Apple Says Jailbreaking iPhones is a Copyright Violation


jailbreaking iphonesLast week, Apple declared that it was tired of being pwned by iPhone jailbreakers.

In a brief to the U.S. Copyright Office, Apple's attorneys argued that jailbreaking the iPhone violates its copyright under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Apple asked the Copyright Office to reject a request for an exemption, filed by the the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Earlier this year, The EFF filed for the exemption, asking the Copyright Office to "lift the legal cloud hanging over cell phone customers who modify their phones."

Jailbreaking gives iPhone owners the opportunity to use applications other than those available in the iTunes App Store, according of EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick. "The DMCA is supposed to protect copyrighted works, not reduce competition and consumer choice. Cell phone users need a clear message from the Copyright Office that modification is protected."

Apple asked the Copyright Office to reject the exemption because jailbreakers have created unauthorized, derivative versions of the iPhone's bootloader and OS. According to its attorneys, "Copies of those infringing works have been stored on Web sites, and infringing reproductions of those works are created each time they are downloaded through Pwnage Tool and loaded onto the iPhone."

Jailbroken phones also make it possible to run pirated copies of applications to run on the iPhone, further infringing on the rights of copyright holders and reducing the incentive to create apps for the phone.

The EFF believes legalizing jailbreaking would lead to and stimulate open market for iPhone and iPod touch apps.

On the EFF's blog, Fred von Lohmann, the EFF's senior staff attorney asserted Apple is more interested in "shackling iPhone owners to the iTunes App Store," than protecting its copyright.

"It's all about limiting competition and innovation on the iPhone platform," Lohmann wrote. "For example, Apple has refused to approve iPhone apps that compete with Apple's own software, such as Mail, Safari, and iTunes. Apple has also censored ebooks from the App Store. And developers of iPhone VoIP applications have also encountered inexplicable delays in app approval."

Do you thinkjailbreaking should be accepted?

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  • Elvis

    It's "pwned" not "pawned". "Pwned" is hacker-speak for "owned."

  • Chicago 2016

    Let them do what they want with Jailbreaking; there are just as many good apps in the App Store unless you're an app junkie. What I want is for them to lift the AT&T monopoly and let us legally unlock them so people can use them with any GSM carrier. Their contract expires this year, no? I wonder what'll happen next...

  • 8lias

    I jailbreak because of the themes. So many creative artists created so many cool themes that makes the iPhone's visually much better looking. We are in a customizing trend, just look at the car industry, a Hummer isn't cool anymore unless it's customized. It's about choices, characters, uniqueness. Beside, it's my own responsibility for jailbreaking the phone, I am not going to complaint to Apple because I decided go against it's instruction. At the end of the day, it's all about money.

  • Michael

    I think if you buy the phone you can do whatever u wanna do to it. its your money... Personally I have the iPhone 3G FW 2.2.1 Jail-broken and Unlocked... I paid the full price for mine and i wanna do what i wanna do legal or not,

  • App developer

    I can understand some of the good reasons to unlock the iPhone, creative works and more. The thing that worries me as an app developer is that someone will release a pirated copy of my app and allow people to use it without paying for the time spent and the years behind the framework. Not only that but since mine is server based, and does not contain ads, that same user is not paying their fair share of the expense to keep the service up and running. This could mean a loss of service for everyone in the long run.

    The system is there to keep the honest people honest, and to make it at least a little difficult or minimally bothersome for someone who is going to do it anyway. Not only that but the app store creates a central location for everyone to go to get the apps. It makes finding new apps easier for everyone. I personally like it for that reason alone.

  • Neal Hamou

    Great comments guys keep 'em coming.

  • dashzed

    quite honestly I am scared to jailbreak my ipod touch. I mean, i spent 200 bucks on that thing I'm not going to risk killing it. I'm perfectlly happy being shackled to the app store, i just wish they would release more apps.

  • exNewt

    Jailbreaking does not 'break' your phone. There are sooo many apps available (copy/paste, view Flash videos, video recorder, themes up the wazoo, the South Park app that was not allowed in the App Store) that it is an advantage to do this.