Interesting article from the always relevant John Naughton at The Observer. Much has been written about the iPhone’s sleek design, it should be flying off the stalls and become the mobile industry’s equivalent of the Wii. Yet, it has not, it is selling well, but not as well as some expected. Why is that? The answer is clear, Apple has shackled the iPhone with an AT&T contract, a simple fact that has demonstrated a staggering lack of foresight from the company that has told the industry that DRM is dead. Yes, DRM is dead, but then we will still constrain how you want to use your technology by making sure that we choose the phone network for you. Don’t these people eve learn?
Anyway, there have been legal concerns with the iPod because an enterprising American teenager has already cracked the hardware in order to connect to his network of choice (T-Mobile), and another company has managed to crack the software and now sends iPhones anywhere in the world.
At the heart of the question is not only the legality of the locks, and the potential infringement of the circumvention of such locks. I believe strongly that there is a growing legal case to be made against pervasive technological protection measures. But the question that we have to ask, is why has the copyright law been used to back some seriously flawed business models? If Apple wants to make a commercial decision and wants to lock their hardware, that’s their choice, but they should not be surprised if users all across the world will say “frack that, I want to use my own network”, which generates a huge incentive to break the built-in protection. The evil of TPM legislation is that it hard-wires these nonsensical decisions into the law. It is up to consumers to say no, or to fight back when possible.
For now, I’ll stick with my already-cracked iPod.