Not legally. A limited amount of iPhone jailbreaking has been exempted under the DMCA, but that won't absolve you for the offense of trafficking in the tools to do so. And there are a million other EULAs and such that at least purport to take away that very right. IANAL, but I've seen people dragged into court over them. Whether or not they're legal is pretty much academic if you have to go through the expense of fighting it out in court against a giant company.
The point is that the vendors are taking away our legal right to do all these things and occasionally adding some screw-you technology to make them technically difficult as well. They're not passively thwarting your ability to do what you like, they're actively opposing it both technically and legally and that's why people worry.
My response has been not to buy devices like that and to boycott those vendors wholesale, but the way the market is going, that's not going to be possible forever. We need a good first sale type right to eliminate all this nonsense.
We would never have made it this far if those nonsense book licenses that publishers tried back in the day had actually been successful.
While I suppose that people wouldn't have this problem if they were using it as, say, a doorstop, that's not really the issue people are having here.
The claim "I bought the hardware, I own it, therefore I should be able to do what I want with it and Apple is preventing me", which is the general argument being made, is fundamentally false. You bought the hardware, you own it and you can do what you want with it.
You have to jailbreak an iPhone to install other software, or so claims PC World. That's definitely a technical barrier, just like I explained. And a legal one, with the DMCA "trafficking" problem. Having established that their opposition is not merely passive, your complaint rings hollow, unless when you said that, you were trying to say that they were less than upfront about disclosing the restrictions?
No link will be given to those instructions. They're incredibly easy to find, but I don't want to run afoul of the nebulous contributory infringement claims like "inducement." My recommendation is for people like me with a problem with this to avoid buying the products to begin with. It's the approach I have selected.
That's not the manufacturers problem.
The govt has already declared that jail breaking your phone is legal.
That's a terrible argument to make in Apple's case:
It wasn't accidental, necessary or even cheaper to make the iPhone require a jailbreak before you could install your own stuff, after all.
> The govt has already declared that jail breaking your phone is legal.
That's a very misleading way to put it.
I already explained why the Librarian of Congress' exemption for jailbreaking an iPhone is useless because they do not (and cannot) exempt anyone from the ban on trafficking in such tools.
You can read more about how the DMCA works here:
Hopefully that will be enough that you can understand why the Librarian of Congress wrote, "Nor is this rulemaking about the ability to make or distribute products or services used for purposes of circumventing access controls, which are governed by a different part of section 1201."
That's the statement in which the Librarian of Congress exempted people from the ban on circumvention (but not trafficking) things like iPhones. The specific phone exemption is exemption #2.
Now then, how does one jailbreak an iPhone legally if they're not allowed to make or distribute the means to do so?
If you read the Freedom to Tinker article, you'll remember that the DMCA says that you cannot "manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof" that is "primarily designed" to circumvent, has only "limited commercially significant" non-circumvention purposes, or is "marketed" for circumvention purposes.
That word "manufacture" is the sticky one, not that you can't run afoul of the others. Damn hard to circumvent things when you can neither make nor import the tools to do so.
The DMCA is one big catch-22. Claiming that the government has declared this legal is very dangerous. IANAL and you need proper legal advice before dealing with this stuff.
I solve it by not owning an iPhone in the first place.