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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?"
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Xbox 360 Jailbreaker May Need Real Jailbreak

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  • 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 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 spire3661 (1038968) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:24AM (#34021742) Journal
    Jailbreak is fine, otherwise the old media will go back to calling it 'hacking', in the bad context.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:32AM (#34021776)

    "general allowance to do whatever the hell you want"

    still it seems that companies is doing that by limit our right to out own stuff.

    They sold it. Not rented it to you.

  • 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).

  • 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!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:41AM (#34021820)

    Look at the cute AC! He thinks consumers are real people, like corporations!

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • Re:Jailbreaking? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:56AM (#34021894)

    He modified his own property. That is what he did. Now, whether this allows others to potentially 'steal' money that only exists in the future of an alternate dimension where the artist/business made more money (the piracy is bad because they steal "potential profit" argument) is irrelevant. It can be used to play backup copies, yes. Now, no one can legally play their backed up games in fear of getting in legal trouble because lobbyists have an illogical fear of 'piracy'. Useless. Pirates will do this whether it is legal or not, and people who have legitimate uses for it could suffer. In some ways, it sounds similar to DRM.

  • by kawabago (551139) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:59AM (#34021908)
    Just what MIcrosoft always wanted, rentable software. This is progress?
  • by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:59AM (#34021912)

    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?

  • by tftp (111690) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:10AM (#34021962) Homepage

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:39AM (#34022060)

    You're allowed to rip out the manufacturer-installed seatbelts and swap em for your own seatbelts as long as they pass certain safety standards. You are allowed to print your personal manifesto on the body (at least constitutionally) although I could see you being pulled over by every two-bit cop who read it to harass you about it.

    To further extend the analogy, this is like a car manufacturer saying you can only put Exxon brand gasoline in the tank, and putting in any other kind of gas constitutes an offense punishable by jail time. This guy also apparently wrote a book on how to get gas from non-compliant gas pumps into your Exxon-only tank.

    Captcha: Perish

  • by somersault (912633) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:42AM (#34022074) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Belial6 (794905) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @04:20AM (#34022212)
    There really is not a difference between jail breaking your phone to allow you to run pirated games, and selling Xbox 360 mods to allow you to install whatever apps you like. I don't know what unapproved apps are available for the 360, but I still run XBMC on my XBox1. In fact, XBMC has always been the most used app on my Xboxes.
  • isn't it obvious? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @05:02AM (#34022338)

    Because Apple is the new blac^W Microsoft.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @05:40AM (#34022464)

    What good are guns to americans if you never use them to defend your rights? That's what I've been wondering about for years.

    You have corruption, injustice and all you do is whine about it. Use them or lose them, as I think the saying goes around there.

    When was the last time there was good ol' flogging of corrupt bureucrat, politician or other rotten power figure?

    Or does not rotten officials exist anymore?

  • 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.

  • by delinear (991444) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @07:19AM (#34022806)
    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 amazing tools and apps were developed to take advantage of the crack. The most significant of these being XBMC, which has outlived the console itself and even back then was years ahead of many of today's commercial media centre offerings. That's why it's particularly significant that they're trying to prevent testimony from someone involved in that scene, it's like they're closing down that avenue of defence specifically so they can play the "this will only be used for piracy" card.
  • by andydread (758754) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @07:50AM (#34022998)
    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 a quick google search [google.com] shows some of the valuable work they have done and you can go here [eff.org] to see a list of that valuable work. I urge every Slashdotter to Join the EFF and help them fight the RIAA/MPAA/BSA juggernauts. Any little bit helps.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @07:51AM (#34023010)

    But if you want to add another floor, you can usually get a permission from the city (or whatever), as long as they deem it safe and all. The company who sold you your house certainly doesn't get to decide.

    A lot of home owners associations are either run by or subordinate to the subdivision developer. You can be sure you won't be allowed to add a second story to any house governed by a HOA.

  • 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.

  • Re:Apple xbox (Score:3, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @09:35AM (#34023886) Journal

    "You're not allowed to pirate or jailbreak!"

    I'm not. I am sampling the TV show to see if I like it (no) (it sucked worse than Star Wars Episode 1), and I am customizing my phone to my own preferences. I paid for it; it's mine to do whatever I please; including hitting it with a hammer, if that's what I desire.

    "Uhhh... no it isn't yours."

    Absurd. Of course the phone/box/whatever is mine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @09:36AM (#34023904)

    Except that exactly this isn't possible on 360. By modding the DVD-ROM (which he apparently did), he cannot run his own software - he can only run copied games that are already signed by Microsoft. This is totally different from what bunnie did on the original xbox.

  • by multisync (218450) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @10:07AM (#34024308) Journal

    You have to be given modpoints by the system before you can mod people up. The UI will make it fairly obvious that you are able to moderate if and when that happens.

    And try not to be a dick about it, like the tool that moderated koreaman's comment Offtopic. It was, but it also provided helpful insight for new users like yourself. Leaving it scored at 1 and giving a positive moderation to a good comment instead would have served the discussion better.

    (You were also modded OT - probably by the same person - for a clearly ON topic comment, which should give you an idea of how useful the moderation system here is).

  • Re:Apple xbox (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @10:43AM (#34024704) Homepage

    "Application" was in widespread use, and geeks (and their acquaintances) used "app" forever.

    See the bold part of your comment, which was exactly my point: it wasn't in widespread common usage. I now hear average, non-geeky folks referring to things like Photoshop or Firefox as an "app".

    I know that, technically, there's nothing wrong with this...it's just really annoying.

  • by Khisanth Magus (1090101) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @11:16AM (#34025220)
    If they didn't have that check, what is to stop you from just going and renting every game you want to play, put it on your hard drive, and return the disk. Repeat until you have gone through the 360 section of the nearby rental place.
  • by MrSenile (759314) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @11:27AM (#34025382)

    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 except the face presented to the world on how it's treated.

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