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?