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Jailbreaking phones becomes legal, but you'd need your carrier's permission to unlock a handset from 2013

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Jailbreaking phones becomes legal, but you'd need your carrier's permission to unlock a handset from 2013
Jailbreaking your phone is now finally officially legal in the United States, but if you are trying to treat your tablet to the same level of freedom you’d be in violation of the law. What sounds like an absurd decision comes straight from the US Copyright Office, saying that jailbreaking a phone doesn’t break copyright law, but this does not apply to other devices.

Why are tablets so weirdly not included? It seems that tablets are simply too hard to define and an exemption could have been used for e-readers and mobile gaming consoles. The decision comes in a triennial review of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

But what’s even more baffling, is the fact that unlocking your phone to work with any carrier - while still legal - is now much more limited. You’d be able to unlock your phone freely by January 2013. What happens next? Starting in 2013, you’d need permission from your carrier to unlock your phone to have it work on other carriers.

Outside mobile, the Copyright Office decided that making personal backups of DVDs is still illegal, and modding game consoles is a breach of the law as well.

What are your thoughts about those rulings?

source: US Copyright Office via TheVerge

30 Comments
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posted on 26 Oct 2012, 06:02

1. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1362; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


What if i told you i give a .... About copyright laws , anyways happy jailbreaking my phone from "2011"

posted on 28 Oct 2012, 16:24

26. metalpoet (unregistered)


how about just choosing the right carrier and dealing with it. or go pre paid

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 06:07 7

2. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8719; Member since: 14 May 2012)


You'd need to ask your carrier to unlock? How stupid is that? This is a slap to the face to those who spent a lot on money on their phones and can't take it to another carrier.

posted on 28 Oct 2012, 16:25

27. metalpoet (unregistered)


how bout they buy that great device on the carrier that thay want?

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 06:09 1

3. wendygarett (unregistered)


I don't see a need to jailbreak it, It's nothing but ruined your warranty...

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 11:12 3

9. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8719; Member since: 14 May 2012)


You don't see the need for freedom and customization?

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 16:41

24. HäckeMáte (Posts: 168; Member since: 28 Feb 2012)


Here's a few reasons
1: Google voice integration app for calls (also integrates with iMessage)
2: Hide all the apple bloatware like newstand, itunes etc
3: MusicBox for downloading free music
4: Double tap power button to activate flashlight
5: free wifi hotspot tethering
6: Installous gets you apps for free

An iPhone without jb is useless.

posted on 28 Oct 2012, 16:26

28. metalpoet (unregistered)


dont get an iPhone....SIMPLE AS THAT!

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 13:04 3

12. tedkord (Posts: 4990; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


Do you see the need for people who bought a device and own it to be able to modify it however they like? What right does anyone have to tell me what I can or cannot do with something I own (so long as I'm not endangering anyone or their property)?

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 22:04

16. uofmrules (Posts: 47; Member since: 11 Oct 2010)


If you paid a subsidized rate then you do not own the phone.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 03:14

19. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8719; Member since: 14 May 2012)


And off contract?

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 06:35

22. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3783; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Some people have to root to get the new Android. Getting the new iOS doesn't require jailbreaking.

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 06:20 5

4. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


"i" Applaud the U.S. Copyright Office for their interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and their commitment to its' enforcement. My iPhone 4, though, is already Jailbroken, unfortunately, I just use it as an MP3 player.

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 06:47 1

5. rihel_95 (Posts: 221; Member since: 21 Mar 2012)


Waiting for untethered jailbreak for iP5

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 07:06 7

6. Lawliet (Posts: 160; Member since: 02 Jul 2012)


"Starting in 2013, you’d need permission from your carrier to unlock your phone "

Ain't nobody got time for that !

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 10:38 4

7. networkdood (Posts: 6282; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


My Nexus 7 is rooted - who is going to arrest me? No one....that is who.

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 13:11 1

13. aahmed215 (Posts: 79; Member since: 18 Jun 2012)


You can't get arrested for breaking intellectual property laws anyway.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 03:34

21. JC557 (Posts: 1146; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


It's not like Android is listed anyway. From what I gather from the Anandtech/ Dailytech article:

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=29047

Besides, considering how Google is with Android and open source there would be quite an uproar if they decide to stop modders. If the OEMs do it well then we know who NOT to buy from.

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 10:39 3

8. networkdood (Posts: 6282; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


You have to jailbreak your iphone to be able to have a level of customization that is 30% closer to that of an Android device.

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 11:12

10. speed4evr (Posts: 79; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


I love how they say "The Library of Congress explained that it believes there are enough unlocked handsets available in the market at this time" - phonescoop.com. Im pretty sure all carriers(for sure VZW and Sprint) lock the phones from the get go. It seems quite arbitrary that phones can be unlocked but not tablets.

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 11:57 1

11. dragonscourgex (Posts: 307; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


Why do we even have laws concerning this? If a person pays for a device. It is there to do with as they please. This idea that company can make a product, take someone money in trade for it, then turn around and still act as they own it is complete bull.

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 13:24 1

14. frydaexiii (Posts: 1238; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


This is bullsh*t...If I paid for something, I do whatever the f**k I wanna do with it.

I love the US, but some of their laws and practices are just plain retarded. Heavy carrier branding on phones? Get permission from carriers to jailbreak my phone? Paying to tether? Carrier specific phones? How can you people live under this kind of tyranny?

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 03:17

20. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8719; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Carrier specific phones really blows. AT&T gets the Lumia 920 for 6 months as an exclusive? Come on!

posted on 26 Oct 2012, 21:48

15. uofmrules (Posts: 47; Member since: 11 Oct 2010)


Sorry but anyone who uses the argument that "they paid for it so they can do whatever they want" is false. Anyone who didn't pay full retail did not buy the phone. Which is why you signed a contract tying you to that carrier, which in turn is why they don't want you to take that marked down phone where ever you want. Also, you can't complain about not being able to mess with software in your phone, because when you mess the phone up the first thing you will want is a warranty replacement. Well sorry, but you don't deserve the warranty since this is no different then dropping it or getting it wet. You are the reason the phone messed up, no the manufacturer.

If you pay full price for the phone, then do whatever you want with it....But if you signed a contract then you have no place to complain.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 00:21

17. IEatApples (Posts: 66; Member since: 06 Jul 2011)


i disagree with you. Even if i buy a phone at a subsidized price I have the right to sell it therefore it is mine. I do it all the time. I have 5 lines so I get an upgrade every 4 months or so and I buy, sell and trade subsidized phones all the time. So my point is that if I can sell something then it must belong to me.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 10:13

23. dragonscourgex (Posts: 307; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


I half way disagree with you. Regardless if the phone is subsidize or not, you are making the agreement to pay the carrier back through the course of two year. So they are not giving you anything. So it is your property and yours to do with as you please. Now i do agree with you about the warranty. If you mess with your phone and screw it up....it is on you. not the carrier or manufacturer fault.

posted on 28 Oct 2012, 00:05

25. toreddouei2011 (Posts: 1; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


I disagree with you because its mandatory to get a decent price on a phone. In the U.S. phone subsidies distort the market. Laws this article explains out make this problem worse. If I don't want to sign a contract, a decent phone will cost me at least 400-700 bucks and the service costs are rediculous because they are designed to make phone subsidies affordable for the carrier.

If the Government got out of the way of the phone industry carriers would eventually abandon phone subsidies and make plans cheaper. This would make phones about 200-600 bucks on average and you would be able to buy phones straight from the manufactuer or from an electronic store. The business would be similar to other electronic purchases like a computer or laptop.

posted on 27 Oct 2012, 02:30 1

18. speckledapple (Posts: 879; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)


If I am paying the money for my device, I should not have to ask anyone else for permission to do what i want with my property.

posted on 29 Oct 2012, 01:08

29. yingcong6 (Posts: 22; Member since: 09 Feb 2012)


The law enforcement is not acceptable. What if people pay for their cars monthly, can they do what they want with the cars but not damaging, negatively affecting, and harming others? In this case, some phones are subsidized, but we still paying the bills until the contracts end. We also forced to pay terminal fees if we want to jump out of the contract. So the in or out of contracts phone's are our properties, not the carriers'.

posted on 29 Oct 2012, 14:12

30. SassyGirl (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


That's ridiculous. That would be like having to buy a new car when changing car insurance, or a new TV and computer when you switched cable and internet. And I'm sure Verizon (using them as an example since that's who I have) would not make it an easy process of allowing you jailbreak your phone.

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