Jay Freeman and the Legalities of Jailbreaking

Jay Saurik WWJC

This weekend at WWJC, Saurik talked law.. and a LOT of it. While a lot of what he was talking about seemed as if it was legal mumbo-jumbo, this is what I personally got out of it.

The DMCA wants to lock down what we have rights to, such as unlocking, repairing or modifying out electronic devices. Although, there have been exemptions for the jailbreaking of “telephones”. While that’s all good and dandy, what about devices that aren’t telephones? The iPad, iPod Touch or Apple TV would not be included in any of these.

The copyright laws were also made exempt in respect to piracy, as someone that jailbreaks an iOS device is not always one to steal applications. Although to this day, the DMCA still isn’t specific enough to making the act of jailbreaking exempt to tablets and other things, because they don’t really know what to call these devices. Sure, they’re called iPads and iPods, but what category do they both really fall under? 

Next, Saurik discussed the ordeal having to do with George Hotz hacking the bootloader in the PS3, ultimately finding the encryption keys for decrypting and reverse engineering its firmware. Sony then responded to this by doing what any big company does best: sue. Why? Because they had no idea what else to do. They went to the ends of the earth to try to get @Geohot in the deep end of the pool, but it didn’t do much other than waste people’s time.

For our amusement, Saurik has also showed us the rap video that Geohot made during his lawsuit with Sony, which you can watch below.

Overall, while the DMCA hasn’t included specifically whether tablets are considered legal to jailbreak, nobody really knows whether it truly is legal or not because these laws and exemptions are a huge, jumbled mess. In any case, it would be extremely hard to sue a person for doing it because it would be hard to prove, so there’s really not much to worry about. Although, that doesn’t stop Jay from continuing the fight.

Post a response / What do you think?