Apple officially declares iPhone jailbreaks illegal

By Justin Mann on February 14, 2009, 5:09 PM
Since the release of the iPhone, people have worked to get out of the locked shell the phone normally boots in. The principal reason behind this is to install and run software that Apple doesn't endorse or approve of, which given their rather draconian App Store entrance rules, is a considerable amount. At a convention with the Copyright Office, where a decision is to be made regarding DRM circumvention, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has been petitioning to make jailbreaking the iPhone an area that is “exempt” from any copyright law, letting people do it without worry. They are seeking to enable the execution of “lawfully obtained software” on any phone, regardless of what the manufacturer feels is OK to run. Apple does not agree.

In fact, they have come out to say that any circumvention of the software protection mechanisms on the iPhone, even doing it to your own for the purpose of running your own software, is an illegal copyright violation. Apple says that allowing the iPhone to be jailbroken will harm the creation of creative works for the platform. Even though that makes no sense, with any artificial restriction doing more to prevent development as opposed to encouraging it, Apple is dead set on convincing lawmakers and the world that allowing people to jailbreak the iPhone should be considered a crime and would result in the the platform suffering.

It's a very interesting debate, and clearly demonstrates how Apple truly feels about iPhone as a platform. The result of the meeting will have a big impact one way or the other, though I personally hope it swings in favor of the EFF. Do you feel that Apple is in the wrong by claiming that it is illegal to jailbreak a device you paid for?

User Comments: 15

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darkshadoe said:
Just curious..running software on a phone, would that go against Alexander G. Bell's copyright? lolApple keeps giving me more and more reasons not to buy their products.
xXxZxXx said:
That's stupid you should be able to do what ever you want to the merchandise you paid for. Now if your device breaks because of it being jailbroken or breaks just out for what ever reason and I'd jail broken then it should be just to where your warranty is voided but making it a law because their loose their loosing out on the things they don't believe in, I mean their should limitations so the phones don't start getting infected.
howzz1854 said:
Should this come as a surprise coming from apple? No. For years they've always always run thier product like a religion. What they're saying is once you're in their church, they own every part of you. Doesn't matter if you own it, because they own you. They're the modern capital soviet communist. What's yours is theirs and what's theirs is still theirs. If you look it up, That's the fundamental idea of communism.It's sad because just while you think some of their product is innovative, they decide to take your rights away.
iSteven said:
This is like if Chevy or Ford started saying you can't put another manufacturer's engine in their car you bought from them and now own right? Its more of the deception and lies that rule this world today, God is watching and I don't think he is happy with anyone here lately. LOL....
camuss15 said:
As long as there are rules and restrictions set in place by companies, there will be measures to circumvent every single one. This has been true for as long as I can remember and I believe it will continue to be true for years to come as long as there are restrictions. Pirates cannot be stopped and groups that jailbreak phones and other devices will not stop regardless of the illegality of the process involved. It may hurt companies these are produced by, but I think that the more rules in place, the more ways to bypass them there will be and the larger the group of people doing so will continue to grow.
xXxZxXx said:
Well we all know as long as theirs restrictions on the device it will continue to have the option to get jail broken. Do they really think that's going to stop anything, people copy DVDs even tho theirs a DVD warning and a hefty fine on every movie. Under certain circumstances laws are made to be broken. It's pisses the maker off even more because he knows he can't do a damn thing about it. But hey I jail broke my iPhone and it was cool at first but this device can't handle all that theirs not enough memory. And I went ahead and restored mine and I miss customizing the phone but it runs so much better.
Julio said:
Although many of you have focused on the way "Apple does things", the actual issue for them may be on defending the cash cow the App Store has turned into.At this pace they could be making more money out of applications commissions than the device itself, sort of like iPods and the iTunes store.I still have mine jailbroken due to the service provider constraints which IMO is bs.
firesoul1 said:
How is infringing on copyrights since most people jailbreak it for their own personal uses?Apple has no right to market a product that has so much potential for creativity yet wants to restricts its users from tapping into what apple cant. I think Apple is doing this because the people who want something better (and most likely will) are going to jailbreak and the company wont see a penny. Still the iPhone i an expensive piece of product and ill be damned if anyone tells me what i should or should not do with it.
captain828 said:
And THAT... is why I don't want to buy an iPhone, even if it's the best touch phone and that we have to agree to.I'm getting me a Nokia 5800 instead... cheaper, more functional, no carrier restrictions and no stupid software restrictions.
Wendig0 said:
This sounds similar to what Microsoft did with the xbox, making it so anyone with a modified xbox couldn't access the xbox live service, though Microsoft hasn't made this "illegal" yet. I feel that if I am going to spend $300 on a product, or even $0.10 for that matter, that it is MINE alone to do with what I please. I personally have never been one to bow down to Gestapo tactics, and I don't plan on starting. Let Apple try to track me down for having 3rd party software on my iPhone. They can brick it all they want, I will still find the cracks I need to do with it as I please. I haven't even used the app store to get software for it.This also vaquely reminds me of prohibition, where the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol for consumption was banned. That didn't work too well either. People resent being told what to do. That is the simple nature of things.
JDoors said:
Meh. Apple's always run their computer empire this way to maximize their profit margin, that's all they're asking for their phones too. If you don't agree with the contract they present, don't buy the darn phone.I'm not sure Apple's death-grip on independant innovation will work the same on the two very different platforms, but I guess we'll see soon enough.
old101 said:
Apple were first with a true home computer - Apple IIa I believe it was called. Thirty years later they now enjoy 5% of the world market. Hurray for their policies.If they win this case it will be the end of iPhone, and Apple's belief that it is some kind of icon. There is already credible competition to iPhone.
kingdingdong said:
Apple just gave me another reason (on top of the already massive list) not to buy anything apple. If anyone has an instinct, i like it much better then the iphone.
pmshah said:
To start with -in all probability - it may NOT be their operating system, just like OS-X. All they may have done is added their front end on top of some version of BSD. Unfortunately BSD licensing is quite liberal in its usage unlike Linux.
jobeard said:
heck, European cell phones are not LOCKED to a specific provider as they are domestically -- ever hear of Taft Hartley, Restraint of Trade?Apple has repetitively made poor exclusive marketing choices and it only came back to bite them with reduced market share. Too bad too, as their products are always ground breaking technologies :(
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