Defcon17 – Jailbreaking and the Law of Reversing…

Using jailbreaking of the iPhone as a primary example, the presentation will be an overview of the laws relating to reverse engineering of hardware and software.

Developers who rely on reverse engineering face a thicket of potential legal obstacles, including license agreements, copyright, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Taking iPhone jailbreaking as real-world example, we will review the legal theories Apple has asserted, shedding light on the major legal pitfalls that developers face, and what they can do to avoid them and minimize risks. We will also examine the additional legal issues raised by reverse engineering networked code, such as online video games.

The presentation stems from the presenters’ experience as attorneys with EFF’s Coder’s Rights Project, as well as their efforts to persuade the U.S. Copyright Office to grant a DMCA exemption for removing application locks on smartphones (including the iPhone and Android G1).

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