iPhone hack, illegal?

Is the now famous iPhone/ATT hack in any way illegal? I don’t see how it could be, but laws favorable to big business have suprised me before.

Cell phone unlocking has an exemption from the DMCA.

The reasoning behind the exemption doesn’t sound like something that’ll change, either.
Maybe this successful hack will eventually discourage other makers from locking phones.
Or start a lock vs hack war.
Another thing, can’t George (the hacker) copyright his hack?

You can’t copyright information.

He can copyright the presentation – such as text he wrote or videos he made, if he wants to.

This question opens up a whole terrorable can of worms.

The law is not that simple or straightforward, says The New York Times.

Engadget’s copyright lawyer spoke out about this topic and the caveats in the DMCA exemption recently. It’s fairly brief but a good read.

How are Apples/ATT’s actions any different, really, than if Ford were to put a sensor in your F-250 fuel system that would detect a secret tag (pig) and not allow the engine to run on a gas that didn’t contain that pig? And then they would sell the code for that marker to, oh I don’t know, Chevron.
This would be very easy to do. The basic system already exists and has for decades.
BTW; it is not illegal, afaik, to disable the “tattletale” app in onboard automobile computers.

I believe I read that AT&T and Apple have both yawned rather than yelled. Doesn’t look to them like more than a handful of technogeeks will avail themselves of the possibility.

Link pending.

They don’t know about the ol’ slippery slope?

According to NPR’s Morning Report, AT&T issued a cease and desist letter to some group who was set today to offer for sale a software hack. Does anyone know the details?

“They don’t know about the ol’ slippery slope?” (Quoting myself)
Of course they do.
Can the hackers continue at least until the matter is decided, or does ATT win so easily. I forget what it’s called, but keeping someone in court solely for the purpose of causing the them to run out of resources and/or give up has, I think, been outlawed.
I have trouble seeing this software alteration as a copyright issue.
And they’re not interferring with ATT’s business any more than someone who sells a chip to alter your car’s performance.

It is likely that AT&T will ask for a preliminary injunction, which would stop it immediately.

I’m not sure what you’re referring to here. Some states have what is called an “anti-slapp” law (“strategic lawsuit against public participation”), which allows a defendant to get a quick dismissal if the lawsuit had been brought solely to make someone stop exercising their free speech rights.

If there is a contract between AT&T and the customer and someone is selling you a device that allows you to bypass the terms of the contract, then they are interfering with a contractual relationship and AT&T does have the right to sue to stop it.

But if you, or a your new carrier, pays the penalty the contract is voided. From what I understand the lock stays. I’m not a party to the contract between Apple and ATT, am I? I don’t think I agreed to keep ATT when I bought the phone fron Apple. I didn’t even agree to sign up with them. I could take the phone home and toss it into a drawer.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with ATT’s service or prices, I just don’t see how (or why) they can prevent me from unlocking my own device. I could unlock it and keep ATT. Isn’t illegal to presume that one action will surely lead to another?
Finding analogies for this kind of stuff is hard.
Let’s say I buy a new Stephen King novel. Does copyright law prevent someone from selling me the last few pages with an altered ending that I can paste over the originals?

What about in post #8, where Ford would require you to use only Chevron gas if you buy one of their pickups?
Believe me, it would be easy to do. Stupid, but easy. Unless, of course, Ford developes a 500 mpg truck engine.
Apple and ATT stink for doing this. That’s the bottom line.

You know what? Screw that. You know the rules, you don’t have to buy the phone. Right?

I’m not well versed enough in copyright law to know exactly why the software hack is a copyright violation. Possibly, it’s because the code copies significant portions of the original software. Possibly it’s because it’s not reverse-engineered, which would be a violation of the copyright on the original software. How about we let it play out in court and see if AT&T is correct? If they are, are you going to apologize to AT&T for your comments? Or are you simply ranting because they are doing something you don’t like? :stuck_out_tongue:

Apologize? Heh, I’m sure they’re holding their collective breath waiting for that!
No, I’m simply asking if their (and Apple’s) actions are illegal. That they stink is a given, but an opinion, and not proper in this forum. And about the only negative comment I’ve made.
So, how about my comparative hypothetical?

From what I understand, Apple shopped the iPhone around for a while before Cingular (which got quickly gobbled up by AT&T after the public announcement and furore got going) said they’d do it, and were turned down by most of them. The reasons for refusal were A) Apple didn’t want the carrier dictating design or engineering, B) Apple needed certain things from the carrier in order to get features to work. None of the other carriers would give them what they wanted.

The price of getting those things from Cingular/AT&T was probably the exclusive contracts. Like the DRM thing, it’s probably not something Apple would have chosen to do if they’d had other choices. If you strip out the PR-speak from that statement, it pretty clearly says, “Hey, we know we wouldn’t have gotten a chance to sell our stuff at all if we hadn’t made some concessions to your paranoia and lack of vision, but enough is enough, guys. This keeping one step ahead of the hackers gig sucks, we knew beforehand that it was a hopeless game of one-upsmanship, and we don’t want to play it anymore. Get your fucking act together so that we can spend time on making more cool shit instead of covering your loser asses.”

While no company is all sunshine and kittens, Apple, and especially Steve Jobs, would much rather spend their time making stuff that people want and avoiding things that customers don’t want to deal with. I’m as sure as anyone who isn’t privy to Apple’s inner workings can be that their exclusivity with AT&T is not considered to be an ideal situation.

They knew it was going to cost them in PR (Apple is one of the best companies around at generating and sustaining positive PR), they know that it’s going to cost them customers, but their choice was to take the deal with someone who would give them what they needed to have any chance of success, give up completely, or start their own carrier. The latter isn’t a realistic choice, so they were pretty much left with take it, or leave it.

If you’re going to bitch about the iPhone there are lots of nits to pick; it’s definitely a diamond that’s a bit rough around the edges. If you’re going to bitch about AT&T, there are obviously hundreds of things to complain about. Bitching that Apple is at fault for the locked phone is not, in my opinion, a very realistic rant as it blithely dismisses the uphill battle Apple faced in even getting this product out there.

I agree. It’s a cellphone, not a kidney machine - and alternatives are available. Unless it was part of an industry-wide simultaneous move to a new regime, then we can let the market sort it out, can’t we? - same thing with the hypothetical truck that only runs on one brand of fuel - if that idea sucks, vote with your money and don’t buy it - the manufacturers will soon get the message if they’re not selling any.

If the new device (or new truck) is so wonderful that people just have to buy one, regardless of the restrictions it creates, then I guess they should be happy enough to endure the restrictions - nobody put a gun to their head and forced them to buy it.

Then you’d be ignoring centuries of precedent that say you can do what you want with something you bought. The current ideas that you can’t are an aberration.