Mozilla, Skype support EFF's case for iPhone jailbreaking

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
In a filling with the US Copyright Office, Mozilla and Skype have added their voices of support to a request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act related to iPhone jailbreaking.



The exemption would strip Apple of its ability to charge groups with DMCA violations for circumventing the iPhone's security by modifying Apple's internal iPhone software, as long as they did it under the cover of "enabling interoperability," according to the exemption wording proposed by the EFF.



The jailbreak arguments



Users can already bypass Apple's security system by jailbreaking their iPhones using freely available software. This allows the users to run software that Apple does not allow in its App Store. It also allows users to bootleg pirated iPhone software, strips the iPhone of any functional protection from malware, and complicates Apple's ability to release software updates, as the modified firmware on jailbroken phones can result in failed software updates that render the phone unreliable or even unusable until it is restored back to factory default settings.



Speaking for the EFF, Fred von Lohmann has called Apple's argument against the exemption "FUD," "corporate paternalism," and "absurdity." Apple's fillings say the EFF's new exemption request is unnecessary, as the DMCA already has provisions that allow circumvention to enable interoperability. It also claims the EFF is merely trying to use the courts to attack its unique business model, and that the EFF does not present any evidence to back up its claims that legitimizing jailbreaking would result in increased innovation.



Few software companies offer iPhone titles that require jailbreaking, in part because of the grey area under the shadow of threat of a DMCA violation charge from Apple, and in part because of the lack of any profit motive behind distributing software outside of the App Store, where Apple's DRM creates a viable market for mobile software. For developers who can't sell their titles in the App Store, it's an entirely different story however.



Mozilla wants freedom, but won't go on the iPhone



Mozilla insists that Apple would probably not allow it to offer a mobile version of Firefox for the iPhone, based on its reading of the iPhone SDK, which forbids the installation of alternative runtimes. It has neither submitted Firefox nor has it been officially denied a listing by Apple.



A Computerworld report filed by Gregg Keizer quoted Mozilla's CEO, John Lilly, as saying, "The [iPhone] SDK is very clear, that Flash and Firefox and other runtimes are not welcome on the iPhone." However, the report also noted that Lilly "said he doubts Mozilla would venture into the iPhone even if the Copyright Office grants the DMCA exemption over jailbreaking."



Mozilla's mobile version of Firefox, called Fennec, aims to compete against mobile browsers based on Web Kit, including Apple's Mobile Safari and web browsers developed by Nokia, Google for Android, Palm for its upcoming Pre, and RIM for the BlackBerry Storm.



Apple claims in its filing with the Copyright Office that alternative apps which compete with Apple's own software are allowed as long as they meet the other requirements of the SDK. It even specifically cites web browsers; the App Store reveals a handful of alternative web browsers that are already available for download. Most appear to be alternative interfaces to Safari which use the WebKit rendering engine, but at least one appears to use its own.



Skype's missed connection



Skype, which is owned by eBay, a prominent early adopter in iPhone software development, also joined in to endorse the EFF's exemption request, stating "copyright law should not interfere with a user using his or her phone to run Skype and enjoy the benefits of low- or no-cost long-distance and international calling."



However, Apple does not prevent VoIP applications on the iPhone, as long as they use WiFi. The App Store lists a variety of VoIP apps, but Skype currently does not offer an iPhone version of its software.



Unclear intent



If allowed, the EFF's exemption might make it easier for companies that want to offer an alternative to the App Store, including the jailbreak software download tool Cydia, which also filed a comment supporting the EFF's proposal.



The DMCA exemption would not stop Apple from filing a copyright infringement case against groups who modify and distribute its software however. The DMCA only relates to the circumvention of security measures that control access to copyright material. Bypassing security doesn't remove copyright. It also doesn't invalidate Apple's software license or SDK, both of which forbid modifying Apple's internal software. A DMCA exemption would only make it far more difficult for Apple to pursue known pirates.



Apple hasn't yet filed or even threatened to file DMCA complaints against any groups or individuals involved in jailbreaking. Instead, the company has focused on making the App Store attractive enough to render jailbreaking superfluous and irrelevant to most users. Since the release of the iPhone 2.0 SDK, interest in jailbreaking has waned considerably.



The company still opposes the EFF's efforts to legitimize jailbreaking, as it would tear down a barrier to copyright infringement, encourage users to dismantle the malware security measures of the iPhone, expose the company to additional support costs from jailbreakers complaining about having "bricked" their iPhones, and erode the commercial success of the App Store, which was built upon the premise that DRM would allow developers to offer apps at low prices in exchange for a high volume, low piracy marketplace.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,544member
    They call it 'Jailbreaking' but thats just another way of saying 'HACK'



    So basically a group wants it to be legal to hack a companies product to enable then to run their own programs and effectively open the door to piracy.



    Maybe the EFF should start a case for Sony and Microsoft to make it legal to hack both of their consoles so you can run your own software on them (like backups from torrents).



    Apple provides an App store which currently serves over 20,000 applications so its not like they are preventing people from getting their apps out there. As the app store grows and any vulnerabilities on the iPhone OS are worked out the limitations of the SDK will be reduced. We have already seen this with certain Apps which were previously refused but have since been allowed onto the store.



    As with any technology you always get a group of so called L33t hackers who think its their god given right to do whatever they want with someone elses product and business. Infact these hackers are simply leeches who provide the gateway for pirates and counterfeiters to abuse products and services.
  • Reply 2 of 46
    Precisely, as said above. Although this is inevitable, that these bad boy l33tz will crack any new product, demanding that they do so lawfully is laughable, i stand by Apple to do everything they can to maintain that doing so is unlawful, they designed it the way it is meant to be, if you don't like it don't buy it!
  • Reply 3 of 46
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    Will Skype let me use whatever SIP provider I want with their software?



    Is it 'closed' software?



    I think I'll stick with Fring.
  • Reply 4 of 46
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    Will Skype let me use whatever SIP provider I want with their software?



    Is it 'closed' software?



    I think I'll stick with Fring.
  • Reply 5 of 46
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    I can't jailbreak the unix server at my office. And I can't jailbreak my way to see a database table that I'm not granted the permissions to see. Why don't Apple just secure the system? At some point in the jailbreaking process, the jailbreaking software must be getting a legitimate login to do its work, right?



    Regardless of the jailbreaking debate, we all benefit from better security.
  • Reply 6 of 46
    Gecko? Sorry, but we don't want Gecko. WebKit has massive momentum, on OS X and Linux, not to mention Windows with Google Chrome and Apple Safari.



    Gecko isn't dying. It's just not happy that it's first cousin has grown up?
  • Reply 7 of 46
    One of the biggest attractions to the iPhone IS because you can't easily pirate software on it. Why should we make it easy for people to then circumvent the system that allows developers to actually make money? This has fostered a whole new era of indie developers who don't have to be working through some uncaring conglomerate company to make a living. That's freedom.
  • Reply 8 of 46
    Yup, its ridiculous, to me this could cause pirated apps. Imagine how a $1 developer app end up in torrent site and everyone end up downloading it? That would kill small developer motivation to create apps for the iPhone.
  • Reply 9 of 46
    1. Mozilla hasn't actually tried to get Firefox approved



    2. skype is basically for using your computer to make contact with a phone on the other side, yes. but with an iphone you have to buy phone service anyway. so why would someone risk killing their iphone to get a program that is going to use wifi to make a call when they have to have phone service. is calling an international number really that expensive.



    3. most of the companies that you to hack your phone/touch are so because they were too lazy to try to figure out the official installer. there are only a few practical exceptions like qik which will hopefully be out of business soon and apple will have short video recording on the phone (like my epson still cam has)



    4. for the conspiracy nuts: anyone else think this is a ploy by apple to encourage folks to jailbreak, which is a violation of your warranty and then you have to buy another phone. and ATT won't give you that $200 again so they make more as well.
  • Reply 10 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Skype, which is owned by eBay, a prominent early adopter in iPhone software development, also joined in to endorse the EFF's exemption request, stating "copyright law should not interfere with a user using his or her phone to run Skype and enjoy the benefits of low- or no-cost long-distance and international calling."



    However, Apple does not prevent VoIP applications on the iPhone, as long as they use WiFi. The App Store lists a variety of VoIP apps, but Skype currently does not offer an iPhone version of its software.



    You can even use Skype on your iPhone - you just have to install Fring, a free download from the AppStore - so someone at Skype must have smoked a funny cigarette or being handed the divorce papers.
  • Reply 11 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wheelhot View Post


    Yup, its ridiculous, to me this could cause pirated apps. Imagine how a $1 developer app end up in torrent site and everyone end up downloading it? That would kill small developer motivation to create apps for the iPhone.



    Sorry but you all seem to miss the point.



    a) "I dont have to jailbreak my unix system".

    No you dont because your system administrator has the root password and you can do whatever you want with the box YOU OWN. This is not the case on the iPhone. It means apple can do whatever THEY want with the phone YOU own.



    b) pirates

    Pirating software is definitively not the same as jailbreaking. There are very good reasons why jailbreaking is useful to overcome Apple's sometimes stupid limits. Like to use the iPhone as a gateway so you can get on to the internet from your computer over the iPhone. Something totally legitimate. Apple says you are not allowed to write software to do this because AT&T doesnt want you to do it (and the SDK's limits also dont allow it). Theres a world outside AT&T and USA. Those users do want to use it.



    I bought my own iPhone 3G without contract. So I'm not bound to any operator. I can do whatever I want with the device I bought and paid money for. Luckily, the rules of USA would not stand up in court in most (if not all) european countries because once the device is sold to the buyer, the buyer has the right to do whatever he wants with it. He might violate his warranty or can't use it as a phone afterwards but that's then his problem. I know many people who have jailbreaked their phone but I have not seen a single one who did it for the purpose of running pirated software.



    Frankly, the hassle to run pirated software on the iPhone is way bigger than the few bucks you pay for the software usually. There the App Store does good things. But also its a monopoly which sets up rules which are sometimes ridiculous and prevents invention.
  • Reply 12 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... The jailbreak arguments... Speaking for the EFF, Fred von Lohmann has called Apple's argument against the exemption "FUD," "corporate paternalism," and "absurdity.". ...



    So, that's the entire argument for the EFF side? That's all that's mentioned in any of the articles I have read so far (including this one), sounds like sour grapes to me.



    I guess the DMCA only applies until you get successful, then not?



    With all that Apple has done for open source and with all they are trying to do for Skype, both of these companies should be ashamed of themselves for trying to roast Apple like this. Anyone who knows anything about the iPhone knows that it's processing power and memory is severely limited. Anyone can see that if Apple had to support multiple run-times and HTML engines it would be crap and come crashing down. What they want is not possible on the iPhone 3G and they know it.



    Shameful.
  • Reply 13 of 46
    My iphone is jailbroken. I have not, nor has anyone I know pirated apps for their jailbroken iphone. Also, I still buy apps on the app store AND pay for jailbreak-only apps. Apple is definitely too restrictive with the phone. One of the biggest reasons I bought the iphone 3G (as opposed to waiting) was GPS. I never thought I'd be waiting this long for a useful GPS app. If apple doesn't loosen up, the iphone will be bypassed and i will be very unhappy.
  • Reply 14 of 46
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I'm with the EFF on this. And I don't see why Apple needs to bother worrying about it: Jailbreaking is fun for the techie hobbyist, but Apple doesn't lift a finger to help jailbreakers when OS updates come out--and the OS is evolving fast. The very fact that the OS is a moving target is enough to keep jailbreaking from being so widespread that it's a huge problem for Apple or app developers. (I understand that jailbreaking is already a SMALL problem for app developers, since it supports piracy.)



    So what's the reason, I wonder? I wonder if Apple has to defend their iPhone OS in this way, simply as a necessary companion to their desktop OS battle with Psystar? Psystar a complex issue that has gone in many absurd directions. It wouldn't surprise me if Apple has to defend their iPhone software in certain ways or risk losing protection of their desktop OS X.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by plum1030 View Post


    My iphone is jailbroken. I have not, nor has anyone I know pirated apps for their jailbroken iphone. Also, I still buy apps on the app store AND pay for jailbreak-only apps. Apple is definitely too restrictive with the phone. One of the biggest reasons I bought the iphone 3G (as opposed to waiting) was GPS. I never thought I'd be waiting this long for a useful GPS app. If apple doesn't loosen up, the iphone will be bypassed and i will be very unhappy.



    Have hope: Apple HAS been loosening up, and even said months ago that they foresaw 3rd-paty GPS apps coming. IIRC, GPS apps depended on Location Services gaining heading support, which may or may not have happened in the last few OS updates. But it's planned if not. I certainly would love to have a full GPS/voive app, with pre-cached route data! (Supplemented by Google aerial imagery if and when you have a connection?)



    But re piracy: it IS a real issue, even if you and your friends are among the good guys. Look on iPhone dev forums and you'll find some developers reporting that MOST of their users are pirates. That varies, but it's a serious concern that I wouldn't want to see grow. Worst case (which has happened): an app with an Internet back-end means the dev is spending big bucks providing 'net services to pirates!
  • Reply 15 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    So, that's the entire argument for the EFF side? That's all that's mentioned in any of the articles I have read so far (including this one), sounds like sour grapes to me.



    I guess the DMCA only applies until you get successful, then not?



    The whole case does seem fairly frivolous to me, especially given Apple's own admission that the DMCA already has provisions that allow circumvention and reverse-engineering for the purpose of providing software interoperability.



    Quote:

    Anyone can see that if Apple had to support multiple run-times and HTML engines it would be crap and come crashing down.



    Of course, Apple shouldn't be required to provide support for multiple run-times and HTML engines which they didn't provide. That said, I don't see any reason why 3rd parties shouldn't be allowed to supply their own run-times and HTML rendering engines, provided they assume all liability and responsibility for providing support.



    Quote:

    What they want is not possible on the iPhone 3G and they know it.



    In what way is it "not possible"?
  • Reply 16 of 46
    shadowshadow Posts: 373member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kiwi66 View Post


    Theres a world outside AT&T and USA.



    Are you kidding!? Outside USA!? Really!?



  • Reply 17 of 46
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,180member
    I wonder if i could apply to a court to make a change in the law just for me so as to allow me to rob my local bank legally?
  • Reply 18 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    I wonder if i could apply to a court to make a change in the law just for me so as to allow me to rob my local bank legally?



    The people filing for this exception are probably doing so under the premise that a 3rd party (Apple) is using this law as an excuse to exert undue control over something that would otherwise be somebody else's private property.



    Whether or not that premise is correct is still up for debate.



    But if it were true, then the proper analogy would be that I am the bank, and a robber is trying to use some loophole in the law as an excuse to steal from me legally, and I am making an application to the court to change the law to clarify the fact that the robber does not have the right to steal from me.
  • Reply 19 of 46
    successsuccess Posts: 1,039member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hexor View Post


    One of the biggest attractions to the iPhone IS because you can't easily pirate software on it. Why should we make it easy for people to then circumvent the system that allows developers to actually make money? This has fostered a whole new era of indie developers who don't have to be working through some uncaring conglomerate company to make a living. That's freedom.



    Yeah cause the fart app is great right? All the best apps are the worst sellers. I should rephrase that.... All the most useful and practical apps.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wheelhot View Post


    Yup, its ridiculous, to me this could cause pirated apps. Imagine how a $1 developer app end up in torrent site and everyone end up downloading it? That would kill small developer motivation to create apps for the iPhone.



    You're kidding right? I can get any app I want at other places if you catch my drift.



    True gadget power user realizes the benefit of jailbreaking. Users who don't see it are the same users who buy $2k-$4k computers for email and excel.
  • Reply 20 of 46
    While I don't think that this filing will succeed, I do agree with what they are saying, in principle. Many iPhone owners already pay a premium for their contracts and would like to enjoy the same benefits that others enjoy.



    For example, tethering (Windows Mobile has it, as does Nokia and others); MMS; IM services that run in the background and of course the ability to use another sim in the phone.



    The principle being argued is that you own your iPhone, so you should be able to use it to meet your needs, as you wish.



    No-one WANTS to jailbreak their phone but are forced to just so that they can tether their Mac to their phone, or just so that they can send an MMS to their friends/family.



    If you live in a country and have no plans to move, then you won't worry too much about your phone being locked, but many people live in several countries over time (I've lived in 3 so far and plan to move to the 4th later this year) for various reasons who don't want to have to buy a new phone each time they move.



    Especially for EU members. Our countries are not countries anymore, they are states that make up one big country. Yet, if you live in the UK for example, and decide to move to another EU country (be it fo business/retirement/love/better weather etc) you might as well sell your iPhone because you cannot use it in another country. Or jailbreak + unlock it.



    To put this into perspective for US readers: what if Apple said you can only use your iPhone in the state you bought it, and nowhere else in the US? So, if you bought it on New York and decided to go to Miami on holiday, you could not use your phone there.....isn't that stupid? wouldn't you try unlock your phone?



    Well that's exactly what we Europeans experience with locking, hence we jailbreak/unlock.

    (I know the two are seperate, but often the process happens simultaneously)



    Apple should sell the iPhone to any network so that we as consumers get better prices as a result of the competition between networks, and we would have the choice of network and the freedom to move.



    Secondly, it should at least allow a tethering app in the app store and add an MMS feature to the OS.



    I bet at least half of those who have jailbroken or unlocked phones would stop doing it if Apple did this, if not more....
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