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13 Replies Latest reply: Jan 14, 2011 12:07 PM by adamandkitty RSS

Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)

NICHOLAAAAS Expert
Currently Being Moderated

Today the Library of Congress, who is basically the legal research branch of Congress, added a very important passage to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that states:

 

Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.

 

http://www.dailytech.com/Library+of+Congress+Jailbreaking+Rooting+Phones+Video+Montages+are+Legal/article19157.htm

 

http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/26/library-of-congress-adds-dmca-exception-for-jailbreaking-or-root/

 

Big win for customers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 1. Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)
    wasbakntyme Bronze Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    nicholaaaas wrote:

     

    Today the Library of Congress, who is basically the legal research branch of Congress, added a very important passage to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that states:

     

    Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.

     

    http://www.dailytech.com/Library+of+Congress+Jailbreaking+Rooting+Phones+Video+Montages+are+Legal/article19157.htm

     

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/26/library-of-congress-adds-dmca-exception-for-jailbreaking-or-root/

     

    Big win for customers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Not really a big win for customers.  This only means that rooting an Android phone may no longer be a violation of the DMCA, if it ever was.  It does not affect the contractual prohibition against altering the phone from manufacturer's specs and then using it on the Sprint network that is in the Sprint Terms and Conditions, nor the affect rooting may have on warranty coverage.  I haven't heard of a copyright violation ever being enforced against someone rooting an Android phone.

  • 2. Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)
    NICHOLAAAAS Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    um yes it is... because now congress has giving tacit approval to you right to operate a piece of equiptment how you like (within the context of the law and fcc regs.) at the very least carriers can not simply void your warranty when you take your phone in for a hardware defect just because you are rooted.

     

    and both you and sprint agree to binding arbitration in the even of a complaint. with this I like my odds

  • 3. Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)
    wasbakntyme Bronze Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    nicholaaaas wrote:

     

    um yes it is... because now congress has giving tacit approval to you right to operate a piece of equiptment how you like (within the context of the law and fcc regs.) at the very least carriers can not simply void your warranty when you take your phone in for a hardware defect just because you are rooted.

     

    and both you and sprint agree to binding arbitration in the even of a complaint. with this I like my odds

    No, Congress has at the most, through authority purported to be given to the Librarian of Congress, said that rooting your phone is no longer a violation of copyright law, if it ever was.  They have neither endorsed nor created any right to operate your phone how you like, nor has it affected the warranty issue, which are contractual questions.  Before the announcement, it may have been a violation of copyright law to root your phone even if you never activated it on the cell phone network.  The announcement does not affect Sprint's right to contractually control what phones can be operated on their network, if they choose to enforce those contract provisions; nor what modifications might make warranty or extended service coverage unobtainable.

     

    In the unlikely, but possible, event that it ever gets to that point, any arbitrator should understand the difference between copyright law and contractual issues.

     

    Edit:

     

    It may help to understand the difference by looking at another portion of the announcement...that unlocking your phone to allow it to be used on another network is no longer a violation of the DMCA, if it ever was.  However, it does not require another cell phone carrier to allow that unlocked phone to be activated on their network, making your ability to legally unlock it potentially moot.

     

    Message was edited by: wasbakntyme

  • 4. Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)
    NICHOLAAAAS Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    1. Actually Congress as the authority to pass ANY law it wants

     

    2. Two did you read the quote it is the exact definition of Rooting

     

    3. Are you familar with the DCMA?

     

    4. Per Sprint's TOS:

    "To ensure the activities of some users do not impair the ability of our  customers to have access to reliable services provided at reasonable  costs, you may not use our services in a manner that is unlawful,  infringes on intellectual property rights, or harms or unduly interferes  with the use of Sprint’s network or systems."

     

    and the biggie:

    "Our Right To Suspend Or Terminate Services

    We can, without notice, suspend or terminate any Service at any time for any reason, including, but not limited to: (a) late payment; (b) exceeding an Account Spending Limit; (c)  harassing/threatening/abusing/offending our employees or agents; (d)  providing false information; (e) interfering with our operations; (f)  using/suspicion of using Services in any manner restricted by or  inconsistent with the Agreement; (g) breaching the Agreement or failing  to follow our Policies; (h) providing false, inaccurate, dated or  unverifiable identification or credit information, or becoming insolvent  or bankrupt; (i) modifying a Device from its manufacturer  specifications; (j) failing to use our Services for  an extended period  of time; (k) failing to maintain an active Device in connection with the  Service; or (l) if we believe the action protects our interests, any  customer's interests or our network."

    Anyone with any technical knowledge know that rooting in itself does not modify "manufactuer specifications," it only grants SU access/permission. while the work of the LoC today is in the context of coptright protection... it can very easily be extended to installing ROM's that don't intrinsicly alter the device. And like I siad before I'm pretty sure Sprint won't want to go to arbitration to argue with you. It's in their best fiscal interest to give you a new phone (if a warranty applies) or issue you insurance

    p.s. I'm loving 2.2 screenshot.png

     

    Message was edited by: nicholaaaas

  • 5. Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)
    wasbakntyme Bronze Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    nicholaaaas wrote:

     

    1. Actually Congress as the authority to pass ANY law it wants

     

    2. Two did you read the quote it is the exact definition of Rooting

     

    3. Are you familar with the DCMA?

     

    4. Per Sprint's TOS:

    "To ensure the activities of some users do not impair the ability of our  customers to have access to reliable services provided at reasonable  costs, you may not use our services in a manner that is unlawful,  infringes on intellectual property rights, or harms or unduly interferes  with the use of Sprint’s network or systems."

     

    and the biggie:

    "Our Right To Suspend Or Terminate Services

    We can, without notice, suspend or terminate any Service at any time for any reason, including, but not limited to: (a) late payment; (b) exceeding an Account Spending Limit; (c)  harassing/threatening/abusing/offending our employees or agents; (d)  providing false information; (e) interfering with our operations; (f)  using/suspicion of using Services in any manner restricted by or  inconsistent with the Agreement; (g) breaching the Agreement or failing  to follow our Policies; (h) providing false, inaccurate, dated or  unverifiable identification or credit information, or becoming insolvent  or bankrupt; (i) modifying a Device from its manufacturer  specifications; (j) failing to use our Services for  an extended period  of time; (k) failing to maintain an active Device in connection with the  Service; or (l) if we believe the action protects our interests, any  customer's interests or our network."

    Anyone with any technical knowledge know that rooting in itself does not modify "manufactuer specifications," it only grants SU access/permission. while the work of the LoC today is in the context of coptright protection... it can very easily be extended to installing ROM's that don't intrinsicly alter the device. And like I siad before I'm pretty sure Sprint won't want to go to arbitration to argue with you. It's in their best fiscal interest to give you a new phone (if a warranty applies) or issue you insurance

    p.s. I'm loving 2.2

     

    Message was edited by: nicholaaaas

    1.  Congress can pass any bill.  If signed into law, or veto overridden, it is subject to judicial review as to constitutionality.

     

    2.  The definition of rooting as it relates to the wording of the Librarian of Congress' announcement is not the issue.

     

    3.  I am somewhat familiar with the DMCA.  What is the DCMA?

     

    4.  I do not believe that the manufacturer's specs on the EVO or most other phones include allowing superuser access to the consumer.

     

    5.  The Librarian of Congress only announced that rooting will not in the future be a violation of the DMCA.  That of course may depend, if challenged, on whether the federal courts determine that the authority purportedly given to the LoC to substantially alter the law is constitutional.

     

    6.  The fact that an action may not violate a particular law does not mean that contractual prohibitions against that action are not enforceable.

     

    7.  Sprint does not initially have to go to arbitration to argue with you.  If they were to decide to enforce the applicable contract term and terminate your account, or refuse warranty or extended service due to rooting or a non-official OS, it is you who would need to initiate arbitration.  If Sprint were to be able to successfully demonstrate that you used your rooted device to use the hotspot without paying the applicable fee, the arbitrator would most likely not look kindly on your complaint.

     

    Having said all of that, there have not been widespread reports of Sprint terminating accounts due to rooting or unofficial OS installation.  Also, many service issues allow the user to re-flash an official OS and remove superuser access before seeking service.  However, Sprint could at any time decide to strictly enforce those provisions; and wholesale rooting in order to avoid the hotspot plan fee may be the thing that precipitates enforcement.

     

    The bottom line is that each subscriber can decide whether or not to root their device; but they should make that decision knowing both that it violates the Terms and Conditions, and the possible, though at this time apparently remotely so, consequences.

     

    Message was edited by: wasbakntyme

  • 6. Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)
    Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    I just want to say... If Sprint is wise, they will not be terminating their customers.  Didn't someone mention that their stock market value is only about 4 bux?  Sprint is trying to compete with AT&T with this EVO phone.  Terminating customers will not help their goal and it will be a major loss of revenue on their part.  I don't know how to root a phone and all of that, but for those that do know how to do that, then I am all for it, as long it is not for the intent of criminal activities.  The guy that started this topic most likely had already rooted his phone.  He took the risk by posting here and lookie...the guy is still here despite when Sprint employees coming on here.

     

    Can the EVO be used on another carrier's network, such as AT&T?  Not that I like AT&T, just wondering.

     

    Message was edited by: ThunderEVO

  • 7. Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)
    Dj_Damjano Master
    Currently Being Moderated

    This post is getting a bit complicated, because everyone gives opinions without knowing or searching anything.

    About 2 years ago there was a law passed that will allow you to get unlock codes from any carrier even though you are not in a contract with them. I know this because I was told from a T-mobile associate, and I did call them to unlock a t-mobile phone that later on I used it with AT&T. They will not acknowledge it for you when you call the costumer service but if you insist they will just e-mail the codes to you free of charge.

    What they are trying to do now is the same thing that they did with the phone numbers, that you can take it with you to a new carrier. Just keep in mind, almost the same procedure is used in Europe, that means no more unlocked phones, but also higher prices for phones since the companies don't have the opportunities to collect enough revenues to offset the price discount for the new phones.

    I think everything is going to come down to what company has the best network, best prices for the plans, and not so much about what type of phones they carry. I do belive Spint has gotten that, and that's why I think they have put costumer service first, together with the best prices and plans out there.

    I've been with them for almost 10 years and I have seen the transformation.

     

    One suggestion: Watch what you ask for because you might get it, together with it's good and bad things.

  • 8. Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)
    wingland Sprint Admin
    Currently Being Moderated

    [NOT speaking for Sprint]

     

    While it's not a violation of  the DMCA, it's also not something we support. If you install software that does not work, or causes your phone to stop functioning, we can't help.  If you install software that negatively impacts our network, we can take action.  And we are not responsible if that custom app  has a keystroke recorder and 'eats your cat', to quote one of the ROM builders.  We're also going to work hard to make the phones as secure as possible for the vast majority of our customers that want a stable, secure and (more or less) functional experience.

     

    We don't have an official statement on installing non-authorized software or apps, or 'rooting' your device (yet) but that's the gist of it.

     

    Hey, I like that.  "Sprint is not responsible if your phone eats your cat". 

     

    I'll see if the lawyers will sign off on that for the 'official statement'

     

    [/NOT speaking for Sprint]

  • 9. Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)
    NICHOLAAAAS Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    wengla02 wrote:

     


     

     

    Hey, I like that.  "Sprint is not responsible if your phone eats your cat".

     


    I don't have a cat

  • 10. Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)
    goygacon Silver Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    Pretty cool homepage you got there...does the paper fold and unfold for the time?  How does that work?  Genius Idea

  • 11. Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)
    wasbakntyme Bronze Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    4djdamjano wrote:

     

    ...

    About 2 years ago there was a law passed that will allow you to get unlock codes from any carrier even though you are not in a contract with them. I know this because I was told from a T-mobile associate, and I did call them to unlock a t-mobile phone that later on I used it with AT&T. They will not acknowledge it for you when you call the costumer service but if you insist they will just e-mail the codes to you free of charge.

    ...

    From the Sprint Terms and Conditions:

    Your CDMA Sprint PCS phone has a software programming lock that protects  certain of the handset's operating parameters against unauthorized  reprogramming.  If you wish to obtain the software program lock code for  your CDMA Sprint PCS phone, please visit Sprint.com or call  1-888-211-4727 for information and eligibility requirements.

     

    You don't need to insist.  I don't know what the "information and eligibility requirements" include, but when I first activated my Moment and my daughter's Rumor Touch (sorry, she insisted on that phone) I just asked the telephone customer service rep for the MSL (Master Subsidy Lock, or "unlock code") on both devices and she gave them to me with no questions.

     

    The MSL allows you to make changes that can render your phone unusable, so if you obtain it, be very careful what you change.  Also, despite the fact that Sprint will give you the code and that you can then make changes that would, among other things, allow the device to be used on other CDMA carriers, there is nothing requiring other carriers to allow you to activate the device on their network.  For example, the last I heard Verizon, the largest CDMA carrier in the US, would not allow non-Verizon-approved devices to be activated on the Verizon network.

  • 12. Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)
    adamandkitty Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    The whole point of the matter at hand for me personally is repair issues.  While it's not an issue with HTC if you clearly read their warranty terms, it very much could be considered so with the carrier.

    I personally think that by forcing users into sprints contractual agreements with outside companies is ridiculous.  ie. kindle, amazon mp3, nova, etc.

    Now I have never personally heard of companies dropping users b/c of rooting their device, but again if the phone takes a dump as not a result of the user but hardware error then it should be replaced/repaired especially considering insurance being paid to the carrier.

    Now if i root my device and I take it into a repair center they are naturally going to turn me to a new 500+ dollar new device since I "altered factory spec"

    this is something that certainly needs to end up in a class action suit somewhere considering users paying 2000+ over a contract period are going to bend over and take it from sprint.  It is going to take a great deal of money in attorneys and time.  Yea it isn't right but while we sit here and bicker about it the fact of the matter still remains that rooting while under contract will most likely not be repaired one way or the other.  Thanks again for nothing sprint.

  • 13. Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)
    beliving Bronze Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    Will makes a valid point.  In spite of what you've heard, rooting your phone does not void a warranty or violate terms and conditions.  Sprint does not take an official stance against rooting.  I think this is primarily because they have the Terms and Conditions that already cover their interests (internet tethering, excessive data usage or roaming, avoiding fees, etc.).  You can do what you want to your phone, just as long as you don't break it or violate your agreement (ie. tether without paying).  Thus, if you root your phone, and the Home key fails because of a manufacturer's defect (not something you did), then you are still covered under the warranty.  Consider Sprint's "open device" literature, which basically says you can do what you want, just don't break the phone:

     

    Important information about this device's open architecture
    This device is an "open" device. What that means is that you are free to use it to access the Internet as you see fit. You may go to websites you like and you may download or use applications or software that you choose. Please take care to visit the websites of and download applications from trusted entities. Sprint has no control over websites you visit or applications and software you download and Sprint's policies do not apply to those websites or applications. The websites you visit may place "cookies" or other files on your device when you visit them. Downloaded applications may access, use or share information on your device, like your contacts or your location. In most instances, Sprint is not able to help you troubleshoot issues that arise in connection with your use of non-Sprint applications (such as the ones you may select and download to your device). Sprint also will not be able to provide you credits for applications or software that you download from sources other than Sprint. Sprint is not liable for the websites you visit or anything you download or cause to be downloaded to your device. Damage related to websites visited or downloads to your device may not be covered by Sprint's Service and Repair policy or your device insurance policy.

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