iPhone Jailbreaking Could Become A Copyright Crime

Apple has, for the first time, made a formal, public statement about the illegality of jailbreaking its iPhones, which it says, is a copyright infringement and a violation of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The Cupertino-based company says that Jailbreaking is a condemnable act as it “involves infringing uses of the bootloader and OS, the copyrighted works that are protected by the TPMs being circumvented.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a request for exemption with the US Copyright Office to keep jailbreaking iPhones in the realm of legality to allow independent, non App Store applications to work on the iPhone.

EFF's argument hinged on the fact that "courts have long recognized that copying software while reverse engineering is a fair use when done for purposes of fostering interoperability with independently created software.”

In other words, Jailbreaking should be protected by fair-use policies because reverse engineering, tinkering (or hacking) has played an important role in the US innovation economy (that's what EFF says).

Interestingly, Mozilla has backed the move by the EFF to prevent people jail breaking the iPhone from being considered as rogue elements of the society.

After all, Firefox hasn't been accepted yet on the iPhone and it is only a matter of time before someone, with a jailbroken phone, gets the open source software to run on the iPhone.

Go To Page 2 for our comments and more related links

Our Comments

A number of us in the office have already jailbroken their iPhones and Blorge (link below) gives a pretty straight forward guide as to how to achieve this. To some extent, the process is no different from unlocking your phone - which is essentially the same thing. Apple though has been very protective of its brand, products and services and is unlikely to give this one up easily.

Related Links

PDF Document of Apple's Rebuking of EFF Copyright exemption request


Apple officially states that jailbreaking phones is illegal (according to them)


Apple: iPhone jailbreaking violates our copyright


Copyright battle over iPhone jailbreaks


Apple moves to ban jailbreaking


Mozilla backs move to decriminalize iPhone jailbreaking


iPhone/iPod Touch: How to Jailbreak now before it is illegal