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January 10th, 2008, 03:48 PM #1IPhone Unlocking Kits
OK so here's the thing. One of my Chinese electronics suppliers has come up with an Iphone unlocking kit. This Turbo Sim Unlocking Kit works on the Iphone version 1.1.2 and all you do is connect it to the sim and follow a set instructions procedure.
Anyhow I was wondering....is it actually illegal to sell phone unlocking kits like these? If it is I'll steer away but if it isn't then I can get thousands of them if there is a market and it's legit to sell them.
So please advise. Is it legal to sell these?
January 10th, 2008, 05:12 PM #2
I can tell you that I would not put trust in this forum for your legal needs. We are affiliate marketers here, not corporate attorneys or reverse engineering experts. Perhaps your inquiry would be better off posted elsewhere. Good luck and let us know what you find out.
January 10th, 2008, 05:26 PM #3
I don't know if it's legal, but the Google AdSense showing just below this thread as I write this response lets me know that there are already those willing to take any risks involved in selling that kind of thing...
(ABW's ads rotate, so you may or may not see the Google ads when you look.)
And there are techie sites out there that say how to hack your own iPhone, but they may be able to get away with that because of the same legal principle (1st Amendment?) that allows people to post instructions for other kinds of questionable activities.
January 10th, 2008, 05:50 PM #4
I've just checked in the UK with a phone dealer and they say that there is nothing illegal about unlocking from a supplier perspective so should be OK.
January 10th, 2008, 07:35 PM #5
But what about in the U.S.?
January 10th, 2008, 10:05 PM #6
Once you own the phone it's yours to tinker with if you so desire, there is nothing legal that would preclude you. However, if you attempt to, it would completely void the warranty.
The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli
January 10th, 2008, 11:12 PM #7
Hm. It's a shame that they won't work with Verizon even if unlocked... my wife and I talk to each other for free - we're both on Verizon and her company covers her phone so she can't switch - so leaving Verizon is pretty much off the table
I was thinking along the lines of maybe there would be issues related to reverse engineering and patent laws or something - but like you, Haiko - IANAL
January 11th, 2008, 04:22 AM #8
I have been reading up on the legals more & more.
AT & T have been threatening to sue any company which offers to unlock IPhones. They state that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act exemption does not permit suppliers doing so. The one side International Arrest Warrant whereby the USA picks up British nationals for what is not illegal here, to face charges in the USA is being cited. Crazy legislation this extradition rubbish as US nationals can't get extradited in return (see NatWest Three, any fine will be paid by the City as what they did is not illegal in the UK).
However UK lawyers have stated that under European Law (where in Germany and France IPhone must already supply unlocked phones) the move to lock phones has been deemed anti-competitive and Apple may be fined just like Microsoft was for hundreds of millions.
The system in the US where most phones sold come locked is because the phones are sold at a SUBSIDY by the phone companies. The IPhone is NOT sold with a subsidy so the law governing protection of property does not apply.
The DCMA exception states that persons making non-infringing uses of certain works will not be subject to the DMCA prohibition. These works include "Computer programs in the form of firmware that enable wireless telephone handsets to connect to a wireless telephone communication network, when circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network."
The concept of Aiding and Abetting an individual so they may carry out their lawful right to unlock an IPhone (under the exemption) by providing the means necessary to do so is an interesting one. The exemption was never written just for the individual yet that is what some pro AT & T lawyers suggest. AT & T are suing companies who provide the equipment claiming copyright over the interface and that connecting to the interface without permission of AT & T is unlawful. Yet the companies being threatened have not fully backed down and are still planning to release software on the grounds they are not "interfering" with the interface as they only supply the means of interference (a new product) and don't carry out the interference itself and if under the exemption it is ok for a US citizen to unlock a phone but not to be supplied with the means to do so then you have an issue in the law. It would just mean that the equipment could be legally sold within the EU and anywhere outside the US.
So until the legal issue is determined and I am waiting to hear from uniquephones and others, I have three one word domains (.com, .co.uk, .eu) ready to roll but I shall hold back until I have confirmation. Also I am not the manufacturer, merely a retailer and do not supply any technical support. All that is from the manufacturer in China and we all know the trouble that the US has over trade agreements there, so I don't see what they can do about it as the product is not mine by construction.
Last edited by John Jupp; January 11th, 2008 at 04:32 AM. Reason: Preparation For Launch
January 11th, 2008, 11:18 AM #9
Sounds like you're definitely right to wait to see how it shakes out.
January 11th, 2008, 04:51 PM #10
I do think that now is the time if any to market the sites before the close up any loopholes.
Unlocking kits don't hinder phone sales they boost them, but it is up to the network in the US if they will allow its operation.
and HecticDMC: I have Verizon and their firmware won't even allow FTP push with bluetooth. It sucks because I just bought the Voyager and with the Verizon limitations its nothing more than a Fancy MP3 player. I feel your pain
January 11th, 2008, 05:18 PM #11
Well it would literally take just a day or so to set up a decent template and payment system on all 3 sites and a couple of days to inbound link to it from my other sites and within 14 days it'd be on page 1 of the Big G.
There's no problem selling in the UK. In the UK we are covered by the Mobile Telephones (re-Programming) Act 2002 and the only thing we can't do is interfere with the IMEI which this stuff does not do so we're not breaking UK law and we're definitely not breaking European law. Guess it's just down to the interpretation of the DCMA exemption whether we can sell in the US or not. I can always put a block on sales to US addresses if I have to.
January 11th, 2008, 08:53 PM #12
Side note - I was absolutely furious when I bought my Motorola Razr in 2006, because nobody from Verizon or the authorized dealer I bought it from bothered to mention that the thing is crippled so Verizon can force the V-Cast service on me. No bluetooth file transfers means I can't even do my own ringtones - why? So that I have to buy them from Verizon. There oughta be a law...
I told my wife that after my contract is up this September, if sales are up and things are stable, I'm jumping to the iPhone and we'll just have to pay a bit more on our monthly bill.
January 12th, 2008, 04:59 AM #13
That's the trouble with being locked into things. You then get stuck with whatever terms & conditions they want to add, even if it ruins a good piece of equipment.
When they "de-regulated" directory enquiries in the UK (cos they didn't want to pay for it any more) the Government caused no end of problems and although everyone is supposed to dial from a huge range of directory enquiry services, Virgin Media customers (everyone on cable in the UK) can only call Virgin Media directory enquiries at 20c a minute and a 50c connection charge.