Monday, July 26, 2010

Feds Ruling Makes Unlocking Your iPhone Legal

Finally, the Feds have ruled that it's legal to jail break your iPhone or any other mobile device. Jailbreaking is hacking the phone’s OS to allow consumers to run any app on the phone they choose. The US Copyright Office today changed the exemptions to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which means you can now unlock your smartphones. Apple can’t use copyright rules to block customers from installing and running unapproved third party apps. A letter that the company sent to the Copyright Office argued that allowing jailbreaking would result "in copyright infringement, potential damage to the device and other potential harmful physical effects, adverse effects on the functioning of the device, and breach of contract."

While consumers feel that they own their phone because they paid for it, well not really, since a two year service agreement does make the phone significantly cheaper than if you purchased it unlocked. And if you think you can now go ahead and jail break your phone safely, think again. While companies can't cite copyright regulations, it doesn’t prohibit companies from limiting those actions through terms of service agreements. 

Mario Ciabarra, chief technical officer of Rock Your Phone, which sells an application to turn an iPhone into a Wi-Fi hotspot, said the the Copyright Office’s decision is a “big win for consumers and applications developers” and has given the jailbreak community “the legitimacy it deserves.” However, Apple responded by saying it won’t change its policy that voids iPhone warranties if a phone has been jailbroken, because the iPhone could become unstable.

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