Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Iphone The Courts XBox (Games) Your Rights Online Games

Xbox 360 Jailbreaker May Need Real Jailbreak 359

Posted by Soulskill
from the root-root-root-for-the-home-team dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Back in July, the Librarian of Congress officially made it legal to jailbreak your iPhone (or any phone). So why is it that the government is trying to prosecute Matthew Crippen for jailbreaking Xbox 360s? If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison, and lawyers are trying to prevent the author of a book about jailbreaking the original Xbox from testifying in Crippen's defense. What kind of law says it's okay to jailbreak the phone in your pocket, but not your gaming console?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Xbox 360 Jailbreaker May Need Real Jailbreak

Comments Filter:
  • Apple xbox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:13AM (#34021684)

    Gah, Apple! Making all these locked down devices like the iphone and the xbox...

  • What kind of law? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DeadPixels (1391907) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:13AM (#34021686)

    What kind of law says it's okay to jailbreak the phone in your pocket, but not your gaming console?"

    The kind of law "sponsored" by Microsoft, Sony, and other industry lobbyists.

    • by nedlohs (1335013) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:33AM (#34021784)

      The law they sponsored doesn't let you jailbreak the phone either.

      That's a specific exemption that is not part of law itself (well the existance of exemptions is, but not what those excemptions are).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by somersault (912633)

      Or the law aided by lawyers with iPhones and who don't give a crap about the original Xbox

    • by Mista2 (1093071) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:58AM (#34022146)

      In the land of the fee...., and the home of the laws bought by big media companies. Doesn't quite rhyme properly any more.

    • The same kind of law that makes it illegal for some loving long-term monogamous couples to get married, while others can, for example.

      Seriously, looking for logic, proportion and consistency in legal statutes is pointless at best, maddening at worst. A large number of laws are written by people with interests to protect, or beliefs to promulgate, rather than any notion or desire for justice.

    • Fixed that for ya. The word you wanted was "money".

    • Re:What kind of law? (Score:5, Informative)

      by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @09:22AM (#34023728)

      If the tech community hadn't been asleep at the wheel when the WIPO Copyright Treaty [wikipedia.org] was being negotiated, then we wouldn't be at this point. I remember going around to various usenet groups warning them about the provisions of this treaty and being laughed at for suggesting that it would ever be a criminal offense to mod your own hardware and crack programs.

  • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:19AM (#34021710)

    As long as I am not publishing their source code, or distributing their copyrighted binaries, then fuck'em.

    On the other hand, if I am publishing their source or binaries then I should expect a response, although jail time seems extreme to say the least.

  • by cappp (1822388) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:23AM (#34021738)
    The jailbreaking finding [eff.org] (pdf) was narrow, specifically noting that the

    critical question is whether jailbreaking an iPhone in order to add applications to the phone constitutes a noninfringing use...

    it appears fair to say that the purpose and character of the modification of the operating system is to engage in a private, noncommercial use intended to add functionality to a device owned by the person making the modification, albeit beyond what Apple has determined to be acceptable. The user is not engaging in any commercial exploitation of the firmware, at least not when the jailbreaking is done for the user’s own private use of the device

    The Library of Congress specifically made Iphone jailbreaking permissable, for the reasons given above. As with all things legal, a specific permission isn't just instanlty transformed into general allowance to do whatever the hell you want. The Xbox was not included in the permission granted and therefore such hacking is a violation of the current statute until found otherwise in a court.

    The fact that Crippen is making money from breaking the law, and in likelyhood abetting a little casual piracy, suggests he's going to get made an example of.

    • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:37AM (#34021806)

      "and in likelyhood abetting a little casual piracy"

      Oh, no! Money that only exists in the future of an alternate dimension where the artist/business made more money was 'stolen'! This is almost as bad as that time when I decided not to buy a product from a store, thereby depriving them of profit that they could, potentially, have had!

      • It's definitely the case that many people are too tight to buy stuff at all and therefore no sales are being lost to them, but many people still pay for pirated physical copies of DVDs and computer games. Chances are if there was no other option, they would eventually pay for the real things once they came down in price.

        I won't pay the launch price of a game these days unless I know it's very good.

      • by Ash Vince (602485) * on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @08:27AM (#34023266) Journal

        Oh, no! Money that only exists in the future of an alternate dimension where the artist/business made more money was 'stolen'!

        Actually the losses suffered by the copyright owner through people using illegal copies are quite real. This is because some of the people playing illegally copied games are doing so instead of buying a legitimate copy for themselves. There are also some though who would not have paid the amount asked for a legitimate copy so these are the fictitious losses you are referring to. There is some debate as to how much is which but certainly some of each is going on.

        Like it or not though, both are happening to a degree so Crippen did enable some in his actions and hence deprive poor MS of at least one copy of some crappy overpriced game.

        This is almost as bad as that time when I decided not to buy a product from a store, thereby depriving them of profit that they could, potentially, have had!

        The difference quite clearly being that in that case you left the store and deprived yourself of the enjoyment of the game. It is not the same thing if you play it anyway and then say "Screw them, I would have paid for it if it was better" after you have gained at least some enjoyment from it.

        I am not trying to say that all software piracy is evil, far from it. But there are people on both sides of the fence who are in the wrong. The companies on one side clearly overstate their losses and lobby congress to pass stupid laws for other reasons but there are also people on the other side who just do whatever they can to avoid paying for something even if they find it incredibly useful or entertaining. I am not a great fan of either camp.

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:51AM (#34021878)

      AThe Xbox was not included in the permission granted and therefore such hacking is a violation of the current statute until found otherwise in a court.

      Yes we know that. It doesn't make the hypocrisy of the law any less.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by delinear (991444)
        Besides, the exception was granted specifically to enable certain uses with the person's device. Even though it specifically mentioned the iPhone, and even though that doesn't mean it creates a blanket rule for all other devices, courts will generally follow the precedent set down by previous courts. If the precedent is that a person is allowed to modify their device for their own use so long as the commercial aspect is not present, the courts should apply that to any device in the future (the principle bei
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:52AM (#34021886)

      Not all laws take intent in to account, but many do. Why you do something can be as important as what you do. If you kill someone it can be anything from justified self defense, which isn't chargeable, up to 1st degree murder, which can net a death penalty in some places. What it depends on is the specifics of your actions and what you meant to do. In all cases the other person is dead, the major action and outcome are the same. However WHY they are dead matters.

      If someone is trying to kill you and you kill them, justified. If you kill someone through an accident perhaps involving some negligence (like you hit them with your car because you weren't looking) manslaughter 2. If you kill them through direct action, but didn't mean to (like you are beating them up and it goes too far), manslaughter 1. If you mean to kill someone, but don't plan it (like you catch a guy with your wife) murder 2. If you plan out and execute killing someone, murder 1. They are just as dead in all cases, but your reasons and surrounding actions matter.

      Things can also be legal or illegal depending on their intended use. Water pipes/bongs/hookahs have a long tradition of use with tobacco and they are legal in the US for that use. Smoke shops can sell them, and people can buy them. However they are drug paraphernalia and thus illegal if used to smoke marijuana, or other controlled substances. So go in to a smoke shop and ask for a bong to smoke weed, they'll toss you out. Reason is they can get in trouble for selling it if they know it is intended for illegal use.

      Lockpicks are similar. You can own your own lockpicks, no problem. All locksmiths do, and you'd want them to learn. However if you imply that you are going to use them for something illegal, they won't sell them to you and if you do use them for something illegal they are burglary tools and thus not legal.

      Our legal system takes intent in to account, and takes other circumstances. So there is nothing contradictory about saying "An individual can jailbreak their phone for the purpose of adding functionality and that is perfectly legal," and also saying "A person cannot sell Xbox 360 breaks for the purpose of enabling the illicit copying of games."

      There's also the question of what a jailbreak does and doesn't do. In the case of the iPhone, it allows for fairly significant functionality, like installing Flash. Legally this is called a "substantial non-infringing use" and hence is a DMCA exemption. The 360 hack? Does it do anything other than let you play copied games? If not or if the uses are only superficial, then it probably isn't legal.

      Now if you don't like the law, think it should be changed, the answer is to let your representatives know. They are the ones who make the laws, they can unmake them.

      • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:21AM (#34022000)

        "Now if you don't like the law, think it should be changed, the answer is to let your representatives know."

        Well, that will only work if you're a person with a seemingly unlimited supply of money. Sadly, that is not the case with so many people. They will almost always listen to the lobbyist over the poor civilian.

        • Yes, but if you get enough people they might listen. The problem is this isn't poor civilians vs lobbyist, this is some civilians vs other civilians + lobbyists.

        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @06:50AM (#34022696)

          The prime interest of a politician is, and must be, to get reelected. After all, fail at that, and you aren't a politician anymore. So it takes precedence. Ultimately that means keeping the voters happy. Now if the voters ignore the shit you pull, well then you can do as you please. However if voters hold them to account, then they'll do as they are told (or be replaced by ones who do).

          So, if you keep that defeatist attitude, and espouse it to others, then yes, you'll have say at all. However if you wake up and realize that indeed the voters DO choose who is in office, then you'll realize that isn't the case. No, you as a single person cannot change things all on your own. However you shouldn't be able to, this isn't a dictatorship. Doesn't mean you can't make a difference. Let them know how you feel, and let your friends know to do the same. If enough people care, change will happen.

          This crap of "Oh lobbyists control everything and there's nothing we can do!" is only true if people let it be true. Your vote, your voice, is just as important as anyone elses. However if you just bitch about it and act powerless, well then you are.

          Remember that having only a small amount of power (which is all a single voter has) is not the same as having no power. It only becomes no power if your attitude demands it be such.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by delinear (991444)
        The problem is a little bit chicken and egg. Until the crack is available, people are unlikely to be able to develop specific uses for the crack (indeed, to do so they'd either have to have full developer licenses, which instantly bars a big section of society, or they'd have to break the law by cracking the console anyway). Sure, the first use is always to play "backups", mainly because that's the simplest use, but anyone involved in the scene around the original XBOX will know that eventually all kinds of
    • by loufoque (1400831)

      The fact that Crippen is making money from breaking the law, and in likelyhood abetting a little casual piracy, suggests he's going to get made an example of.

      Replacing the software on hardware you own is not breaking the law.

      • Using software designed to get around copy protection is breaking the law though.

        • by loufoque (1400831)

          Depends on the software intent. If it is for interoperability or fair use, it's legal.
          If it is made with the intent of copying copyrighted material illegally, it's not.

          At least that's how it is in France. They've successfully ruled that free software that allows to decode encrypted media is legal if this is done in the intention of playback.
          I believe that in the US, CSS (the copy protection system for DVDs) required some special exception.

          • by Rogerborg (306625)
            So, he's been prosecuted in France? No, you say? Then what does your opinion of French law have to do with this case?
  • by deweyhewson (1323623) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:30AM (#34021770)
    As far as I'm considered, when I buy something (phone, game console, computer, whatever) it's mine to do with as I please.

    Whether I want to modify it, or throw it off a cliff, is no longer any of the company's business. That's not to say it excuses piracy (which is an entirely separate matter altogether), but put simply, they have my money, and I have their product. Our relationship should there be at an end.

    I really don't care what the lobbyist-bought-and-paid-for law says on the matter.
    • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:35AM (#34021798)

      "As far as I'm considered, when I buy something (phone, game console, computer, whatever) it's mine to do with as I please."

      People with money and an interest in these devices appear to disagree. No matter how wrong they are, I wonder who will be the one who is listened to...

      "That's not to say it excuses piracy"

      Not that reason alone, no. Logic does that.

      "I really don't care what the lobbyist-bought-and-paid-for law says on the matter."

      Really? Well, that won't stop these corporate tools from caring about you and attempting to doom you to the same fate as this guy.

    • by mykos (1627575) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:46AM (#34021852)

      As far as I'm considered, when I buy something (phone, game console, computer, whatever) it's mine to do with as I please. Whether I want to modify it, or throw it off a cliff, is no longer any of the company's business. That's not to say it excuses piracy (which is an entirely separate matter altogether), but put simply, they have my money, and I have their product. Our relationship should there be at an end. I really don't care what the lobbyist-bought-and-paid-for law says on the matter.

      Exactly. If they didn't want you to own it, they shouldn't have sold it to you.

      And it is simply horrifying that a person can go to a very real prison for tinkering with some zeroes and ones a perfectly legal piece of electronics without harming anyone.

      • by Mista2 (1093071)

        Licences for this stuff will end up being, that you own the hardware, but only a licence to use one copy of the software that does not belong to you, and can only run it without modification.

    • If you want to wipe the hard drive and start from scratch then I bet the court would agree. In this case jail breaking an Xbox 360 is probably to run the OS in a state to circumvent copy protection.

      • by delinear (991444)
        And in that way it's entirely the same as jailbreaking your iPhone. Circumventing copy protection doesn't automatically mean you're doing so to breech copyright - sometimes it's a necessary measure to let you use the device you own to its full potential. The courts have already ruled this is acceptable behaviour.
    • Right, but you don't have the right to charge money to install chips into someone else's device. There's all sorts of legal precedent for that from cars to guns to any number of other items you're prohibited from doing. That's why he went to jail.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Nursie (632944)

        Errr....

        Sure you can charge money for aftermarket addons for cars!

        Or were you thinking of things like reflashing car firmware to remove speed limiters and the like?

        • straight pipes, actually. don't know if electronic limiters are illegal to remove.

        • Microsoft aren't going to be very upset if you do some case mods to your 360. Not exactly very analogous to customising your device's firmware.

          Remapping your ECU or swapping in a bigger engine will void your warranty and could put you over legal emissions limits depending on what you do (but it is fun!). Very similar to installing custom firmware.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tftp (111690)

        you don't have the right to charge money to install chips into someone else's device.

        That alone, so broadly worded, is not illegal if that 'someone else' owns the device. There are thousands of electronics technicians in the USA (and far more in China) who do this for a living.

        On the other hand, it may be against the law for you to use (or even own) a modified device. But even with guns the legal situation is not that obvious. In any case it's a legal minefield.

      • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:45AM (#34022092) Homepage Journal

        "Right, but you don't have the right to charge money to install chips into someone else's device."

        Excuse me? Car Tuning shops do it ALL THE TIME.

        Ever hear of a PERFORMANCE CHIP UPGRADE?

        • Try and claim a new engine under warranty if you blow your engine after doing a "PERFORMANCE CHIP UPGRADE". I don't think the manufacturer will be very willing to help you out. When you make modifications to your car on that level it invalidates your engine warranty, same as modding your Xbox will get your cut off from Xbox Live. I'm not saying you shouldn't do this, I've had it done on one of my cars. I'm just pointing out how manufacturers do not approve of third party modifications.

          You are allowed to mod

    • by Ciggy (692030)

      ...they have my money, and I have their product. Our relationship should there be at an end.

      So you're happy that:

      • the product is not fit for purpose which you discover only after getting it home;
      • the product fails to work soon after getting it home

      and you have no recourse to get them to fix it as your relationship with them has ended now that they have your money and you have their product?

  • For your phone you can "jailbreak" in order to install non-pirated software or connect to a different carrier.

    For your xbox you can "jailbreak" to investigate security flaws. Note that "running homebrew software" is not investigating security flaws, neither is running pirated software.

    The Library of Congress gets to make this stuff up: http://www.copyright.gov/1201/ [copyright.gov]

  • by droopus (33472) * on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:34AM (#34021788)

    Come on, the law is so weird, it has to be real. Fiction has to make sense.

    An example: ever hear of Relevant Conduct? [goo.gl] I've talked about this before. Here's the scenario: you get caught with a small bag of weed. You get arrested. While being booked some Fed sees you and says "hey! Aren't you the guy who mowed down all those nuns and orphans with an AK at McDonald's last week?" You deny it, but he's sure and you are charged with mass murder. You go to trial, and win. You are found not guilty after two minutes of deliberation. There was no evidence and the witness said it wasn't you.

    But since the McDonald's was in another state, the case is federal, and you get six months for the weed. Think you'll do it in some easy Club Fed? No way, you have mass murder as relevant conduct. I am not kidding: your custody can be affected by dismissed or acquitted charges. You have been found not guilty, but it's on your Pre-Sentence Investigation and the Bureau of Prisons will send you to a much tougher place: after all, you're a murderer! So, you go to a USP, and are dead in a week.

    As I've posted, I recently did five years in the feds, and rather than be close to my home in a Camp, I was sent to a disciplinary FCI as far away as they could send me, due to charges which were dismissed. The xBox thing does not surprise me in the least...there is so much bad law on the books, which is one reason we have so many people in jail.

    • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:42AM (#34021830)

      Sounds like you have... a problem with authority! Why don't you stop being a criminal? After all, the law is always right. This is just how the world works, and since it could, potentially, be worse, you might as well not bother trying to change it.

      • by pacinpm (631330)

        Sounds like you have... a problem with authority! Why don't you stop being a criminal? After all, the law is always right. This is just how the world works, and since it could, potentially, be worse, you might as well not bother trying to change it.

        Should all Negros think like you USA will still have a slavery.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MrSenile (759314)

          Or should all American Indians care, they could try to take ownership back from America, right?

          Sorry, words and rightful indignation is wonderful and all, but to the worlds bias attitude and the money and power to bigots in all forms, those who care have been carefully herded away from being able to change anything worthwhile.

          You think slavery ended for anyone? Work at a job sometime.

          Think race is considered equal for everyone? If that was the case, why bring up Negros at all?

          Nothing has really changed ex

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Excessive law is no law.

        Even members of the roman consul figured that out.

    • To be fair by eating at McDonalds the nuns and kids had obviously shown that they wanted to die soon, all the murderer did was expedite the process, and save their tastebuds a bit of agony.
  • If they decide that it *should* be legal to jailbreak video game consoles, and they add a new exception for it, then would that not also make the sale of modchips explicitly legal?
  • Phones have other uses than playing games (playing games is rather a minor functionality), but the only real usage of jailbreaking game console is, you guessed it, playing pirated games.

    Go figure.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I would challenge your view that the only "real usage" of moding a game console is to play illegally copied games.

      Of course I can only speak for myself but my intent when I modded my Xbox was so I could copy the games I already owned onto its hard drive and no longer need the easily damaged disks, that in some cases cost me $70+, to play the game. The originals are now stored in a safe location and will only be used to reload the hard disk should it fail at a later date.

      My action also allowed me to exten
    • by Nirvelli (851945)
      Clearly you've never heard of XBMC [wikipedia.org].
      • Mod parent up - I haven't played any games on my xbox in years - but I use xbmc to stream media on my modded xbox every day. I also have a version of debian linux installed which I fire up every now and again.
        Games consoles are rather powerful computers - modding them frees up a lot of capabilities.
  • Just what MIcrosoft always wanted, rentable software. This is progress?
  • Why bother? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iamacat (583406) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:19AM (#34021994)

    It takes a sick groupie to keep buying stuff from people who are trying to put you in jail for using your own paid for product. Just say no with your wallet. There are plenty of inexpensive desktops, laptops and other devices that officially support Linux or even come with it pre installed. Or you take free old hardware from your friends, coworkers, Goodwill and other situations where the original vendor doesn't benefit or the indirect benefit is offset by public good. Eventually some company, big or small, will get the message that there is a need for a different kind of product. And serving even one in 100K people on planet earth can sustain a small business.

    • Now how do you get the ignorant masses from running out and purchasing/licensing DRM infected gear? There is no warning label on such goods that state "WARNING: If you modify this device you may go to prison" Maybe there should be a campaign to educate consumers in such a fashion. Who is going to sponsor it? Maybe EFF? How many people on Slashdot donate to the EFF? I do. Every time the make news I donate again. People can thank the EFF for it now being legal to jailbreak their Iphones. Just
  • my guess is a similar ruling that allows Region-free DVD players into Australia, the line between making it work ie enabling functionality, and breaking copyright 'protection' systems.

  • Believe it or not, but I'd love to mod my Wii so I could create & play backups of all the discs I bought, because I don't want buy them again when my kids accidently scratch my Mario Kart discs when they play them.

    And I'd gladly pay someone for the service too (after all, he's spending time, and he's risking to brick my hardware, so there's some liability as well...).

    The only real solution is to pass a law that makes all kinds of DRM illegal. Any technology whose only purpose is to make the usage of the

    • Softmod is easy peasy on wii. I have one of those new fancy black wii-s without dvd player hardware. All you need is a specific game, a 1 or 2 GB SD card and about 1 hour of your time. Playing one level of the said rather lame game was the most painful part of it. I personally did it to have the homebrew media player and a better browser on the main device hooked up to my projector. It's a computing device I own, anyone telling me what I can or cant install on it can take a hike.
  • I should own it. be it a phone, a console, a car...

    If I choose to put a 5.0 cammer engine in the car *I bought* and forego the warranty, It's my choice. I won't go to prison for it. (oops, already did it in my friend's 2k4 Marauder, added a supercharger too, so guess I'll go to prison for life now...)

    When I buy it it's mine to do whatever the fuck I want with it... If I want to set it on fire with thermite, jailbreak it, or else...

    • I expect it's a bit different with cars and bikes... You take them on public roads, shared by others, and there is all kinds of safety regulations involved. You cannot just take anything with wheels and an engine on the road without the neccessary paperwork. I see what you're getting at, but there are rules on the road. However, if you just use it on private, closed circuits, i guess it's a different matter.
  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @06:41AM (#34022668) Homepage

    Back in July, the Librarian of Congress officially made it legal to jailbreak your iPhone (or any phone). So why is it that the government is trying to prosecute Matthew Crippen for jailbreaking Xbox 360s?

    I got dinner from Arby's tonight. So why is it raining outside?

  • by Openstandards.net (614258) <slashdot@@@openstandards...net> on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @10:27AM (#34024532) Homepage
    Is anyone else concerned that homeland security arrested him? Weren't they created to fight terrorism in response to 9/11?!? And, what on earth does it have to do with "Immigration and Customs"? It sounds like the ESA went to an organization that they knew (1) had nothing important to do today, (2) would have the least capability to understand the issue involved and (3), would have a tendency to overblow the importance, and (4) be desperate to throw someone in jail.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly

Working...