Can Apple send jailbreakers to jail?

A statement from Apple came out today claiming ‘Jailbreaking an iPhone constitutes copyright infringement and a DMCA violation..’ Well, based on what I’m reading from Fred von Lohmann on the EFF site, I’m thinking no.  Here is why;

Apple’s copyright infringement claim starts with the observation that jailbroken iPhones depend on modified versions of Apple’s bootloader and operating system software. True enough — we said as much in our technical white paper describing the jailbreak process. But the courts have long recognized that copying software while reverse engineering is a fair use when done for purposes of fostering interoperability with independently created software, a body of law that Apple conveniently fails to mention.

Its the last bit we want to focus on, ‘copying software while reverse engineering is a fair use when done for purposes of fostering interoperability with independently created software’. All those jailbreak app you are running fall into this category.

As to the DMCA claim Apple makes, John make a very good point aurguing FUD. ‘ ... One need only transpose Apple’s arguments to the world of automobiles to recognize their absurdity. Sure, GM might tell us that, for our own safety, all servicing should be done by an authorized GM dealer using only genuine GM parts ….’

Now I do not expect the legal games to end here.  Apple makes ~.30 for every $1.00 sold in the Apple store, so its very much in their interest to have ALL applications sold through them. However, part of what makes the iphone popular is some of the applications that Apple is trying to block. If you were to look at my top 10 jailbreak apps list,  you can see why.

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