Library of Congress breaks the iPhone tether

Want to override your iPhone’s system controls? Now there’s an app for that. Thanks to Monday’s Library of Congress ruling allowing the “jailbreaking” of iPhones, users can now legally override Apple’s operating system to allow third party applications. In weighing certain exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the LOC gave four basic “fair use” arguments for siding with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and against Apple:

1. Jailbreakers are modifying a device they own for private, noncommercial purposes
2. Operating systems customarily enable third party programs and doing so on the iPhone doesn’t infringe on exclusive Apple copyrights
3. The amount of recoding performed during a jailbreak is negligible– 50 bytes of code out of a total of over 8 million
4. Jailbreaking doesn’t devalue Apple’s firmware or iPhones in the marketplace and might even help it by allowing users a wider variety of app choices

The Library of Congress’ explanations confirm what is apparent to most– that Apple’s real reason for exerting absolute control over it’s iPhones and App Store is to strengthen it’s bottom line without regard for what consumers want. Despite a respectful tone, the LOC’s message to Apple is clear: there is no legal basis for this kind of exclusivity, and we won’t do your dirty work by agreeing to this logic. Continue reading “Library of Congress breaks the iPhone tether”