egzthunder1 · Mar 14, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Innovation Does NOT Lead to Piracy

The Joint Creators and Copyright Owners (JCCO) is a group of organizations including the MPAA, RIAA, and other entities that are continuously in the news these days. These groups are formed by incredibly powerful people attempting to protect their interests, investments, and everything they have worked hard for (or so they claim). These coalitions and private interest groups will normally stop at nothing to do what they believe is right for them, which is to try and protect their intellectual property (IP) from the dangers of piracy (read: loss of revenue). Lets take a look, a closer look at my last statement… “they will stop at nothing to do what they believe is right for them.” This is more true than not and because of their immense sphere of influence, governments worldwide have granted these groups extraordinary rights when it comes to protecting their stuff, all under the veil of piracy. Included among some of these actions and consequences, we see one that we are far too familiar with, our rights to tampering with our property being challenged. In other words, your freedom to mess with your purchase is being put at risk, courtesy of these interest groups.

So, what exactly is happening? Well, XDA Recognized Developer AdamOutler has pointed us in the direction of a rather disturbing scene (and a possible way of avoiding this), where the aforementioned organizations basically want to try and render our ability to mess with the hardware and software that we legally purchase as something illegal, much like the debate a few years ago with the “jailbreaking” of iPhones and custom rom flashing on WM devices, which ended up being judged by US law as a lawful activity. Basically, these organizations are claiming that allowing hackers, enthusiasts, and developers to mess with the software and hardware could potentially facilitate ways for media content to be pirated easily across the internet, and blocking these efforts by making the activities illegal would help to put an end to piracy.

Now, XDA-Developers has always had a stance against piracy. However, we believe that our devices and the software developed on them are ours for us to do as we please with them. Why? Well, one, we paid for them and all of their licenses, and two is that the core objective of making advancements in technology is good enough of a reason to keep doing these things. If we are all going to get thrown in the same bag as movie and music pirates just to ensure that Hollywood gets their more-than-fair share of their products. Just think and consider this for five minutes, according to these claims they are preventing (or trying to anyways) from getting root and custom firmware to ensure that their products cannot be shared via programs that *may* be used for piracy, which *may* require root. Under the same line of thinking, they should probably ban phone manufacturers from making devices. This way, we will have nothing to root or load a custom software onto, hence protecting their precious earnings. Maybe take it a step further and stop teaching computer science in schools so that people become dumb enough to not be able to program anymore. Oh! I know!! Why don’t we simply shut down the internet? That should do the trick, right?

Sarcasm aside, luckily for us, this is far from being a one sided battle and we have big powerful groups on our side as well, such as the EFF, whom you may remember from things featured in this Portal such as the CIQ debacle, and the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC). The later has submitted a complain/amendment to the U.S. Copyright Office in which they thoroughly describe the issues at hand, adding the theory that passing such laws would also enable several companies such as Microsoft to monopolize the operating system industry. Does this ring a bell? Microsoft did this shortly after this request by the SFLC. The organization further goes to explain how essential this exception would be for the further development of technologies and security issues that may exist on other systems (PoC’s on HTC roms by TrevE anyone?). And this is just the tip of the iceberg as there is a slew of reasons why this amendment should pass.

The JCCO’s request is a travesty that needs to be amended or else the underground scene of mobile hacking and development as we know it will be put in grave risk. If this comes to pass without being amended, you can kiss you ability to load unsigned software on most devices goodbye, and freelance developers and enthusiasts would potentially become criminals. Please write to your Congressman, support the EFF and the SFLC and help us get this proposal passed to be able to keep enjoying our technology the way it was meant to be enjoyed. Thank you for reading, and you can find more information in the links below.

We urge the Register to recommend SFLC’s proposed exemption and allow device owners to reap the benefits of a truly
competitive software market.

You can find more information in the original sources here and here.

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Thanks AdamOutler for the tip!

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egzthunder1 is an editor on XDA-Developers, the largest community for Android users. I have been an active member of xda-developers since 2005 and have gone through various roles in my time here. I am Former Portal Administrator, and currently part of the administrator team while maintaining my writer status for the portal. In real life, I am a Chemical Engineer turned Realtor in the Miami area. View egzthunder1's posts and articles here.
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