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  1.    #1  
    The question:

    Do you think it's legal/moral to hack your phone? (eg. add bluetooth capability, wifi capability, or change the original software/os to something you prefer)

    If you kill your phone performing such a hack, do you think it's ok to get Sprint or PalmOne to replace/repair the phone for you for free, or should you have to pay for it?

    My two cents on the issue:
    I for one think it is legal to do whatever you want to do with your own equipment, unless it causes a problem for someone else. Once you start causing problems for other people you get into a grey area.

    It's kind of like writing a virus. I can infect my own system/network all day long and it's not a problem. That's one of many freedoms we have. However, if I start spreading this virus around the world causing coorporations to lose money hand over fist trying to get rid of it, then it becomes a legality issue.

    That's why I think returning a phone you damaged yourself is moraly wrong to say the least. You're now causing someone else problems. (Sprint/PalmOne's pocket book gets a little lighter) I'm sure it also is a breach of some contract you signed, but I wouldn't know. If so then I guess it's illegal as well.

    BUT... if you're paying $4 a month for a service that says they'll replace it "no matter what happens", then by all means... call them on it! There's nothing I hate more than spending $4 a month on insurance I'll never use.

    --TechDude
  2. #2  
    Good post Tech Dude. I agree.

    Does the insurance really say "whatever happens"?
    “There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order.”
    — Ed Howdershelt
    "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."- Thomas Jefferson
  3.    #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by Woof
    Good post Tech Dude. I agree.

    Does the insurance really say "whatever happens"?
    I don't know, but when I called them to inquire about a different issue some time ago, they said that if I broke the screen with a hammer, dropped in a toilet or ran over it with my car they would replace it for $35 or something like that. I assume that a hacked ROM would be no different.

    --TechDude
  4. #4  
    If that's the case, then if you fry the ROM, go grab a hammer and bash it. That way they won't bother with checking the ROM!!
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by rigfennid
    If that's the case, then if you fry the ROM, go grab a hammer and bash it. That way they won't bother with checking the ROM!!
    Hence the questions about morality/legality....
    "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
    - Albert Einstein
  6. pabo's Avatar
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    #6  
    I equate this to employers that offer sick days and then B/C when folks use them. If you don't want to deliver on the promise, don't offer it. Insurance companies NEVER go out of business and never lose money - the reason - a lot of highly paid folks who make sure the odds are in their favor.

    Bottom line, if they don't like replacing a failed phone for a hacked ROM, they can drop your coverage after the replacement (their moral right), and write the exclusion into the new contracts.

    Short story - had a car warranty. The provider replaced a part with a new GM replacement part, at the dealers recommendation, as per their own contract. They basically changed the rules after the replacement (the new part would no longer be covered under the warranty). OK - I did not think they had a legal or moral right to do so. Bottom line, per the terms of their contract, I cancelled, received a refund of all but $200 (pro-rated cancellation) on teh warranty, but only after they paid pout a $900 repair !! Bottom line - for me it cost $200 to fix the problem - for them it cost $700 to deal with me.

    If you are concerned about the morals of the return/replacement, read the fine print, it usually is clear enough to make this a contract and not a moral question.
  7. #7  
    As far as legality goes, the question then goes to: Who owns the rights to the ROM? The ROM is on the phone, but do you have rights to modify it? There is nothing stopping you, but that doesn't make it legal. You purchase the CD of music, but you actually purchase the rights to possess the music in CD format. This means it's actually illegal to rip it to MP3, but notice how it's stopped people from doing it. (It has also created some interesting Corporate hipocracies: Sony Music selling CD's, and Sony Electronics selling MP3 players.)

    But we're not talking CD's, we're talking software on a phone. Either way, it's still intellectual property, and if it's property, Shadowmite's patch is the equivalent of someone poking a hole in your fence, on your land because he didn't like how you blocked something. Could P1 be nice about it and give him some tools to help him out because they agreed? Sure, but just as easily they could call the police and attempt to have him arrested for tresspassing.

    In legal terms, what rights do we possess when we purchased the phone? I do not think it was to patch it so that we could work around limitations that I believe P1 were contractually bound to enforce. Is P1 looking the other way? They have to be, this is too big not to notice, but can they come down on this? I'm sure they can if they're pressured to.

    c

    P.S. I am not an attorney, I do not practice law. I write software and my wife publishes e-books. I have a vested interest in knowing about IP law, but it's just that knowledge I've gained and could have improperly quoted here. Please in no way construe this as legal advice.
  8. pabo's Avatar
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    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by controller
    Shadowmite's patch is the equivalent of someone poking a hole in your fence, on your land because he didn't like how you blocked something.
    Actually, it's as if you own the land, and hired me to build the fence on your land, it is still your land and your fence - you have a right to make all the holes you like.

    Quote Originally Posted by controller
    Sure, but just as easily they could call the police and attempt to have him arrested for tresspassing.
    you're on your own land, modifying the fence you purchased. The "designer" or "builder" have no rights to govern how the owner modifies the fence.

    In IP terms, hacking a solution is perfectly legal, as long as you do not decompile the code, or modify the original IP and resell it as you own. A hack is what most people think of as software "customization". It requires that you own the original license to the software before the hack can even be applied, therefore there is no breach of license terms (legal, moral or ethical). If MS allows customization of it's apps, then P1 probably has no grounds to prevent it.


    Quote Originally Posted by controller
    I have a vested interest in knowing about IP law, but it's just that knowledge I've gained and could have improperly quoted here. Please in no way construe this as legal advice.
    ...yo sure sound like a lawyer...
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by pabo
    Actually, it's as if you own the land, and hired me to build the fence on your land, it is still your land and your fence - you have a right to make all the holes you like.
    It would be true if you did purchase the land. In this case, the land is the device. No one disputes that you own the phone. The software however, is usually operated through a license. If I wrote the software, then I own the land, I've given you a license to use it, in the manner that I intended. This means that the fence is still mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by pabo
    In IP terms, hacking a solution is perfectly legal, as long as you do not decompile the code, or modify the original IP and resell it as you own. A hack is what most people think of as software "customization". It requires that you own the original license to the software before the hack can even be applied, therefore there is no breach of license terms (legal, moral or ethical). If MS allows customization of it's apps, then P1 probably has no grounds to prevent it.
    The very nature of hacking the software would require some form of reverse engineering. Either way, with the licensing of software, and not the purchase of software, the property still belongs to the writer/creator of the software and not the end user. I believe our phones would be much more expensive if we were actually purchasing the Palm OS (at which source code would be included on our CD's).

    Quote Originally Posted by pabo
    ...yo sure sound like a lawyer...
    Worked for them for several years. It's like a disease.

    c
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    #10  
    I will agree that the software is licensed, not purchased. Also, that P1 would never be foolish enought to sell the software (that's a merger/acquisition).

    I deal with a lot of software IP issues and the issue of customization is common - and reverse engineering is not even close to decompiling the code. While no software vendor is happy when their app is reverse engineered, there is nothing they can legally do about it.

    I guess the issue goes to intent - is the individual trying to build a better mousetrap, or fill a void. If it is the former, all P1 does is alter the source code and break the hack on the next release. If it is the latter, why would P1 care, again, as long as the developer is not selling it as if it were from P1. Either way, I do not believe there are any leagal or ethical issues with developing and distributing a hack (that is properly characterized).
  11. #11  
    millions of patents modifying & improving existing products.. ok as long as not exact copy. palm providwa tools to 3rd party swv..
    govt forced MS to share code to decrease monopoly...

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