Fred von Lohmann, a legal representative from the EFF, says that recent comments filed by Apple (PDF) with the Copyright Office as part of the 2009 DMCA triennial rulemaking state that iPhone and iPod jailbreaking constitutes copyright infringement and a DMCA violation.
Bummer. To quote the EFF:
Apple’s iPhone, now the best-selling cellular phone in the U.S., has been designed with restrictions that prevent owners from running applications obtained from sources other than Apple’s own iTunes App Store. "Jailbreaking" is the term used for removing these restrictions, thereby liberating your phone from Apple’s software "jail." Estimates put the number of iPhone owners who have jailbroken their phones in the hundreds of thousands.
As part of the 2009 DMCA rulemaking, EFF has asked the Copyright Office to recognize an exemption to the DMCA to permit jailbreaking in order to allow iPhone owners to use their phones with applications that are not available from Apple’s store (e.g., turn-by-turn directions, using the iPhone camera for video, laptop tethering).
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 longrecognized 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.
As for the DMCA violation, Apple casts its lot with the likes of laser printer makers and garage door opener companies who argue that the DMCA entitles them to block interoperability with anything that hasn’t been approved in advance. Apple justifies this by claiming that opening the iPhone to independently created applications will compromise safety, security, reliability, and swing the doors wide for those who want to run pirated software.
If this sounds like FUD, that’s because it is. 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. Toyota might say that swapping your engine could reduce the reliability of your car. And Mazda could say that those who throw a supercharger on their Miatas frequently exceed the legal speed limit.
But we’d never accept this corporate paternalism as a justification for welding every car hood shut and imposing legal liability on car buffs tinkering in their garages. After all, the culture of tinkering (or hacking, if you prefer) is an important part of our innovation economy.
Of course, many iPhone owners will be happy to choose solely from the applications that Apple is willing to approve, just like many Ford owners are happy relying exclusively on their local Ford dealer. But if you want to pop the hood, the DMCA surely shouldn’t stand in your way.
The iPod Observer (via MacBlogz) just posted what they believe to be the next model of iPhone’s back side. They point out that the number on the back is a model number that doesn’t currently exist and that it looks like a metallic black instead of the current plastic. Obviously this wouldn’t be rocket science to Photoshop either. We’ll believe it when we see it.
Updated: Macrumors has the following images which appear to be from the same series. It is getting a bit more realer.
Oh, and why not make it 32GB while you are at it?
For you MacBook users out there, here’s a deal on the biggest possible hard drive you can cram into that thing at the lowest price. From the Toys section:
Newegg.com trimmed its price on the Samsung Spinpoint M6 2.5" 500GB Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s Notebook Hard Drive, model no. HM500LI, to $94.99 plus free shipping ($0.19/GB). That’s $5 under our mention from two weeks ago and the lowest total price we’ve seen. This 5400 rpm drive features an 8MB cache.
Also available is the Seagate Momentus 5400.6 2.5" 500GB Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Notebook Hard Drive, model no. ST9500325AS, for $99.99 with free shipping ($0.20/GB).
Amazon has the Western Digital 500GB Scorpio Blue 2.5 SATA II Laptop Hard Drive for $109 or less with free shipping. The WD drive gets the highest ratings of the three. Is the $15 worth it?
The hard drive swapout procedure in MacBooks (new and old) and the new unibody MacBook Pros is very easy. But you may also want to invest in a $39 USB SATA dock to help with the transition if you don’t already have external storage.
For those who can’t wait for the Mac Tablet, the Modbook is a (pricey) stopgap. Ever wonder how one was made? Wonder no longer: