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Xbox 360 Jailbreaker May Need Real Jailbreak 359

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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  • by cappp ( 1822388 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @02:23AM (#34021738)
    The jailbreaking finding [] (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 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? [] 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 droopus ( 33472 ) * on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:04AM (#34021932)

    We are the number one per capita nation for incarceration, but more interestingly, we also have the largest number of prison inmates. []

    We have 751 people in jail or prison per 100,000 population. UK? 151 per 100k. Germany 88. Japan 63. We throw people behind bars for offenses that would even amount to an arrest in most countries. I met people doing 20 years for a bag of crack the size of a sugar packet. I saw guys doing five for a phone call. I saw guys doing life because they were "co-conspirators" to something that happened 1,000 miles away without their knowledge.

    God Bless America.

  • Re:What kind of law? (Score:3, Informative)

    by koreaman ( 835838 ) <> on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:12AM (#34021972)

    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.

  • Re:Is it just me... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @03:40AM (#34022066)
    In this case jailbreak is not fine. He wasn't jailbreaking the Xbox, he was charging people to mod it to play backups/pirated media. Jailbreaking is generally accepted as removing device enforced limits on what 3rd party software can run. The mod he was using still will not allow homebrew or other non approved software to work.
  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> 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.


  • Re:Is it just me... (Score:5, Informative)

    by rickzor ( 1838596 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @05:29AM (#34022420)
    Actually, it would allow homebrew software. His mod was an extension of the soldering mod that allowed users to install linux on the original xbox, instead modified for the 360 hardware. All the mod does is stop the xbox from checking if it is a factory made, xbox manufactured game when you load a disc (somewhat like how a jailbroken iphone can use non app-store apps) and instead it will run whatever you stick in there, from game backups to a bios bootloader.

    Also, the article states that he would only mod for backups, and if piracy were brought up it would be a "no-deal".
  • 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 [] 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.

  • Re:What kind of law? (Score:4, Informative)

    by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @10:16AM (#34024400)

    I don't think they care if you modify your XBox. They do care if you break DRM to pirate software. The specific question was why the XBox was not included in the 'jailbreak' exceptions stated by the Librarian of Congress, but smart phones were.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @11:09AM (#34025114)

    So let me get this straight, first you go on about it, explaining to us that, Yes Dorothy, there are actually people who would have paid for something but they infringed!

    Then we get to the part that I found entertaining.

    "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.

    Personally, I am a major fan of the second camp. Why aren't you? The first camp controls the very laws of the country, lobbies for em, writes em and gets what they want. So what about the other side? By their doing whatever they can to avoid paying, they have created new liberties for the rest of us. These are not the people who are making money off of media as marketing, as tie-in merchandising or as movie rights. These are the same people who live all around us making life better by ensuring that you can still rip your mother fucking DVD collection to your computer.

    When the laws of the land are unjust and broken than truly only outlaws see to the protection of basic rights (i.e. right to mess with stuff you bought).

    Your argument comes to down to suggesting that we let these fucks ram it down our throats and beg for another. If they wanna sell me something fine, but don't sell me something and then get up in my shit fucking with its functionality. My house is my castle and I'm the fucking king here.

    What really galls me is games like MINECRAFT!!!! PRINT MONEY!!! AND YOU CAN PIRATE IT ALL DAY.

    Your ambivalence if fascist bullshit.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"