Apple Calls Jailbreaking iPhones a Crime

copyright_ofc_logoApple has filed a response to an Electronic Frontier Foundation request that the US Copyright Office exempt from the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch which violate certain term of Apple’s SDK, describing the very act of “jailbreaking” an iPhone a crime.

The EFF wants the Copyright Office to officially exempt “computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute lawfully obtained software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications with computer programs on the telephone handset.”

The non-profit consumer advocacy organization believes Apple’s efforts to control the software that runs on iPhone is “corporate paternalism” and described them as comparable to an automaker welding shut the hood of its cars to only allow servicing to be done by authorized dealers.

Apple’s extensive response to EFF’s request (available as a PDF) cites, among other things, danger to the device from unauthorized software and increased support costs that result from problems caused by jailbreaking the phone, and asserts that jailbreaking fails all four “nonexclusive statutory fair use factors prescribed in ยง 107 of the copyright statute,” essentially calling jailbreaking a crime.

The Copyright Office is not expected to rule on EFF’s request until October.

If you’re interested in a detailed rehash of the legal brickbats flying between Apple and EFF over the matter, AppleInsider has a very good discussion of the arguments raised by both sides.

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Lonnie Lazar

Lonnie Lazar is a writer-musician-web designer-attorney. He writes about Apple for Cult of Mac and Mac|Life, and about VoIP and telecommunications for Voxilla. Follow Lonnie on Twitter @LonnieLazar, join the Cult of Mac on Facebook, and find Lonnie's photos on Flickr.

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