the same time.

    I can change the exhaust, and put headers on it.

    I can change the wheels and tires.

    I can do all kinds of crazy shit with a car, if I want to. Change the heads, change the cam, bore and stroke the thing, you name it.

    But, I have no right to expect Chevy, Ford, or any other auto vendor to warrant that the car will run well with my changes.

  • Re:Warranty? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by badboy_tw2002 (524611) on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:47PM (#33033368)

    And Apple is supposed to have to have some super investigation team to go out there and figure out what's wrong with it, and whether anything you did to the phone actually caused the problem? There are all kinds of things software can do to brick a device - there are tons of examples of this. Like the GP said, don't stop me from tinkering on it and I won't call you when I break it.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday July 26, 2010 @01:55PM (#33033508) Homepage Journal

    The Obama administration is onboard the ACTA train. I don't think the administration had anything to do with this DMCA business. It runs contrary to ACTA, IMHO.

  • by pslam (97660) on Monday July 26, 2010 @02:12PM (#33033876) Homepage Journal

    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?

    Stop spreading this. It's not true. Did you know practically every embedded chip shipping these days has eFuses in it? Do you know what they're used for? Configuration, unique IDs (e.g MAC address) and other minor things. NOT to cause bricking.

    This whole thing started from a so-called hacker putting 2 + 2 together and getting 23948304958. He has no idea what he's talking about, and this has been refuted many times. But it's so easy to start a malicious rumor in the tech press these days because the tech press apparently has nobody who fact checks.

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Monday July 26, 2010 @02:18PM (#33033970)

    Really hate to burst everyones "hoorays!" and "it's about time" comments, but I really don't see how this is going to change matters much with any provider out there. Seems to me they would still reserve the right to only support phones that they sell and configure.

    If you can manage to get your phone working on their networks without violating the TOS and don't need support (like, ever), then perhaps this will be beneficial. But chances are you were doing this anyway...

  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Monday July 26, 2010 @02:19PM (#33033984) Journal

    It is a form of denying the antecedent:

    The courts have affirmed my right to mod, therefore it is legal. Had they not affirmed my right to mod, it would not have been legal for me to do it.

  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Monday July 26, 2010 @02:19PM (#33033998)

    I guess my point is, if I'm going to build a product I'll charge whatever I want, put whatever rules on it I want and for those who don't like it can go buy something else

    You can try to put any rule on it you want. But unless you can get the government to ultimately back you up with enforcement, people can and will simply ignore your rules.

    In this case, the government just said that they aren't backing you up. Too bad for you. Try a different plan.

    You also don't have a god-given right to use government resources to enforce any unrealistic business model you want.

  • Re:hooray (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jpmorgan (517966) on Monday July 26, 2010 @02:30PM (#33034202) Homepage

    Sure, but you can expect Chevy, Ford or any other auto vendor to fix factory defects in the paintwork, for example. Or if the radio breaks.

    Making modifications may partially void your warranty. But only if they can prove your modifications caused the problem. That's the law.

  • Re:Warranty? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GreyWolf3000 (468618) on Monday July 26, 2010 @02:33PM (#33034250) Journal

    But you buy the -hardware- unless you are overclocking the CPU or something, they should have to allow warranty claims for hardware issues. Just because I run Linux on my laptop, if the screen dies, I expect the hardware company to pay for it if it is under warranty. Granted, if I try to install RAM that isn't compatible with the system and I break the sockets, of course the hardware company shouldn't have to pay for it.

    No matter what you do with the software, it shouldn't ever break hardware barring overclocking and the like and so they should still have to allow claims for hardware issues.

    What you want is for Apple to invest money to make sure their hardware is fault tolerant against buggy software that hasn't even been written yet. Software that could only be installed by deliberately escaping the insulated ecosystem they already invested money building.

    You're perspective is way off. And I'm by no means a fanboy.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday July 26, 2010 @02:50PM (#33034568)

    No, it is *exactly* the same thing.

    Whatever motivations are behind it are irrelevant, it is *exactly* the same.

    I see what you're trying to do (downplay the negatives about Android vendor lock phones and the need to root them to be able to do things with them), but in reality, both iPhone and some Android phones have this problem.

  • Re:Warranty? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dwightk (415372) on Monday July 26, 2010 @03:12PM (#33034966) Homepage Journal

    There were bricked iPhones due to software unlocks. Granted, they were eventually unbricked

    do you even know what "bricked" means?

  • Re:Warranty? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Duradin (1261418) on Monday July 26, 2010 @03:27PM (#33035230)

    Bricked is the new "literally".

  • Re:hooray (Score:3, Insightful)

    by clone53421 (1310749) on Monday July 26, 2010 @04:56PM (#33036598) Journal

    Actually, the manufacturer is obligated to honour the warranty on the car even if you replace the engine, as long as the damage wasn’t caused by you or the modification that you did. Likewise, the warranty on the engine you took out will still be good if you put it in a different car, again as long as the damage isn’t caused by it operating in a different car than it was designed to be used in.

    No guarantee will be made that the stuff will play nicely together as expected, but the parts should all continue to function as designed.

  • Re:hooray (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jaime2 (824950) on Monday July 26, 2010 @07:16PM (#33038016)
    A contract cannot remove rights granted by an act of congress (Magnussen-Moss Warranty Act). Just because Apple does it, doesn't mean it's legal. There are a lot of tricky details, but as a general rule a company cannot refuse to honor a warranty simply because they don't want to. Any contract language suggesting otherwise is void and may void larger parts of the contract. The more the refusal seems to be tied to locking in additional sales (app store), the more likely a court would frown upon the refusal.
  • Re:Warranty? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday July 26, 2010 @08:11PM (#33038620)

    No matter what you do with the software, it shouldn't ever break hardware barring overclocking and the like and so they should still have to allow claims for hardware issues.

    Unless Apple is somehow magically immune to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act [wikipedia.org], that is how it works. Why nobody appears to be calling Apple out on it, I don't know.

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