Intellectual Property & Precept 2

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Intellectual Property & Precept 2

Postby salmon » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:23 am

Hi all,

someone asked me if jailbreaking an iPhone is considered a break in precept #2 (stealing). My initial response was YES, but then my friend explained that the iphone was jailbroken to allow deeper programming and customization and that they were still paying for apps. How would that be a break. I'm at a loss to answer.

Any opinions?

Thx & metta,
S.
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Re: Intellectual Property & Precept 2

Postby Ben » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:50 am

I'm not sure what 'jailbreaking' is...
I assume it has something to do with getting around the phone's security settings to play with the proprietary software and settings. If you need to pay a fee to access the software, then jailbreaking would be effectively stealing the manufacturer's opportunity to derive revenue from developers.
Personally, I wouldn't do it.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Intellectual Property & Precept 2

Postby Dudenextdoor » Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:24 am

Well, Apple puts limits on what modifications its customers can do with their iPhones. It's a bit like selling a sports car that automatically limits your acceleration by putting a brick in between the gas pedal and the car floor. It's very easy for a customer to remove the brick, but the car company says, "No, please don't do that."

Specifically, Apple often only lets applications run if they're approved by Apple and not provided by a competitor (Google, say). It's ironically reminiscent of what Microsoft tried to do in the 1990s to make its Windows operating system intentionally buggy whenever someone ran Netscape instead of Internet Explorer. In American court, Microsoft was found guilty of monopoly antitrust violations in part because of this practice. Apple's essentially doing the same thing now, but they've been more legally sly.

Irony: although it's against Apple's policy to allow jailbreaking, it doesn't seem intent on ever prosecuting it, because if they did, they'd lose a small but significant share of their market: people who wouldn't buy the iPhone if they couldn't jailbreak it. So Apple gets to at least make money from these people by putting one policy on paper and then turning a blind eye when people do otherwise. (The most they've done legally is issue a statment saying it should still be illegal to jailbreak. Here's the article, with a link to their statement, if anyone's really all that interested.)

My own take on it: if you buy an iPhone, you should know what you're getting. Yes, some of the apps only available after jailbreaking may be nice. But I wouldn't buy a car with a brick under the gas pedal for the same reason I haven't bought an iPhone: there are simply better options out there that don't come with a guilty conscience or debatable legality.

And may I end by asking if I'm the only one who remembers a day when we didn't need any fancy-nancy cell phones, let alone cell phone apps? :soap:
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Re: Intellectual Property & Precept 2

Postby Sobeh » Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:52 am

Dudenextdoor wrote:And may I end by asking if I'm the only one who remembers a day when we didn't need any fancy-nancy cell phones, let alone cell phone apps?


I remember when my 'cell phone' was a dime and a quarter...
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Re: Intellectual Property & Precept 2

Postby Ben » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:03 am

Sobeh wrote:
Dudenextdoor wrote:And may I end by asking if I'm the only one who remembers a day when we didn't need any fancy-nancy cell phones, let alone cell phone apps?


I remember when my 'cell phone' was a dime and a quarter...


Here here!
I only caved in when my wife was heavily pregnant with our last child. At the time I was working graveyard shift writing abstracts and we didn't have access to telephones in the office. As it turned out, I was told after I got my mobile phone that the company disallowed employees to have mobile phones during work hours but they were prepared to turn a blind eye in my case. As it turned out, a few months after Quinn was born and shortly after 9/11, I got out. I still have a mobile phone and apart from the odd call, I use it as an alarm clock.
kind rgards

Ben
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Re: Intellectual Property & Precept 2

Postby salmon » Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:07 am

For the less tech savvy, Jailbreaking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jailbreak_(iPhone_OS)) means rewriting the software codes so that the locks that Apple has coded in (to prevent other ppl from selling apps they don't approve of) gets unlocked and the user can then purchase third party apps to use with the phone. A very rough example would be that they give you 1GB RAM in your phone but block off 500MB because they do not wish to let developers profit from writing programs for it. Jailbreaking would open up the remaining 500MB for developers to write programs that would use more RAM than the allocated 500MB.

Of course, there are some people who use it to bad gains like piracy (which is obviously a break in #2!!)

Last I checked, Apple themselves says it's illegal, but the court rulings are otherwise. Therefore I'm stuck at how to answer my friend's question on whether or not it constitutes a break :(
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Re: Intellectual Property & Precept 2

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:21 am

I suppose a similar thing was discussed regarding Books and reproductions done without permission by a free distribution company.

the main difference is that the law said it was illegal but the original publisher wasn't bothered enough to try to enforce the laws.
here it seams that the law isn't bothered but the company is!

Apple and microsoft are two seperate things here, Apple design and make the whole product, whereas microsoft only developed the programs, so that wouldn't be a fair comparison to make, and Apple presumibly wish to keep the integrety of their products (monopolise their products) rather than monopolise an industry, if this means they monopolise an industry is another question and could be argued than it would be by their hard work and honest competing that put them as the monopoly, rather than fixing control of what people use on products (computers) not of their design.

Apple as a company only want suitable things for their products hard/software, so have put these restrictions in place, therefore it would be a break of the precept, if the hardware wasn't apple that would be different and a microsoft comparison would be apt. these aren't systems to use other software or software for other hardware, in other words it isn't a fruit salad system, but a apple system.

there are other options out there which may provide just as good a product, and allow such program development.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: Intellectual Property & Precept 2

Postby PeterB » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:58 am

Yes its breaking the precept.
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Re: Intellectual Property & Precept 2

Postby chownah » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:27 pm

I think this is one where if you think it is....then it is....and if you think it is not...then it is not....

If you signed some statement when buying the thing where you promised to not alter it then you are probably guilty (or should I say "engaged in") wrong speech....but I really can't see how anything has been stolen....can you describe the object which has been stolen?....you can't can you because there has been no theft of any object....and just by altering the device it seems that you have not even acquired some service without payment. Using a phone whether altered or not to avoid paying for a service might be considered stealing but it also might be something else...if you don't pay for a service it is not considered theft and acquiring a service with no intent to pay might be considered fraud........I'm very resistent to the idea that theft can properly be applied to anything besides physical objects....fraud I say!!! and again this doesn't really apply to the altering of the devise...it is how the devise is used after it is altered and not the altering process itself I guess...

I have a computer which came with software on it........I never asked if the software was licensed or not and the information was never offered to me....am I guilty of (or engaged in) theft or fraud? In Thailand it is difficult to find a computer with all licensed software....

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Re: Intellectual Property & Precept 2

Postby meindzai » Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:01 pm

Love these ambiguous precept 2 scenarios. I think the 5th and a half precept (or the 1/2th) should be "if uncertain about any of the following/preceding - abstain."

I wouldn't do the jailbreaking thing, for the ambiguity described above, and in general, it is what I would call "shady," and has possible legal consequences as well as the potential to make the phone inoperable.

-M
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Re: Intellectual Property & Precept 2

Postby salmon » Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:53 am

Makes sense. So I guess my safest advise would be for him to question his motive for jailbreaking. If it was as a prerequisite to piracy then it would be a complete break and if it was just to have a display of 5 icons instead of 4 on his screen then there's no harm done. He would however, have to bear the consequences of a bricked phone should it go wrong.

Thx for your opinions :)

S.
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