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Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)

Journeyman

Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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13 REPLIES
Wizard

Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)

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/ar...

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.

Journeyman

Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)

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

Wizard

Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)

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

Journeyman

Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)

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

Wizard

Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)

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

Wizard

Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)

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

Master

Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)

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.

*********************************************************
I come here trying to help people and not because I'm employed from Sprint, so If my reply helped you or if you get an answer to your question from other users, PLEASE mark it as solved.
Sprint Product Ambassador

Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)

[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]

Highlighted
Journeyman

Re: Rooting your phone is legal! (not a troll)

wengla02 wrote:


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


I don't have a cat