Late Friday Greg Joswiak from Apple, Fred von Lohmann from the Electronic Frontier Foundation
, and officials from the US Copyright Office, record labels, movie studios, and the software industry sat down together for a hearing concerning the EFF's requested DMCA exemption of Jailbreaking. This comes just a few months after the EFF originally filed for an exemption for Jailbreaking to which Apple responded
with claims that Jailbreaking is illegal.
Apple is still opposing Jailbreaking and claims that copyright protection is why they have sold 30 million iPhones and 1 billion applications. The EFF's position continues to be that comsumers should be able to run any application including those that Apple doesn't approve of.
Apple is afraid of losing their control on the iPhone where they get to choose what applications are allowed to run for whatever reasons they have. If the exemption for Jailbreaking were approved Apple's Joswiak thinks that “This would severely limit our ability to continue what we are doing as well as innovate for the future.”
Competition breeds innovation. Shouldn't Apple have a little competition? Wouldn't that force them to do things better? It isn't too much of a stretch to think that firmware 3.0 including many basic features
that Apple ignored for a couple of years is in response to the Jailbreaking community adding these features to the iPhone themselves.
Apple is concerned with protecting their contracts with carriers. When asked by the one of the Copyright Office's councils if Apple's contracts with AT&T “prohibits you from implementing certain applications?” Joswiak responded saying that “We [Apple] don’t allow any bandwidth hogs” (cough where is slingplayer
Apple, The Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording industry Association of America, the Business Software Alliance and more are worried about piracy that could occur if the Jailbreaking exemption is approved. In Apple's case they are worried that Jailbreaking could cut into their revenue -- they currently get 30% from the sales made on the App Store. Steve Metalitz, a representative for the other groups said that “The impact will be to open up fast fields for the manufacturers and purveyors of pirated games.”
In response von Lohmann argued that the exemption which would apply to all mobile phone platforms including Google's Andriod is warented because by-itself it is a non-infringing activity that the DCMA authorizes. He went further to say that “This is a close ecosystem of a business model,” adding: “I don’t think Congress meant that when they passed the DMCA."
The decision on whether the Copyright Office will decide to grant this exemption is not expected until later this year. At the hearing on friday the Copyright Office representatives showed no sign of how they feel either way. We'll just have to wait and see how this all plays out. Go Jailbreaking!