Extra Extra: Now Legal To Jailbreak IPhone

For those living under a rock, the latest ‘greatest’ news to hit hacking front page is the the Copyright Office granting Six Exemptions Regarding the Circumvention of Access-Control Technologies. Of the six the one of the two regarding iPhones is as follows,

“(2) Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.”

Which (along with section 3) really just means that you can unlock and crack cellphones and companies can no longer fine you $2,500. Not that many ever have but the threat was there. Apple however, can and still will void your warranty if you jailbreak.

The 4 other areas not involving phones are the ability to circumvent DVDs for portions of video, video games in order to better the security of said game, computer programs that require dongles but dongles are no longer available, and literary works that prevent read-aloud or rendering to a specialized format.

One tidbit I keep hearing about in these exemptions is the ability to now break DRM on music, as much as I wish this were true, I can’t seem to find any sources on it, sorry pirates.

Regardless, now that the world is one step closer to an open framework, whats changed? For me, I’ve been jailbroken for years so sadly nothing. If you agree with the ruling, disagree, or just want to tell about your now legal jailbreaking joys, please leave a comment.

Additional Sources: FOXNews and CNNMoney thanks to [Voyagerfan99], [Ryan Knight], and [Steve S.] respectively.

[Image credit: Fr3d.org]

33 thoughts on “Extra Extra: Now Legal To Jailbreak IPhone

  1. certain devices such as the palm pre and the palm pixy, come ready for your hackary straight out of the box.. Hell they come witth an opensorce pdf! No jailbraking requaired :-D

  2. If these exemptions apply to the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions, why has the media been playing up the effect on iPhone? They aren’t the only handsets that can be modified and the Library of Congress article mentions neither Apple nor iPhone. I understand Apple was involved in the lawsuit, but the coverage surrounding iPhone seems like little more than undue free advertisement.

  3. Apple should be happy about this. Likely, their sales will go up because those who were hesitant about buying an iPhone (for the purposes of jailbreaking/etc) have no real roadblock now. And it may inspire others who are just starting out. Granted, the voiding of warranty is still a deterrent, but when has that really ever hindered a hacker?

  4. The interesting thing I see on the list of exemptions is the last one: that eBook DRM can be circumvented if the DRM inhibits screen readers from converting it into a specialized format (like braille) or if the Text-to-Speech is disabled.

    Many kindle books have text-to-speech disabled specifically, so how long till some hacker breaks the DRM, and we all have ePub format eBooks from Kindle’s vast library of eBooks?

  5. @Christopher

    Because news sites realized that all they have to do is mention “Apple” and they get hundreds of venomous Apple lovers/haters driving up page hits and ad revenue.

    It’s why CNN had 30 different iPad articles the first time it came out, and it’s why when Apple does the tiniest thing, news sites go crazy.

    Like the recent article on suicide rates in Foxconn factories. They make stuff for EVERYONE, but news sites know saying “Making iPhones causes suicides” will get more hits than “Suicides at an unknown manufacturer’s plant.”

  6. @BitterTait

    Can you point me to a good source of information on this (Kindle DRM broken)? I tried Google but all the search results were full of crappy blogs.


  7. Since it is no longer illegal, they should not call it “Jailbreaking” anymore. They should call it “cherry-popping”. (I would say “apple-popping” but that just didn’t sound right.)

  8. IMHO, why should I need to jailbreak? When you buy any product that is DRM’d / jailed, you’re encouraging a company to keep doing it. If this company is popular / making loads of money, other companies will more than likely follow suit.

    I’ve been recommending the Palm Pre+ (for a open garden), BlackBerry (messaging) or Android (for those who want to make the phone their own due to customization potential, or if they’re conscious about privacy issues). All come with standard micro USB, can be used as a USB drive in a pinch, and most importantly, running software on it doesn’t require authorization of a central entity (without voiding your warranty).

    All are capable phones and mobile computing devices, equal or better than all the other competition out there.

  9. @make, I got the walkthrough from a blog post, can’t remember which one. I know that there’s two types of DRM, both of which are cracked. unswindle is the name of the application for the first version, and topaz tools is the name of the more recent one.

  10. I think it’s great that consumers’ freedoms are being recognised, but I wish that consumers would send a strong message to the market that they want those freedoms, by avoiding products – such as iPhone and Android – that deliberately restrict those freedoms in the first place. We’ll never see open products of any quality if we don’t push the vendors towards it.

    I realise that the majority of consumers don’t understand the problem and don’t care. What amazes me is the number of technical people – hackers if you will – who still buy into the iPhone ethos, justifying it to themselves with the excuse that someone will always work out how to jailbreak new devices eventually. Won’t they? So what’s the problem?

    I have a simple philosophy with regard to new devices; if I have to jailbreak (or equivalent) a device to make it do what I want, I won’t buy it. So sure, my Openmoko phone is way behind the times, I can’t run the latest game titles on my GP2X and my iAudio player has seen better years, but they work for me, not against me.

  11. @smyroad: I’d still call it “Jailbreaking” for technical and clarity reasons.
    Now it’s legal, people don’t need to think it’s turned into a privilege. Apple might try harder to lock things down now they know it’s legal and people are going to attempt to jailbreak it.

  12. i don’t have an iphone but i’m assuming that even if ‘jailbraking’ is now legal, you’ll still be denied repair service from apple if you jailbrake then try to get it repaired or something

    i can just see hundreds of n00bs messing up their phones then trying to get it fixed because it’s ‘legal’ now

  13. @lizardb0y: Open source hardware can be a bit hit and miss though especially where functionality is concerned, that being said I own a GP2X and love it i have also recently taken delivery of a Pandora which is simply amazing, so if your after a replacement for that GP2X that has decent hardware inside get on the preorder cue for the Pandora second batch.
    As for phones i have a jailbroken G1 (HTC Dream) and its a great device unfortunately there are no truly open source alternatives to it for my requirements and thats why people still buy closed devices, because they do provide what they need.

  14. i sort of wish that jailbreaking were illegal because:

    i think that one of the big reasons many people jailbreak their iphone to be able to install app store apps for free. that’s super shitty, as the developers for those apps are regular schmucks (and probably HAD people themselves).

  15. @Boudico

    Do you really think people have hesitated about it being illegal? Did anyone really think that they would get arrested if jailbreaking their phone? I think the void of warranty is the real threshold. And remember, this is just the US, not the world.


    Why would it stop hackers before just because it was considered illegal in the US? Most “illegal” DRM hacks are being done anyway, you couldn’t just distribute them as freely in the US.

  16. FYI – you can’t mess up an iPhone via software-only. If you want to take a screwdriver to it, sure – it’s going to invalidate any warranty you have. Even if you manage to Jailbreak and do internal damage such as changing permissions etc or screwing up plist entries, there’s nothing that a simple Restore via iTunes won’t resolve. If you were uber-smart, you would have saved your SHSH blobs (3GS owners) and you can just re-download the same OS version and try again.

    For me, this is only one part of the problem. Sure, it’s legal to enable non- ‘app store’ apps onto your iPhone, but surely the icing on the cake now should be to force Apple to allow this at factory?

  17. It has always been legal for you to “jailbreak” you can buy a HP laptop and install any software you want, hardware is hardware, they can’t demand you only run their software, ie monopoly, and they are in court over that as well lol.

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