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Apple: Jailbreaking iPhones and iPod touches is illegal

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Friday, February 13, 2009
News Categories: iPhone

In comments filed with the U.S. Copyright Office related to a proposed new exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which would explicitly allow jailbreaking of iPhones, Apple has argued that jailbreaking constitutes copyright infringement and a DMCA violation, and is therefore illegal. The company claims that jailbroken iPhones depend on modified versions of Apple’s copyrighted bootloader and operating system software, and that these more open versions compromise safety, security, and reliability, along with making it easier for users who wish to pirate software. In the days following the iPhone’s release, Apple actively combatted jailbreaking through changes to the device’s software; it had appeared to give these measures less attention since the launch of iPhone OS 2.0 and the App Store, which provides a legal way to add applications to the devices. [via BoingBoing]

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Comments

1

Fine and dandy, Apple… jailbroken iPhones are “illegal”.  Now what are you going to do about it?

The fact of the matter is that all they can do is piss and moan.

Posted by Ben on February 13, 2009 at 8:33 AM (PDT)

2

I know people don’t like this but Apple is correct with their statement. I also have to agree that it will be very hard to control this issue of jail breaking the device.

I jail broke my 16G iPhone a few month ago and at start i was impressed with all the nice extra applications. After just a few weeks I did unload and went to the orig. iPhone configuration because my device started to perform slower, since i was doing money transfers on my device i was afraid that my security will be compromised.

I’m a IT pro and it took me over one year to think about jail breaking my device and after just 3 weeks i removed the jail break.

It is very hard to control this jail breaking trend. The only way to control is 1.define this action as illegal, 2.counteroffer applications/functions.

Posted by dennis on February 13, 2009 at 9:22 AM (PDT)

3

I don’t know what they hope to accomplish, are they going to start arresting people for jailbreaking their iPods now?

Posted by John on February 13, 2009 at 9:23 AM (PDT)

4

C’mon, lets be realistic- they will not “arrest” anyone. Can you read? This is in response to a “proposed new exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which would explicitly allow jailbreaking of iPhones”. What would you expect Apple to do, bend over and take it? Regardless, this will not change anyone’s access to jailbreaking their phone.

Posted by jordan on February 13, 2009 at 9:37 AM (PDT)

5

Main reason I still hack my iPhone is so I can customize my SMS tone.  Not the best reason, but there it is.  Used to be much more important because of the extra games/apps you could add but that is much less of an issue because of the app store.  If they ever add the ability to change the SMS tone on the regular phone then I will probably stop.  Maybe they have, but I haven’t checked lately.

Posted by Alex on February 13, 2009 at 9:39 AM (PDT)

6

i have an unjailbroken 3g and a jailbroken 1st gen iphone and my ipod touch was jailbroken but i restored it i will restore my jailbroken 1st gen iphone because jailbreaking makes it significantly slower, and i now prefer the way apple does the iphone…apple have to say things like this, they cant be seen to condone jailbreaking their phones…but they should allow more customization

Posted by liz on February 13, 2009 at 9:49 AM (PDT)

7

Who wants to be controlled. If I buy a toaster and take it apart to make something, it is my right. Like wake up society…. Control is so draconian.

Don’t support anything that controls anything.

Posted by Nick on February 13, 2009 at 9:49 AM (PDT)

8

I jailbroke my iphone for two reasons….Landscape SMS using MySMS and customization.  The other stuff I could care less about.  If I could customize my homescreen and have landscape sms I would not bother.

Posted by Navec245 on February 13, 2009 at 10:03 AM (PDT)

9

If I bought it, I own it. There is no right that Apple or anyone has to something that I bought and own outright. I am not paying a lease fee on the item. Now if they change the terms of the agreement to say that I am leasing this equipment, then MAYBE they would have a case. To the issue of stolen software, though, I have to agree that this activity is illegal. Someone spent money to develop these apps and to steal them or anything else (music, desktop software) is just wrong and bad karma, quite frankly. Otherwise, I can use this iPhone as a buttplug if I wanna.

Having said all that, I un-jailbroke my phone because as the previous posters said, the security is a concern and performance took a serious hit, so what does it matter what I say anyway.

Posted by Jared Gibbs on February 13, 2009 at 10:10 AM (PDT)

10

I feel as though they have a point, however, the only reason I have an iphone is because it can be jailbroken. I will not buy services from ATT, and if I wasn’t able to operate an iphone on another carrier I wouldn’t own one.
I buy plenty of apps, and even accessories for my iphone. And I feel as though I’m not the only one and in so, apple and other third parties are making money from me anyway. Money that they wouldn’t if I hadn’t jailbroken my iphone.
I can understand a certain amount of “cat and mouse” with the software/firmware between apple devs and “other” devs, to which I think is justified, but legal action toward those people who chose to void their warranty and “enhance” the functionality with their iphones I think should be left alone. There’s a certain risk in jailbreaking your phone, and assuming the user is okay with that, just leave them alone.

Don’t be greedy.

Posted by ~ruindpzzle in san diego, CA on February 13, 2009 at 11:35 AM (PDT)

11

I jailbroke both of my iPhones, 3G and 2.5G, just a couple of weeks ago for the one and only purpose of using UAFaker.  Now I really can use “just the internet” just like apple promised in their commercial.  I have since loaded a couple of nice themes to use and a couple of apps that make the iPhone… MyPhone.  My only regret about jailbreaking is I really wish I would have done it sooner instead of waiting around hoping that steve jobs and friends would eventually get around to fleshing out the iPhone’s OS.  Can you say “cut and paste” steve?  Because I can, it’s called Clippy and MyPhone can now cut and paste any text anywhere there is a keyboard, and that includes internet pages.  If they don’t want me using Clippy, they can go into MY phone and delete it any time they want to… oh wait, I disabled that “feature” with a jailbroken app so now they can’t.  Sorry.

If apple says jailbreaking is illegal, fine, come and get me.  I’ll even turn my GPS on (turn by turn navigation is coming out at the end of February for jailbroken phones by the way) so once they pull their collective heads out of whatever orifice they’re stuck up it’ll be easier for them to find me!

Posted by The Digital Alchemist on February 13, 2009 at 12:21 PM (PDT)

12

I agree, I dont like ppl with jailbreaking phones or ipods, they dont pay anything to get applications, I dont know why people bought the iPhone if they cant afford to pay for a 10$ or 5$ application for the iPhone…. you all with jailbreaking phones grow up!!! pathetic seriously…

Posted by Hansel Jr on February 13, 2009 at 3:12 PM (PDT)

13

Has anyone jailbroken or unlocked OS 2.2.1 yet? I am traveling overseas soon and am only interested in unlocking my original iPhone. Any tips? Thanks in advance!

Posted by Carlos Z. on February 13, 2009 at 8:41 PM (PDT)

14

Hansel Jr:

Do you REALLY think the only purpose of jailbreaking is just to get free apps? I have a jailbroken iPhone AND iPod touch and have paid for EVERY SINGLE APP, and I am SURE that I am not alone.

The real reason I jailbroke my phone is because I would like to customise it to MY liking, and NOT to what Apple dictates. I paid for this device, therefore I OWN it, NOT Apple. How DARE they tell me what I can and cannot put on MY device.

Posted by ahMEmon in Canada on February 13, 2009 at 9:17 PM (PDT)

15

I love my jailbroken ipod touch, not because I can get paid apps for free, but because of the nice backgrounds I can put on there. Also, since my sega genesis isn’t practical anymore, I use the emulator to use all the games I still own. These 2 reasons are not illegal, and jailbreaking should be the owner’s decision, not apple’s

Posted by dahhh on February 13, 2009 at 9:46 PM (PDT)

16

I have a 1st Gen iPhone which I’ve jailbroken. Not to get pirated apps. Not because I had a problem paying for the 23 apps I legally bought. Not that I needed to thumb my nose at AT&T;or Apple. But because AT&Ts;service where I work is spotty to pathetically absent depending on where in the building you are. And since my phone is the 24/7 emergency line for my aging mother… I neded to know I could get a signal.

I wanted an iPhone because of what it could do _as a smartphone_. If I can’t get service where I spend half my day - its pretty useless to me. If I wanted a part time phone, part time iPod - I would have kept my razor and my 1st gen iPod Touch.

That is why I jailbroke my phone. If I didn’t need to - I wouldn’t have.

Posted by ArKay on February 14, 2009 at 6:40 AM (PDT)

17

I don’t get some of you people if you really don’t like the iPhone/iPod Touch THEN DON’T GET IT sheesh it’s like punching yourself and saying it hurts

Posted by Apple Fan on February 16, 2009 at 7:34 PM (PDT)

18

I don’t think people Jailbreak iPhones because they do not like the iPhone. It is most probably to make up for the shortcomings of the iPhone. I haven’t jailbroken my iPhone, but the reasons why I would jailbreak my iPhone are:

1. SMS control - I think this is the biggest one. We can add apps onto Jailbroken iPhones that let you delete your SMSs 1 by 1, rather than the entire conversion and have and apps that allow landscape SMS.

2. Copy and Paste - It really is a useful to have this facility.

3. Themes - Personalising the iPhone really is appealling.

4. Emulators for old gaming systems.

If Apple were to incorporate these into the iPhone, or even allow legal 3rd Party apps, I wouldn’t mind paying for it. While emulators are really out of the question as a legal download, the other 3 are things Apple can definately add.

I buy apps from the App store. If it is available, I will buy it. But for whatever reasons, Apple seem to be content with their SMS functionality and the lack of copy-paste. And Themes don’t seem such a big deal to them either. If they do allow for legal themes and allow people to distribute/ sell themes from the App store, I am sure it will increase the downloads by a huge rate.

Posted by Sreedhar on February 16, 2009 at 9:53 PM (PDT)

19

Heyy i heard that sometime this month(February) apple WILL be doing an update for ipods and iphones so we can add backrounds to our main screen and sliders and batterys and personal names etc

i just wanted to know is this true and if so when
                                    ~Maria Cruikshank

PS i did NOT jailbreak for many reasons one being my parents would KILL me especialy if it got bricked ^_^

Posted by Maria Cruikshank on February 21, 2009 at 4:29 AM (PDT)

20

wait you can modify an apple operating system but you cant modify a ipod or iphone

Posted by bob mactavish on December 20, 2009 at 10:53 AM (PDT)

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