Back on July 26th of 2010, the US government made the act of jailbreaking electronic devices legal by federal law. This cleared up a lot of the confusion surrounding jailbreaking, and opened the door for folks worried about its legality.

Over the last two years we’ve been enjoying this freedom, most recently hacking our iPhone 4S and iPad 2 devices. But according to the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), we could lose that freedom this year if we don’t act…

The EFF writes:

“Smartphones, tablets, and video game consoles are powerful computers with lots of untapped potential. Yet many of these devices are set up to run only software that’s been approved by the manufacturer. Modifying a device to run independent software – known as jailbreaking – is important to programmers, enthusiasts, and users. But jailbreaking creates legal uncertainty. Some device manufacturers claim that jailbreaking violates Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which carries stiff penalties.”

But if the government already made jailbreaking legal, what are the folks at the EFF worried about? Well the ruling handed down by the Copyright Office in 2010 is due to expire this year and the EFF is looking to convince the Office to renew the exemption. Otherwise jailbreaking falls back into a murky semi-illegal state giving device manufacturers the power to pursue legal action against jailbreakers at will.

So what can we do? The EFF provides this link to the Copyright Office’s comment board. The Office needs to hear why folks think that jailbreaking is so important. Here are some suggested elements to include:

  • Which jailbreaking exemption are you supporting—smartphones/tablets, video game consoles, or both?
  • What’s your background (are you a developer, hobbyist, user, independent researcher, etc.)?
  • What device do you want to ensure you have the legal authority to jailbreak?
  • What limitations would you face if you weren’t able to jailbreak?

Comments should be marked as class “5” and are due by 5 PM ET on February 10. We’ll obviously keep you updated on the EFF’s progress and will keep a watchful eye out for the Copyright Office’s decision.

Have you sent your comment in yet?

  • Anonymous

    Let’s face the facts, iOS is severely crippled without jailbreak. Apple should be happy that they broke so many records because people want to JAILBREAK their iPhones.

    My phone has become more productive ever since I jailbreaked it. That is the fact.

    • Jon Garrett

      you’re the first to ever admit this.

      • Anonymous

        So I see.

    • Anonymous

      i use jb and stock, i love them both. i can certainly live without jb and so could most ppl

      • Anonymous

        speak for ur self not me

      • Anonymous

        so i am, look at the iPhones sold and how many of them were jailbroken. You’ll see that most don’t jb

      • No one says that you HAVE to jailbreak your iPhone.. You lose with living a “jailed” iPhone. Giving a lot of money to that device and not having full control of it; ridiculous!

      • Anonymous

        Good point.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah. I don’t know what I would do without a heavily modified iPhone. I guess I would switch to Android, since they are considerably easier to hack than iOS. Is. So I hear from most developers that work on both platforms any way.

    • The only reason I choose the iphone over other smart phones was due to jailbreaking. I usually boycott all Apple products and due to jailbreak plus the community they FINALLY got me to buy one of their products >.<

  • If jail breaking becomes illegal again than I won’t be doing it but I certainly hope the copyright office approves jail breaking once again.

  • Anonymous

    For me, jailbreaking lets me know which process is draining my battery and have control over what my iPod Touch is doing as I walk around with it. I noticed and were taking over some of the memory on my iPod Touch, which I disabled through Springtomize…. Just to give you guys heads up on what to write

    • Anonymous

      They do that to know when a call or a new email has arrived though, and they’re pretty well optimized, that activity doesn’t use so much that it would make a big difference. (at least by my testing)

  • Thats the whole reason i buy apple products cause of jailbreaking.

  • sent.

  • In my opinion its like this….. I bought and paid for my iPhone just the same way I bought and paid for my car, and now that car is mine to do with as I see fit. If I want to switch out the engine or paint it a different color or swap the rims, tires, seats or stereo out, I can and have every right to do so. I still have to buy gas from the gas station in order to run my car just like I still have to pay for cellular service from my provider in order for my device to operate but once i’ve purchased that car or phone its mine to modify and play all I want. I’m not doing anything dangerous or life threatening to myself or anyone else when I use my phone, same way that I’m a responsible driver. Bottom line is… once I’ve paid in full the price of that iPhone and have left the store, I should be allowed to do anything I want to it….everything from jail breaking it when I get home or throwing it to the pavement, smashing it into pieces the moment I walk out of the store.

    • Send your comment then

    • Good point, but whats your take on the rights of the carrier? Do they have the right to charge you for mobile hot spot? Because jail breaking allows you to create your own hot spot without paying the extra charge. Thats where it becomes a gray area.

      • Anonymous

        You paid for your data. How you use it should be no concern of theirs.

      • An abuse to the Carrier (such as mobile hotspot) should not be used against the whole jailbreak scene but the team that created such possibilities. An example of such would i guess be Mywi (As we used hotspot as an example already). Mywi is is a paid app and the dev of that app does not appreciate it’s apps being cracked. This would be the same with the carriers. They should disband the team rather the the system used to run it.

    • Only fault I see is that jail breaking means free paid apps using installous. and with jailbreaks you can by pass the carriers fee for tethering. I see you point though. I am in no way trying to make jailbreaking illegal. Just want the jail break community to fight in court with a fool proof support.

    • Anonymous

      It must be your car manufacturer is not Apple, that is why you can do whatever you want with it.

      • shane holman

        It’s not just apple. It’s just about any tech manufacturer. They consider it their product and we are just basically leasing it.

        I’m not sure how it got this way but it really needs to be thouroughly looked at again. It’s one thing to rent or lease something. It’s something entirely different if it is purchased. I understand not wanting people to steal apps, but tweaking something to fit your needs shouldn’t be of anyone else’s concern but yours. Period.

    • Anonymous

      Wise words, RJO, wise words.

  • Johnny Wilson

    iOS 5 wouldn’t be as good as it is if it was’nt for jailbreaking. Apple pretty much stole the ideas for notification center and camera lock from the jailbreakers. I probably wouldn’t use Apple products anymore because without jailbreaking them they’re not nearly as good!

  • Huey Nguyen

    If that’s the case looks like you guys might need to start looking for a new occupation.

  • unfortunately that copyright form is US only, id love to support it but im in Australia.

  • Nooo! Apple’s products seem dull without a jailbreak once youve experienced the freedom 🙁
    I need a jailbreak

    • Anonymous

      i agree, i don’t know how the hell i’d live without intelliscreen X. it was acting up for a while tonight and i couldn’t quick compose messages and i had a borderline heart attack!

  • fact: most people only purchase iPhone over other smartphones because of jailbreak

    It should be obvious to Apple by now that they have gained more consumers because of jailbreak

    • Jon Garrett

      your statement is flawed. most other phones dont need to be jailbroken. the reason people jailbreak their iPhone is because iOS lacks so much. I got tired of JBing and switched to Android–and will never go back to iOS.

      • Dan

        good for you, but someone people prefer the apple OS but just want a bit more freedom. I’d choose a jailbroken apple OS over an open source android any day.

    • Not to be a troll. But fact is proven by statistics. This is more more then an assumption or opinion.

    • David Renicks

      I think your “fact” is a bit wrong, the amount of times I have to switch over to my Galaxy Nexus to aide my jailbroken iPad 2, usually with a simple thing like downloading files from the browser. Why is this not in default safari.

      Yes I could use safari download manager from cydia, but I can’t because it is not compatible with ios 5, plus a wider variety of editing tools, not just a simple text editor.

      Though I do agree that jailbreaking has made people more acceptable to ios, though is it really worth it when you can get these options by default on android.

      And please, nobody take this as an android vs iOS post.

      • Anonymous

        safari download manager isn’t compatible with iOS 5, but safari download plug in is

    • Yes, that fact is flawed. 85 million iPhones and 1 million or so jailbroken. That’s just over 1%. That tells me that most people DON’T need to jailbreak…….but they should.

      • I think you’re wrong, there has been almost a million jailbreaks of A5 jailbreaks just over the last weekend. There’s surely much more jailbroken iDevices.

      • Dan

        1 million is only the weekend of the A5 release, if you think that’s the entire jailbreak community, you are seriously fooling yourself

      • Jon Garrett

        that doesn’t mean most people don’t need a jailbreak, the FACT is most people don’t know what jail breaking is. and there are far more than a million JB devices.

      • yea and 83 million out of 85 dont even know how to use a know how many people iv seen with just stocked apps on there phone.. or complain how slow there phone is when they dont know how to close apps on the switcher let alone even active it

  • What’s the name of that tweak that blurs the background of the Notification Center? Is it compatible with iPad?

    • Anonymous

      BlurriedNCBackground. And it is compatible with iPad

    • yo save me the time of asking

  • Dear random government agencies,

    I am so sick of you getting so ridiculous about copyright. Please leave us and the Internet alone! There are some people out there that will always pirate/copy/work around any block set up. You just ruin things for everyone when you punish the community as a whole for a couple bad apples.

    Let people do what they want. Just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t mean you have to take action and destroy everything involved.

    I’m a cydia developer and if someone pirates my “intellectual property” then let them. There are still people out there that will pay for something I created because they respect it. It’s part of the territory. Same applies to movies. Don’t focus on how much you “could” have made and just be happy with millions you did make by overcharging $16 for a trip to the theaters.

    I’m so sick of worrying constantly that some ass in a government office is in the works to destroy something that a community of millions and I love so much.

    A sane person

    • yeah, lets the guys who originally pay also pay for the ones who did’t pay by overcharging. thats a great logic, developer.

  • Went back to factory iPhone. No more jailbreaking my phone. Way too many crashes

    • Anonymous

      Likely a problem with the apps you chose, not the jailbreak itself.

    • David Renicks

      Cowpat, just some good old fashioned, honest to goodness cowpat.

    • Sometimes that is the best thing for people like you that, can’t handle it. Stop installing cracked apps and you wont have nearly as many problems!

      • Anonymous

        cracked apps aren’t the problem; for example. Whenever i delete an app, something weird will happen, hidden icons appear on my home screen. i only have sbsettings and springtomize 2.

      • That is libhide’s fault. Libhide is downloaded with SBSettings.

      • which I’ll bet restarting the springboard fixes

      • i had this problem on my iPad 2 when i put springtomize on it … not blaming the tweak but just sharing my experience

      • Cracked apps? I been installing the ones that are new tweaks like intelliScreen X, Siri commands tweaks, CyLay,multicleaner, springtomize 2, sbsetttings, etc

      • What are your suggestions on apps on Cydia that are not cracked? How do I tell between cracked and uncracked apps?

      • By doing a little bit of research on jailbreaking before you dive in right away and then complain saying it’s broken when it doesn’t work perfectly for you.

  • It all started with a jailbreak and that’s why apple is striking it rich. They want s thermonuclear war with android cuz they stole from them yet the whole success of their company was all because some hackers created something that wasn’t there.

  • It all started with a jailbreak and that’s why apple is striking it rich. They want s thermonuclear war with android cuz they stole from them yet the whole success of their company was all because some hackers created something that wasn’t there.

  • They should target piracy itself not what how consumers decide to alter their own devices .
    They want full control cuz that means more money for them period
    Now if we were able to do the things that we can only do with a jailbroken device there would be probably no reason to jailbreak in the first place ….. “Give people what they want and they will blindly follow you thru the path of death ” even if it means for a few extra bucks on the in app purchases !

    • Anonymous

      i agree and disagree. Giving us everything makes it complicated and you can’t please everyone; so jail breaking will always be a plus

  • Done.

  • Anonymous

    With android you can side load apps without any modification, does this make the device illegal?

    • Kok Hean

      Nope, it just makes the device software partially open source.

      • Jon Garrett

        partially open is 100% better than fully closed.

      • Kok Hean

        I agree. That’s why jailbreaking and rooting (for Android) is fun :p

      • forgive me 4 offending u. i dont want this. i love my iproducts, u love ur android.

  • Guys,
    I am not in the US, or I would have provided the following reason for jailbreaking:
    My iPhone has 32Gb of storage and I want to use it for file transfer as if it was a USB Flash Drive. Why do I have to use up the storage capacity of my phone just for photos, music and apps the way Apple wants? This is my phone and I should be able to copy and transfer any types of files to and from the phone.

  • Business is Business. They just found a way so it is easier for us to access that. They are charging the service of how they are relaying it to you.

  • Jon Garrett

    why jailbreak or complain about not being able to jailbreak when you can just get a phone that does what you want?

    • Kok Hean

      Because they are different mobile operating systems?

    • Anonymous

      get a life

      • Jon Garrett

        I had a life with you mom until she got pregnant with you–then I left.

      • Anonymous

        as i said before, get a life. See the fandroid using my mom to get to me. Not gonna happen droiddouche

    • Anonymous

      because some people like myself prefer the look of iOS. Android is a great OS but it’s just not my type.

      • Jon Garrett

        you prefer looks over functionality? If looks it what you want, there are dozens of mods, themes, tweaks and even custom ROMS that mimic the “look” of iOS.

      • Anonymous

        Why mimic the look when you can have the real thing? Get over it, some people prefer iOS. Try updating your phone in a year.

  • Thanks to this article I have a new tweak I love jailbreaks !!!

  • Anonymous

    What theme/toggles are in the Notification Center picture above?

    • Anonymous

      All I know is that background of Notification Center is “BlurriedNCBackground” tweak…
      and toggles are part of SBSettings which I no longer use =P

  • Anonymous

    Is that LockInfo on the phone within this article?

  • Anonymous

    is that sbsettings on the top?? if so, what theme is that??

  • Well jailbreaking is fine as long if you do not pirate.

  • Dont be stupid guys, if you were the apple’s owner, or any other company, you wouldnt like if ppl would jb your device, cuz, indeed, you’d loose money. And money becomes better products always. Everyone says that hackers gave apple lots of money, but no one thanks apple for making such a great device worth jailbreak. Why all the great hackers like saurik, musclnerd, comex, geohot, p0isixninja and others don’t do jb for any other devices? Cuz they know the iDevices are just better. People should just be as thankful to apple as to hackers and stop saying shit like “I only buy iPhones cuz of jb”.

    • KewlDewd

    • KewlDewd

      Please explain how jailbreaking makes apple lose money.

    • Anonymous

      1. Ppl r thankful to Apple through purchasing their hardware.
      2. Jailbreaking enhances an already stellar product, and Apple knows this.
      3.Great hackers dont jailbreak other os’s because they r already free of Apple like constraints.
      4.u r a fool

  • peelosty

    Dear Jon Garrett, please stop liking every comment that someone says their “iPhone is better because of jailbreak”. Everyone here knows who “you” are and quite frankly tired of your “android better than ios” argument!!! It’s getting old dude, hopping from one comment to another liking every comment that says iPhone is better because of jail breaking ain’t gonna score u or android os any points!!! People don’t like that unnecessary argument anymore, so I just wanna spare you the headache, so u can stop jumping from comments to comments!!!

    • Anonymous

      is so agree, that fanandroid needs to go

    • Jon Garrett

      If you don’t like my comments don’t read them. if you don’t like the fact that I am free to LIKE whatever I want and the freedom I have to post my OPINIONS then maybe you should stop being so Anti-American and move to a country where people aren’t so free.

      Android and iOS are NOTHING but software, its really very sad and I find it really disturbing that people like you get offended over this shit.

      try to remember this one thing, YOU are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to mine.

      Its really very simple and you don’t need a masters degree–if you don’t like my comments don’t read them. period.

      • peelosty

        Well don’t be an idiot like you always are about ios and android….. I’m just saying!! I’m glad you realized that it’s just a software……everyone up here knows you the biggest troll when it comes to this crap…..u are definitely entitled to your opinion and whatever u choose to like but stop that ” my android is better than your iOS” nonsense cos dude it’s really really getting old!!!!

  • Anonymous

    seriously, does anyone know what that top widget is?

    • do you have a clue already on the top widget?

    • Anonymous

      top right is removebackground

    • Anonymous

      its intelliscreenx, the sbsettings like menu comes with it, but its not sbsettings

  • Zain Irfan

    Can someone please tell me whats the name of the tweak which is used in the above picture to add those widgets to the pull down menu !!!

    • Anonymous

      its intelliscreenx, the sbsettings like menu comes with it, but its not sbsettings

  • I think it is SBSettings…

  • If this is SBSettings, can you please tell me how did you set it up to avoid springboard crashing during RemoveBG and Respring toggle press…

  • paul featherstone

    My iPhone I’ll do wot ever I wanna do with it always have always will simple..!

  • Anonymous

    Jailbreaking = Awesomeness
    NO Jailbreaking = NO Life.
    iDevices with No LIfe = Hello Android/Samsung

  • So why can I install software on my laptop when I buy it without a problem? Or swap out a peice of hardware if I want to upgrade. Sure it might void warrenty but that is my problem, not the manufacturers. I don’t see the difference with the iPhone, iPad, iTouch, etc….

    I hope that if they are going after the jailbreak concern they are going after the android devices for rooting since it is pretty much the same thing. Taking hardware manufactured by someone other than the owner of the device, and putting software on it that wasn’t originally released by said manufacturer. Different word, same purpose, make the device do something it originally didn’t from a source not officially approved by the manufacturer.

    Could I live without a jb for my iPhone 4 and my iPad 2, sure. Are they better for having the little tweaks, yes. I like IntelliscreenX on my iPhone and iPad. I like pull to refresh for safari. iFile is useful on my iPad so that I can use the CCK to connect my 32 GB USB drive to my iPad to watch additional movies stored on it when I travel or access files, pictures, music, etc… (been waiting for the A5 jb just for iFile).

    I don’t download cracked apps, I don’t abuse MyWi (my iPad 2 is wifi only). I barely use 2GB of data/month and I have a grandfathered unlimited data plan.

    Someone else said already, it is my device that I paid for. It isn’t leased through the company. I don’t have to turn it back to them when I am done with it. As long as I do not pirate stuff on it then it shouldn’t matter how I use it.

    • Anonymous

      we all see your point, but get this..You can do whatever you want, BUT! can you make a jb yourself? those ppl that know how will do whatever, what I’m getting here is that it will be illegal to distribute it. For instance, if I’m a hacker, you really can’t stop what i do to my own device, but you can make sure that i don’t share it with others. Nobody is saying that you can’t do whatever you want to it, flush it, break it, whatever, but we can’t jb, we just use the program that the hackers give us. they won’t be able to give us a jb, but heck you can still do whatever you want with the device. You aint gonna get sued or go to jail, but if you distribute the hack then you might be liable. If geohot kept the ps3 hack to himself, he wouldn’t have gotten sued. This might have been confusing but i hope you got my point. you can do whatever you want with your device, they are not gonna try and stop you, however they will try and stop those that give us the tools to do it

  • Does anyone know about that SBsetting theme??

    • Anonymous

      thats not sbsettings, thats intelliscreenx

  • Sam Whillance


  • Sam Whillance

    If it becomes illegal again, so what? I remember jailbreaking my phone anyway. How will they find out if it’s been jailbroken, and how would they charge us? It’s not like you pass your phone around for everyone to use. It’s a personal item. I’m jailbreaking no matter what, I’m much more productive with my jailbroken phone.

    • Anonymous

      if they wanted to find out, they could, and brick your iPhone. u know if u modify your xbox 360 to accept non licensed cds(cracked games) and then u access xbox live you get banned for ever. the serial number of the xbox gets banned. so yeah, anything is possible..just connect to the internet

  • here is what i wrote them …. i might got a little carried away … or maybe a lot LOL

    I am thinking to myself why I am taking the time from my busy day to write this note, and I realized that maybe because it is more important than my job please read till the end and you will know why.

    So the office of copyright in very simple terms make sure that copyrighted materials does not get distributed illegally as an author of couple books I greatly appreciate that myself as illegal copies cut from my bottom line. So before I move any further I want to thank you for doing your job and giving us the sense of security and that our ideas thoughts and creations is protected because of you.

    This will actually take us to why I am writing this note today ideas, thoughts and creations are all what we are asking for the freedom to think create without restriction while being respectful of others’ creations. There are thousands of people in our community that have ideas and want to get them out to life and see them implemented to help others, hundred of guineas minds that are putting their energy to make this happen.

    I want to conclude my note by saying the exemption you provided us a while back was a smart decision, a decision that helped the economy by getting more people productive, a decision that reduced crime I would be scared to think of what would these great minds be doing if they were not writing code, a decision that helped the declined creativity in our country and finally a decision that confirm that it is still really the land of the free.

  • Don’t understand what the big deal is over jail breaking. If I purchase a house, I can remodel it to my liking…if I buy a car, I can customize it to my liking…but god forbid I jailbreak my damn phone?! Point is…if I bought it I should be able to do any damn thing I want to it.This would be one of the dumbest damn laws on the books if it passes

  • if JB is illegal for iphone…other phone maker would be please to see their sales soar..
    and i’ll give up my iphone for a blackberry.

  • This is not about how usefull the jailbreak is or if it makes the iphone better or not, actually its about what we can or cannot do with a product that we own… i mean… if a i buy a shirt and i modify it to fit me right im not breaking a law… im just adjusting my property to my needs and since i bought it i can do whatever i want cause its mine, or like people who buy a mac and then they install windows over osx to work in both enviroments… so if i paid for it i at least spect that i can really use it at will.

    So it doesnt matter if u ever jailbroke ur device or u didnt… its just the power of knowing that you can if u would that we should defend.

  • I thought @i0n1c or someone was gonna make a jailbreak that blocks pirated apps… If that was included with Corona/Absinthe, jailbreaking would have a far better chance of staying legal.