The 7 words you can't say on iTunes

Apple thinks 'jailbreak' is one of them, but this bit of censorship hides a bigger obscenity: The U.S. law that prevents us from hacking devices we've legally purchased

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

Along with debating phone hacks, U.S. regulators are also considering allowing people to jailbreak their videogame consoles and legally crack the DSS encryption on DVDs.

Regular Cringe readers may recall that hacking Sony's PS3 last year caused the Japanese consumer electronics giant to get medieval on the assets of noted iPhone jailbreaker George "Geohot" Hotz. In turn, this brought the wrath of Anonymous down upon Sony's head, which resulted in thoroughly trashing Sony's online gaming networks, as well as its reputation, and spilling the personal details of some 100 million gamers onto the Webbernets. This is far from a trivial question.

The arguments for allowing hacking of consoles is that it lets "homebrew" developers build and play their own games on the consoles. The argument against? The usual: Hordes of pirates will use the exception to make and distribute illegal copies of their ill-gotten game booty.

Interestingly, neither Sony nor Apple participated in the debate. But the Business Software Alliance's Steve Metalitz did, landing strongly on the pro-DCMA side. Per the report in Wired:

[Metalitz] added that regulators should not dictate to American companies like Apple what apps they should allow on their phones.

"There is a no God-given right to sell a Chevy at Ford dealers," he said.

That's true. But there also shouldn't be a law that prevents you from dropping a Chevy transmission into a Ford Mustang, which is essentially what the DMCA does.

It's a strange world where lawyers need to debate how people can use the things they've legally paid for. You know there's gonna be trouble. So better stay with a friend.

Are you bored with the DMCA? Riff on that below or kick out the jams in an email:

This article, "The 7 words you can't say on iTunes," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.


Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2