Help the EFF keep jailbreaking legal

Help the EFF keep jailbreaking legal

Summary: The EFF need your help to keep jailbreaking legal.


Back in July of 2010, the US government ruled that jailbreaking an iPhone (or rooting an Android device, or whatever you do with other devices out there to unlock them) was all above board and legal and as long as the action wasn't being carried out to circumvent copy protection.

You'd think that would be the end of the story, but you'd be wrong. It turns out that the Electronic Frontier Foundation is asking the US Copyright Office to declare that unlocking the operating system of smartphones does not violate DMCA and the organization is not only calling on them to renew the exception, but to also expand it to cover tablets and video games consoles.

Here's what the EFF want you to do:

The Copyright Office needs to hear from people who depend on the ability to jailbreak to write, use, and/or tinker with independent software (from useful apps to essential security fixes) for smartphones, tablets, and game consoles. You can submit comments online at this link.

Here are some questions you might want to address in your comments:

- Which jailbreaking exemption are you supporting—smartphones/tablets, video game consoles, or both?

- What's your background (i.e., are you a developer, hobbyist, academic, independent researcher, user, etc.)?

- What device do you want to ensure you have the legal authority to jailbreak?

- Please explain why you want to jailbreak this device. What limitations do you face if you aren't able to jailbreak it? Is there software you couldn't run, computing capabilities you wouldn't have, cool things you couldn't do, etc.?

- If you’re a developer, did an online application store or console manufacturer reject your app or game? If so, what reasons did they give?

- Is there anything else you want to tell the Copyright Office?

Comments are due in by no later than 5:00 pm EST. on February 10, 2012.

If you value jailbreaking, then you need to lend your voice to this cause.

Topics: Smartphones, Android, Apps, Hardware, iPhone, Legal, Mobile OS, Piracy, Tablets

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  • RE: Help the EFF keep jailbreaking legal

    Lots of luck with that on Win8 phones!
    • But it must always be legal to try.

      The technical difficulties of jailbreaking are completely separate from the legality of it.
  • If I can re-key my car, get it painted, and replace the engine...

    Why shouldn't I be allowed to make my own $x00 phone do what I want?
  • RE: Help the EFF keep jailbreaking legal

    I am a hardware hack. I dislike software work, but I believe that all devices ought to be legal to jailbreak and that the only thing the jailbreaker should have to fear is messing up the product or facing the ire of the service provider for Ts&Cs issues. People ought to be able to fearlessly edit the whole o/s if they wish. I have been adding features to purchased products, which are my own property, for many years. It is for no one but me to say what features I choose to add or remove in a product I have bought. It's always been that way for hardware, why not for jailbreaking? No brainer.
  • RE: Help the EFF keep jailbreaking legal

    Jailbreaking or otherwise modifying any piece of electronics should be legal as long as the following are true:<br>1. The manufacturer of said device is not required to honor any warranty on the device once it is modified. If someone figures out how to overclock their smartphone in order to make it run faster, I don't want them screaming to the manufacturer to replace it when it burns out.<br>2. The owner of the modified device may not resell it, except with a disclaimer that the device has been modified from its original configuration, and that the buyer must beware. I don't want to buy a used phone on eBay and find out that the seller has loaded it with malware.
    3. If the device connects to a shared network, the network provider has the right to exclude it if the modified device represents a risk to network security. I don't want people using hacked smartphones to snoop on my phone conversations, and I don't want people using hacked game consoles to gain unfair advantages in online games.
    • I agree with most of this

      But if it's possible to use a hacked smartphone to snoop in on other people's phone conversations, then there's a design problem with the network and anyone with the appropriate equipment can listen in on anyone else's calls.
      John L. Ries