Check out Jerry's new videos -- REV to ObjC -> iPhone

Peter Alcibiades palcibiades-first at yahoo.co.uk
Sun May 9 05:28:40 CDT 2010


Rene, it is really quite simple what is happening.

Apple has an App Store.  As part of the license for the OS that runs on the
device, you are allowed to install apps only from that App store.  They then
say that only Apps written in certain ways will be allowed into the App
store.

They can set whatever conditions they want, on both of these topics, subject
to the conditions on contract law in general in a given jurisdiction.  Any
conditions which are deemed by the courts to be contractually enforceable
can be set both on whether you can install apps from other places than the
app store, and whether you can write apps in other languages than the ones
specified. In addition, they do not have to list anything they do not feel
like listing in their App store.  This is just the way the law is in the US.

In addition to the contractual restrictions which you are deemed to enter
into, if an end user by accepting the license terms on first use, or if a
developer by entering into the development agreement, there is another
underlying issue.  That is that it is well established in US law that to
load a program, any program, is to make a copy of it.  When you do that, you
require permission from the copyright holder, who may place conditions on
that permission.  Now, there are exemptions from this, if you have purchased
a copy, and it is a program, you then may make such copies as are essential
to use it.  But while this may get you past modifications for your own use,
the exemptions do not allow you to modify and then pass on.  So you can do
it for yourself, you cannot do it as a business.

There is little point arguing or puzzling over the legal aspects of this. 
They probably can, absent decisive action on competition grounds, specify
both whether you may jailbreak the devices, and what languages you use to
develop for them, so they probably do have the legal power to enforce the
lockdown.  And anyway, jailbreaking is sort of academic.  its not going to
happen on any scale big enough to create an interesting market.

You notice how similar the case is to the different issue of whether you may
buy a retail copy of OSX and install it on a white box.  The underlying
issue is whether a company can specify things about how their product can be
used, after they have sold it, and restrict use on purely contractual rather
than technical grounds.  It is a can of worms, especially in all the
different EC jurisdictions, but in the short term, and certainly in the US,
the argument is basically over - for all practical financial purposes.

I would stop worrying about the legalese, the cans and can'ts.  They almost
certainly can, at least in the short term.  Rodeo is a practical answer to a
contractual problem that you're not going to get any other solution to, in
time for it to make much financial difference to you.

Peter
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