Print 72 comment(s) - last by EricMartello.. on Oct 31 at 11:49 PM

In Soviet Russia, the smartphone unlocks you

It seemed the good times were rolling when the U.S. Library of Congress -- tasked at times with interpreting the often times cryptic legal code into actionable policy -- allowed smartphone "unlocking"/"jailbreaking"/"rooting".  

I. Goodbye Fair Use

"Unlocking" refers to removing restrictions that a carrier places, which can prevent you from switching carriers.  "Jailbreaking" refers to gaining access to run non-authorized apps, freeing you from OEM restrictions; e.g. Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) demand that its users only run apps from its first-party App Store. "Rooting" refers to the practice of making yourself the administrator of your device, which allows you in turn to jailbreak or unlock it.

The LoC's 2006 and 2010 decisions seemed to open the door to users having greater control over the devices they legally purchase, but they were only temporary.

And in its latest review, the LoC's Librarian sided with OEMs like Apple that want to re-restrict their devices.  The new ruling bans unlocking in cases where the device maker (e.g. Apple) does not authorize it.  Enforcement and penalties are dictated under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.

After January it will be illegal to unlock devices like the iPhone. [Image Source: Engadget]

The Librarian at the LoC in its latest review points to user End License Agreements as undermining the fair use argument asserted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which had petitioned the LoC for a permanent exception.  The Librarian argues that you may legally own your device, but under your license agreement, you do not own its operating system software.

The Librarian did offer up a permanent exception for jailbreaking on smartphones.

II. Unlock? You May be Sent to Prison

The maximum allowable punishment for so-called "willful circumvention" for profit (e.g. iPhone unlockers who sell their unlocking software) is $500K USD and 5 years in prison for the first offense, and $1M USD and 10 years in prison for subsequent offenses [see: 17 USC § 1204 - Criminal offenses and penalties].

Not-for-profit circumvention tools generally falls under 17 USC § 1203.  The good news is that there's no prison time for that; the bad news is that the court decides an arbitrary "actual damages" estimate of how much the circumvention "hurt" the plaintiff's business.  That means that in theory Apple could sue jailbreakers/unlockers and claim hundreds of thousands, if not millions in damages, which the defendants could be required to pay, even if they didn't make a single dollar off their tools.

Unlocking smartphones for profit can earn you up to 10 years in prison, starting in January.  [Image Source: Banmiller on Business]

Under the statute, even those just using the tools could face lesser, but significant fines.

As for unlocking tablets, the Librarian, "found significant merit to the opposition’s concerns that this aspect of the proposed class was broad and ill-defined, as a wide range of devices might be considered 'tablets,' notwithstanding the significant distinctions among them in terms of the way they operate, their intended purposes, and the nature of the applications they can accommodate. For example, an e-book reading device might be considered a 'tablet,' as might a handheld video game device or a laptop computer."

In other words, the Librarian argues it's too hard to define what a tablet is, so no unlocking or tablet jailbreaking exemptions should be allowed for now.

The new rules take hold in January 2013, so you will have approximately 90 days of leeway under the current rules, before unauthorized unlocking becomes banned.

From there on out, though, if you develop and publish tablet jailbreaking or smartphone/tablet unlocking tools you could wind up paying hundreds of thousands, if not millions in damages, if the OEMs whose products you're modifying discover your identity.  And if you sell your circumvention tools, you may wind up serving up to 10 years of hard time.

The EFF and others will have the next three years to work on their arguments for the Librarian, as the policy will next be re-reviewed in 2016.

Sources: Library of Congress, EFF

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Once Again
By Reclaimer77 on 10/26/2012 5:20:08 PM , Rating: 4
We see why the United States, by far, has the largest percentage of it's population in prisons than any developed country. Little bullshit "crimes" like this, for essentially doing nothing wrong and hurting nobody, that come with jail time.

We need to destroy this notion that property you purchase with your own earnings, isn't yours to do with as you please. Within reason of course. I understand the need for "intellectual property" rights, but over the past decade or so it's become so abusive to the consumer, I'm wondering how life would be like if IP never existed or wasn't so enforced. Probably for the best, imo.

RE: Once Again
By Jeffk464 on 10/26/2012 7:28:41 PM , Rating: 3
Its mostly because of the failed war on drugs.

RE: Once Again
By Reclaimer77 on 10/26/2012 7:40:17 PM , Rating: 2
Not true statistically. Even if you removed drug crimes, we would still have the most people in jails.

RE: Once Again
By Jeffk464 on 10/26/2012 8:50:13 PM , Rating: 2
Does that include the guy that burglarizes your house or swipes your iphone for drug money?

RE: Once Again
By Reclaimer77 on 10/26/2012 9:11:29 PM , Rating: 2
Well you can't call that a "drug crime". If he stole money for booze, would it be "alcohol crime"?

Look I'm not the one collecting the statistics, all I can do is go on the information I have at hand.

The point is, we have WAY too many people in prisons. And a large percentage are these "white collar" crimes and petty crimes like in the article.

RE: Once Again
By FaaR on 10/27/2012 11:14:50 AM , Rating: 2
The crime, if one want to call jailbreaking a phone which one has bought and paid for actually a crime, may be petty, but the punishment is seriously major.

A million bucks fine and ten years in jail? Holy smokes. If there was an award for the most out-of-proportion penalty this would be a high contender for it; actually beating legislation on piracy of music I'd say, because arguably when pirating an album there's been a misappropriation of property in that case, while nobody actually loses anything whatsoever by someone jailbreaking a phone.

Why stop at a million bucks fines by the way. I propose raising the limit to ten million billion trillion dollars, that's really no more ludicrous than what it is now.

This law smells like it was written by telecom industry lobbyists, pushed through by bought-and-paid-for politicians. "Jailbreaking" congress with corporate money isn't illegal, but looking at laws like this one, it sure ought to be.

RE: Once Again
By Reclaimer77 on 10/27/2012 2:18:02 PM , Rating: 4
Well is it any wonder why we have more goddamn lawyers than doctors? And more people in the legal profession than any other besides maybe the food service industry?

We're a nation of so many damn laws, you actually have to hire someone to make sure you aren't breaking any in some cases!

I don't think it's lobbying or any one thing, it's just a huge self-serving enterprise. Where millions of people are reliant on legal cases and law enforcement to make a living. And thousands of politicians adding to these laws because the public views passing laws as an indicator of political effectiveness.

So we end up with the insanity of single mothers facing million dollar fines, and actual prolonged jail time, because they sat at home and downloaded 4 songs. Or being thrown in jail because you unlocked features on a phone!

I think the most offensive one I heard recently is a man being thrown in jail, a military veteran I might add, because his yard was too messy. Seriously what has happened to this country?

RE: Once Again
By stilltrying on 10/27/2012 6:53:25 PM , Rating: 2
"The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state"

RE: Once Again
By Alexvrb on 10/27/2012 7:36:45 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with most of what you're saying Reclaimer + FaaR. But keep in mind the 5 years/500K first offense, 10 years/1M second offense are the max for those who sell the jailbreaking software itself . Those who actually jailbreak will probably get a fine (I'm sure I wouldn't like the amount but it won't be 500K) and no jail time.

Also, often times when you hear a story like "He was thrown in jail for having a messy yard", there's more to the story. Other than that I pretty much agree with you.

RE: Once Again
By Reclaimer77 on 10/27/2012 11:12:35 PM , Rating: 2
But keep in mind the 5 years/500K first offense, 10 years/1M second offense are the max for those who sell the jailbreaking software itself .

So? I mean I see your point, but how is that any better? Who does the software hurt? What kind of damages does it cause?

Let's throw people in jail for making lock breaking tools too I guess. Because people can use them to break into homes and stuff.

RE: Once Again
By JediJeb on 10/28/2012 3:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
Let's throw people in jail for making lock breaking tools too I guess. Because people can use them to break into homes and stuff.

I hate to think of it, but I can see it coming to where we will need to have our bolt cutters, hammers, baseball bats, ect registered because any of them can be used in a criminal way.

RE: Once Again
By Alexvrb on 10/28/2012 10:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
Well you said:
So we end up with the insanity of single mothers facing million dollar fines, and actual prolonged jail time, because they sat at home and downloaded 4 songs. Or being thrown in jail because you unlocked features on a phone!
So I guess my point is that they wouldn't get thrown in jail or face a million dollar fine. I'm not saying its right, I'm not saying the software hurts anyone, etc. I just wanted to point out that these punishments are NOT for those jailbreaking their phones. Just for those providing the means to do so.

Although if you really want to get down to it, I know people that root their devices just to install pirated software. So technically there are issues there, not that I care strongly about it, or feel that it really matters.

RE: Once Again
By TSS on 10/28/2012 11:59:06 AM , Rating: 2
I think the most offensive one I heard recently is a man being thrown in jail, a military veteran I might add, because his yard was too messy. Seriously what has happened to this country?

Oh i can top that.

Skip to 12:20. Sorry for posting the whole episode, couldn't find just a clip.

...Actually i'm not sorry. It's a good show, more people should watch it.

RE: Once Again
By EricMartello on 10/31/2012 11:49:22 PM , Rating: 2
And thousands of politicians adding to these laws because the public views passing laws as an indicator of political effectiveness.

That may be true to an extent, but do you think that the general public really believes these laws to actually be in the peoples' best interest? If put to a referendum: "You should serve 10/yrs and pay $1M fine if you decide to root a cellphone you bought and paid for."

Selling software to unlock phones is equally NON offensive; I could see an argument being valid if someone was selling "cracked" versions of the OS software itself...but there is no legitimate reason that people should be prevented from "hacking" their own devices that they own.

These laws do conflict with the 8th Amendment of the US Constitution (cruel and unusual punishments; including but not limited to excessive fines). There needs to be a rigid methodology based on independently verifiable data to support the imposition of fines and/or jail time for IP law violations.

In other words, neither the lawmakers nor the plaintiff should have the ability to win a judgment in their favor based on circumstantial numbers such as "potential sales" or arbitrary valuations.

RE: Once Again
By tastyratz on 10/26/2012 10:08:43 PM , Rating: 2
the greater majority of incarcerations are drug related.
and if you removed those we might have a ton of prisoners because of the size of our nation, but compare against density and results might sway another way...

RE: Once Again
By Solandri on 10/26/2012 11:46:06 PM , Rating: 2
I did some quick research on it recently. Reclaimer77 is correct.

I think where the discrepancy crops up is because most drug-related prison sentences are rather short (3 years or less) while violent crime sentences are longer. On top of that, most drug offenders are typically non-violent, so frequently get out early on parole. Consequently, about half of the people sent to prison in any given year are sent there on drug-related charges. But only about 22% of people in prison at any given time are there on drug-related charges.

Put another way, most of the people in this country who picked up a criminal record got it because of the war on drugs. But eliminating the war on drugs would not cut down our prison population dramatically.

RE: Once Again
By Uncle on 10/28/2012 4:01:43 AM , Rating: 2
Your forgetting a major point, the gov has allowed "Prisons for Profit" run by private Corporations. Its already been proven that judges and prosecutors are pocketing money by helping to fill these Prisons for Profit. No incentive to get prisoners out of prison. What a fu#ken corrupt system the US has become.

RE: Once Again
By CBeck113 on 10/27/2012 4:35:17 AM , Rating: 2
...and this decision shows the results of losing that battle.

Servus, Charlie

Apple strikes again.
By Salisme on 10/26/2012 2:58:16 PM , Rating: 2
So If I remove the pickle off my cheeseburger, I'm going to jail?

RE: Apple strikes again.
By chµck on 10/26/2012 3:04:11 PM , Rating: 2
It would be more like allowing yourself to reorder the condiments.

RE: Apple strikes again.
By MeesterNid on 10/26/2012 3:18:36 PM , Rating: 5
I sure hope so! Pickles are an inherent part of a cheeseburger and removing them violates your Constitutional right to be human!

RE: Apple strikes again.
By Jeffk464 on 10/26/2012 7:35:30 PM , Rating: 2
So this means all of the ROM developers will be based in countries that don't mind telling the US to go F itself, right? Anyone else notice that more and more it seems like all new US laws are written by corporations?

RE: Apple strikes again.
By StormyKnight on 10/27/2012 2:20:08 AM , Rating: 2
No. Removing the pickle and bringing your own toppings is.

RE: Apple strikes again.
By 91TTZ on 10/27/2012 12:59:08 PM , Rating: 2
The owner of that intellectual property can tell you how you can use the product. By purchasing the product you have agreed to the End User License Agreement. If you buy an iPad you cannot modify it to run a program that it wasn't designed to run or otherwise circumvent the ability of Apple to control and profit from the user experience.

This applies to other products as well. If I own McDonald's I might offer 2 products: a hamburger for $1 and a cheesburger for $1.50. You have a choice about which one you want to buy. But if you buy a hamburger for $1 and then put your own piece of cheese on it, you're circumventing the intended user experience and depriving my McDonald's of 50 cents. As a result, I'm going to come after you and shank you, bitch.

RE: Apple strikes again.
By 91TTZ on 10/27/2012 4:23:04 PM , Rating: 1
Who voted me down? That was a joke.

RE: Apple strikes again.
By JediJeb on 10/28/2012 4:05:55 PM , Rating: 3
The sad fact is it is how many corporations feel about their products wanting total control over every aspect of their use.

The whole case reminds me of the Standard Oil case at the turn of the twentieth century. I was watching "The Men Who Built America" on the History Channel recently and it talked about how Rockefeller decided to control everything in oil at the time. He thought we was being shafted by the railroads charging too much for transporting the crude oil to him so he built pipelines to bypass the railroads. If another company tried to make a better product he bought them out(just like MS and Apple have been doing), or he undercut them until they went out of business.

The Sherman Anit-Trust Act was used to break up Standard Oil so that one company would not have control over every part of the oil process, so why can't it be used in situations such as this to prevent a company to have control over the phones, software, and to some extent service as they do now. Or with the tablets builders having control of the hardware, software, and applications, locking out any other competitor from making say just applications, or the OS to run on the hardware? It is is allowed that they have that much control, should Ford be allowed to lock Holley and Edelbrock out of the aftermarket parts market? If Toyota wants to only have Bridgestone tires should they be allowed to write into a user agreement that you can't use any other tire brand?

The fault somewhat lies with the consumers in that we continue to purchase the products these companies produce even when we disagree with how they behave. If we will refuse to go along and use alternative products even if they may be a little inferior then maybe the companies will get the message. If not let them stick to their ideas of total control and go broke. Of course the vast majority of consumers will continue to give up freedom for the gadgets that are shiny and sparkly, so the trend will continue.

RE: Apple strikes again.
By Anixx on 10/28/2012 10:23:46 AM , Rating: 2
Have you paid for unlocking using your fridge for the next month?

Have you unlocked driving on weekends and passenger seats in your car?

By lightfoot on 10/26/2012 2:57:31 PM , Rating: 5
user End License Agreements as undermining the fair use argument asserted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Since when do civil contracts like (EULAs) have criminal penalties?? I'm pretty sure that Apple taking away a person's freedom for rooting their own phone would be a MAJOR human rights violation.

It looks like it's about time to look for an exit; freedom has left the country.

By Jeffk464 on 10/26/2012 7:27:11 PM , Rating: 3
Pretty sure freedom left the country the day after Sept 11, 2001.

By Jaybus on 10/29/2012 2:12:33 PM , Rating: 2
No, no. It has nothing to do with 911. This was initiated by several international treaties, specifically the WTO's 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) and two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 1998, was the US implementation of these treaties.

Article 61 of TRIPs requires that signatory countries establish criminal penalties for "willful trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy on a commercial scale". Criminalizing copyright infringement has already happened in the US.

The US is the only member (I think) that has implemented criminal penalties. Criminal penalties were also part of the Second Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive, but the criminal provisions were withdrawn in order for it to pass in the European Parliament in 2010 due to protests over the vagueness of what constitutes "commercial scale". Thus the EU, is technically still in violation of the TRIPs treaty. In any case, the war is certainly not over in Europe.

By Lifted on 10/27/2012 5:02:32 AM , Rating: 2
You're free to leave, but at least do it for the right reasons.

The criminal penalties are not for violating an EULA, they are for people selling such tools which violates the DMCA.

People who violate the EULA are not prosecuted as criminals, they are sued.

By ComputerJuice on 10/27/2012 3:11:10 PM , Rating: 2
"You're free to leave..."

Yeah right... ever try to "leave" this country? Its pretty much impossible unless you are a millionaire. They don't want you leaving and make it almost impossible for the common citizen. Not to mention almost no other country in the world actually "wants" us.

By Lifted on 10/28/2012 7:13:45 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I have, for many years at a time.

But I'm a US citizen. Where exactly do you live where they don't allow you to leave? Cuba?

By Anixx on 10/28/2012 10:28:29 AM , Rating: 2
People who violate the EULA are not prosecuted as criminals, they are sued.

The ACTA requires them to be criminally prosecuted.

Land of the free, eh?
By BifurcatedBoat on 10/26/2012 3:31:06 PM , Rating: 3
You're going to tell me what software I can and can't run on hardware that I own?

RE: Land of the free, eh?
By jimbojimbo on 10/26/2012 3:57:55 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure Apple will sell a jailbroken phone and tablet with a 1000% markup.

RE: Land of the free, eh?
By Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer on 10/26/2012 5:11:13 PM , Rating: 2
So it would be illegal to put Linux (or some other OS) on a Windows RT tablet. But it would be legal, still, I presume, to put a different OS on an x86 tablet, since it supposedly doesn't have to be "jailbroken"? Ugh, talk about greasing up that slippery slope.

RE: Land of the free, eh?
By drycrust3 on 10/27/2012 1:52:41 PM , Rating: 2
So it would be illegal to put Linux (or some other OS) on a Windows RT tablet.

No, not if you remove Microsoft's OS. Nor, as I understand it, would it be illegal to install Android on an iPhone either. If you look at what the Librarian is saying ...
but under your license agreement, you do not own its operating system software.

you can see there is a difference between jailbreaking and installing your choice of OS: with a Linux installation the original operating system (e.g. Windows 7) for which you have an EULA has been (for the sake of argument) removed and a new operating system has been installed. Thus you're not bound by that previous contract.
On the other hand, if you did a dual boot arrangement, then that could also be in violation of your EULA, thus that would be illegal.
The thorn with this interpretation is that you need to know what constitutes "Unauthorised" modification of your operating system. Say your computer catches a virus, especially from some software downloaded off the internet from an "unreliable source" (i.e. not from the operating system manufacturer), which happens to modify the operating system, then it is arguable you were modifying the operating system in a manner that wasn't part of your EULA.
Of course, the counter to that is by installing a third party antivirus software, especially one of the better ones, you were also doing so in violation of your EULA because it needed to modify the OS to block the holes and zero day vulnerabilities.

RE: Land of the free, eh?
By foolsgambit11 on 10/27/2012 5:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
You may not be able to put a different OS on your system. In order to install a different OS on some systems, you have to modify the (equivalent of the) BIOS. That's software, not hardware, and therefore, if the software creator doesn't authorize it, it could be practically impossible to change the OS. Maybe you could just replace the entire BIOS (equivalent) with new, custom software, but you'd probably run foul of some law if you create that software. Even if you didn't, though, you'd be the subject of countless legal attacks (sort of like Google's "clean room" Java implementation).

RE: Land of the free, eh?
By Jeffk464 on 10/27/2012 10:34:19 PM , Rating: 2
So web OS is officially open source now right? So the work around to all this stuff might just be for people to switch to web OS and for the open source community to embrace it.

Let me recount...
By inperfectdarkness on 10/27/2012 10:00:28 AM , Rating: 3
Warrantless wiretapping? Check!

Government mandates ISP's share personal information? Check!

Police officers can arrest people who videotape them in public while on duty? Check!

Antiquated copyright laws that levy the same fines on personal non-profit piracy as they do on corporate pirates seeking to make a profit? Check!

Defacto hegemonic power by service providers who are in bed with content providers--sanction by the government? Check!

Patent system that allows people to patent existing prior-art developed by others, while leaving the indepentant inventor vulnerable to having his ideas pilfered by greedy corporations? Check!

Laws that prevent people from using device with they own free & clear--to be used for whatever purpose the owner desires (excluding harm/damage to others)? Check!

Tax system that forces small business to pay 33% tax on average, while mega-corporations squeek by with 18% on average? Check!

Welfare system that encourages personal irresponsibility? Check!

Budget cuts to defense spending while the savings is immediately gobbled up by increases in entitlement spending? Check!

Complete and utter inability for legislators to maintain the same amount of fiscal responsibility that is a prerequisite for being in the middle-class? Check!

....shall I go on, or is everyone sufficiently depressed?

RE: Let me recount...
By superstition on 10/28/2012 12:39:14 AM , Rating: 2
Your list was good until you got off track with attacks on "entitlements/welfare" and such.

The poor are not the problem. They don't have all the money and power.

The problem is elite corruption. Google " disposition matrix ".

RE: Let me recount...
By MrBungle123 on 10/28/2012 2:54:12 PM , Rating: 1
The poor stay poor because there are too many entitlements, people are lazy and if you're accustomed to living a lower class lifestyle and can survive on welfare why would you put forth the effort necessary to better yourself? Most people wouldn't and so they are content to sit and do little to nothing with their hand out. Of course there are exceptions to this but spend some time around people that are 2nd or 3rd generation food stamp and HUD house queens and you'll see what I mean.

RE: Let me recount...
By superstition on 10/28/2012 9:06:39 PM , Rating: 2
The poor are the enemy. They have all the money.

Yes, I've heard it before. It was stupid then and it's stupid now.

Did you Google disposition matrix ?

RE: Let me recount...
By JediJeb on 10/28/2012 10:57:42 PM , Rating: 2
The poor are not the enemy, the enemy is the bureaucrats and politicians who offer more entitlements and make the system almost impossible to move away from so that they have more people hooked on keeping them in power to maintain their way of life. The way they do it is that if you earn $800 per month on entitlements when you do not work then you get a job making $400 per month they will cut your entitlement check down to $200 per month which yields you a $200 per month cut in funds.

Now those are not any exact numbers, but they are representative of what happens in a system that is broken, at least for what it was originally meant to do, which is support people who happen to be in a financially troubled time to make it until they can return to full employment.

I have also met people who are on disability simply because they are overweight, and they were able to get on disability with less hassle than another person I know who has Multiple Sclerosis. Also my co-worker's husband was injured in a work accident where he was nearly crushed to death and has permanent nerve damage from having his spine fused and it has taken him two years to get disability status while she has had to support the family on her check alone, she makes too much to collect other types of support but barely can buy the essentials because of the costs of medical and legal bills. Under the current system it just doesn't pay to try to make your own way instead of giving up and letting the government take over providing for you if you have some trouble hit you. Government assistance should be there to help you get back to supporting yourself quickly, not there to support you for your whole life.

RE: Let me recount...
By superstition on 10/29/2012 3:55:48 PM , Rating: 2
Everything you've said can be summed up with:

The poor are the enemy. They have all the money.

And in its latest review,
By bupkus on 10/26/2012 5:29:45 PM , Rating: 1
And in its latest review, the LoC's Librarian sided with OEMs like Apple
Honestly, what OEMs are "like" Apple?

Soon to be announced--- the iCuffs, available for anyone daring to assert ownership of their iToys.
Hey, you guys who want to jailbreak your iPhone... well, what can I say. I suspect MS will also welcome this ruling.

As an aside, I just wonder how T Swash and his ilk will post on this topic.

RE: And in its latest review,
By Jeffk464 on 10/26/2012 7:30:38 PM , Rating: 2
I would boycott apple over this but I haven't used anything apple since about 1993, so I don't think they will notice.

RE: And in its latest review,
By Jeffk464 on 10/26/2012 7:37:35 PM , Rating: 2
Samsung has set record profits with it phones, I currently have a samsung, and my next phone will be a samsung. Support companies that aren't anti-consumer.

How about accidental jailbreaks?
By jimbojimbo on 10/26/2012 3:57:20 PM , Rating: 2
What if a user "accidentally" jailbreaks it by going to a web site that does it?

By StormyKnight on 10/27/2012 2:23:52 AM , Rating: 2
Just like you might "accidentally" kill someone? There are still penalties for that.

I wouldn't put it past crApple to use the old, "Ignorance of the law", isn't a defense.

I didn't see Android listed.
By Schmide on 10/26/2012 4:18:57 PM , Rating: 2
So I don't care.

Not to mention. I'm sure I can find a quality Android vendor that will allow or at the very least look the other way for custom firmwares.

RE: I didn't see Android listed.
By Omega215D on 10/27/2012 1:26:25 AM , Rating: 2
Could you imagine the uproar had Android been listed. Sure the OEMs that put Android on their phones would be lining up for this but then again we will know who to avoid buying from in the future.

Simple Solution
By mgilbert on 10/28/2012 2:49:58 AM , Rating: 2
Simple solution - don't buy a smartphone. I'm sick of not being able to spend quality time with anyone, because they have to constantly check their phone and respond to Facebook posts about what someone they haven't seen for months is having for dinner. Get a life, put away your electronics, and spend one on one, face to face time with the people in your life that matter.

RE: Simple Solution
By Uncle on 10/28/2012 4:12:14 AM , Rating: 2
and the price of the phones and contracts would drop in a very short time.

By Randomblame on 10/26/2012 9:12:04 PM , Rating: 1

After reexamining the original article, it looks like unlocking is what actually carries these stipulations. Jailbreaking, for lawful purposes, will remain legal until at least 2015, and unlocking a phone in order to switch carriers is what can only be done with phones purchased before January. After that, it's up to whether the carrier allows it or not.

you guys should know that mick has a reading comprehension problem :P

RE: nope
By JasonMick on 10/27/2012 2:06:53 PM , Rating: 2
"After reexamining the original article, it looks like unlocking is what actually carries these stipulations. Jailbreaking, for lawful purposes, will remain legal until at least 2015, and unlocking a phone in order to switch carriers is what can only be done with phones purchased before January . After that, it's up to whether the carrier allows it or not."

U.S. LoC Restores Fines, Prison Time for Unlocking Tool Authors

From the article...
The Librarian did offer up a permanent exception for jailbreaking on smartphones.

"nope" -- you are the one with the reading comprehension problem, pal. Oh the irony... :P

By edge929 on 10/26/2012 3:12:19 PM , Rating: 2
So the trick now is to remain anonymous. That shouldn't be a problem for somebody who can jailbreak a device in the first place. Put it on a public server over your VPN at Starbucks and proceed to sip your Vente Caramel Macchiato with a smirk on your face.

Looks like another sellout
By Nutzo on 10/26/2012 6:00:21 PM , Rating: 2
Guess Apple found something to spend thier huge stash of money on. I wonder how many other rulings we'll see in thier favor over the next year.

Once again...
By Motoman on 10/27/2012 10:30:02 AM , Rating: 2
...death to Apple et al.

Our "justice" system is highly fascist, being owned and governed by corporations, not the people. Who, by the way, are stupid enough to elect such abusive people into office that this sh1t happens to us.

Democracy: a system by which the people receive a government no better than they deserve.

By ssj3gohan on 10/28/2012 6:20:43 AM , Rating: 2
I basically live around the idea that hacking stuff, albeit hardware or software, enables new use cases and allows me to tailor otherwise unfit for purpose devices to my specific needs.

Now, at least inside the US, hacking is basically illegal? What the hell, how are we ever going to get a healthy hacking community without proper protection of our rights? Oh, you want to change the battery charging algorithm to get 10% more juice out of your battery? Sorry, jail time for you! You want to fix crippling bugs in your phone OS? Back to jail!

The only people who can legally fix stuff in this world are the makers of the stuff you use? Ridiculous.

LOC AKA Ignorance/Gred.Inc
By Marcel17 on 10/28/2012 6:57:56 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe LOC is just ignorant , the Itoy it's just another ARM device , it can theoretically accept Windows or Android , nobody , not the LOC , the congress , the senate , or the president can tell me what software I can run on it or not .
Anyways , what happened to a project for a law has to be approved in the congress , pass trough the senate and only then signed/or not by the the president ? What is this everybody makes plowing laws in the United States as they please ? Or they just gave in to lobbyist pressure ?
If that's the case we should remove our politicians from the harms way , and make lobbying illegal , make it in fact illegal to call it lobbying , but call it by its true name bribery . I'll vote for the next candidate that vows to outlaw bribery ( also known as lobby ism ).
Meanwhile I will keep on installing in MY devices whatever software I see fit , because it's my constitutional right to do so .

By Orac4prez on 10/28/2012 7:31:03 PM , Rating: 2
How is it legal for Apple to adopt a monopoly position in relation to distribution of software. Surely this is an abuse of power.

Using the same logic, Microsoft should be allowed then to charge for any software running on any of its platforms and decide who and what can be run! But they have been told to offer choices in browsers, and I can run non microsoft office software. I can download and use them from any source, but Apple decides what is acceptable software! No thanks!

By Jaybus on 10/29/2012 4:41:28 PM , Rating: 2
Not being allowed to unlock you phone is like:

- Comcast, Direct, etc. altering the outputs on their receivers so that only TVs they sell will work on their network. To switch from Direct to Comcast you have to also buy a new TV from Comcast, the sole supplier.
- Ford making cars that will only run on special fuel, and Ford is the only supplier of that fuel. Altering a Ford to run on Chevy fuel is made illegal.

You get the picture. Locking phones is, in the first place, an unfair trade practice. Please contact your Congressional representatives and demand that they ban the anti-competitive, monopolistic practice of phone locking!

It's just certain phones & carriers
By JDHack42 on 10/30/2012 1:52:22 PM , Rating: 2
The new ruling bans unlocking in cases where the device maker (e.g. Apple) does not authorize it.

So don't go buy products from manufacturers that lock down their stuff.

It never made any sense
By Beenthere on 10/26/12, Rating: -1
RE: It never made any sense
By lightfoot on 10/26/2012 3:01:00 PM , Rating: 5
If they were doing so with the intent to use the device in an illegal manner, you might have a point.

But the punishment should be for the intent to commit a crime.

If it is to set a custom ring tone, then it is absolutely INSANE.

RE: It never made any sense
By Flunk on 10/26/2012 4:45:29 PM , Rating: 3
If people buy products they should be able to modify them as they see fit. This is a total miscarriage of justice.

RE: It never made any sense
By tastyratz on 10/26/2012 4:56:39 PM , Rating: 2
Allowing is a relative term.

The companies put restrictions in saying you can buy a device as long as you promise to use it the way they see fit.

Individuals bypass the device saying they purchased it to do with it they please as any other personal possession.

This is akin to buying a car from a company that says the warranty is only valid if you buy Exxon brand gasoline with a special Exxon locked gas cap, and suing anyone who posted instructions or sold for profit universal gas caps.

If I purchased the car I should be able to pour grape jelly in the gas tank if I so please because it's my property and I can do what I want to. The point isn't that everyone should pour in grape jelly, the point is that companies are setting precedent right now that they can legally tell you not to.
Not only is this bad judgement by governing bodies on the issue, it's setting bad precedent for the future. Maybe you aren't an unlocker or these rules don't apply to you and your device right now?

First they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

RE: It never made any sense
By ritualm on 10/26/2012 7:28:51 PM , Rating: 1
Because it never makes any sense to let people disassemble/reverse engineer a product to find out why things don't work, amirite?

You are an idiot.

RE: It never made any sense
By StormyKnight on 10/27/2012 2:26:40 AM , Rating: 1
Phones or other electronics should be treated like Harley-Davidson motorcycles. They beg to be modified, changed and accessorized. What is the point of owning something if you don't have an inherent right to do what you want with it if it isn't hurting anyone else? Victimless crimes are the worst.

RE: It never made any sense
By jRaskell on 10/31/2012 10:15:00 AM , Rating: 1
When I buy something, I'll do whatever the %$#@ I want with it. Period. End of discussion.

What doesn't make sense to morons and fascist corporations is utterly irrelevant.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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