(By You Yunting) Recently, Evad3rs released a new jailbreak tool called Evasi0n7.0 for Apple’s iOS 7 with Chinese name “太极7”. Due to Evasi0n 7.0 forcing Chinese jailbreak users to the default installation of TaiG app store in China, all public opinions on domestic Internet websites are criticism-oriented and most reports stated that Evasi0n 7.0 was a counterfeit software tool.
The principal Pod2g of Evad3rs team today expressed his opinions on Twitter that Evad3rs have decided to remotely disable the default installation of TaiG app store in China for further investigations on the piracy issue. As an intellectual property lawyer, I paid great attention to this issue. I hope this post has broached several legal problems as follows.
1. What are legal risks of Evasi0n referring to counterfeit software?
Since I installed Evasi0n 7.0 to jailbreak my iPad, as expected, my iPad was default installed a similar apps store as Cydia. Differentiated from news and reports, after searching 5 of Top 30 Appstore’s software and some other apps I am familiar with, such as Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies, I found out there is no paid apps in TaiG app store. According to the principle of statistics, current TaiG app store may be designed not to provide paid apps to download. An internet user on Zhihu.com once discussed that: in the case that there is a large possibility at first that TaiG app store provided counterfeit software, when Jailbreak team discovered that, they imposed pressure and forced the operator to delete the counterfeit software.
Similar to Cydia, Evasi0n also support users to the function of adding software source manually. After adding such software source, users can search for and download counterfeit paid apps. If users add such software source manually and download counterfeit apps, pursuant to the Regulations on the Protection of Rights to Information Network Communication, the operator of the Evasi0n acted the legal status as a network service provider, thus the operator shall not undertake liability for counterfeit acts.
With regard to whether the free apps download services provided by Evasi0n constituted infringement, considering distributing free software in line with the interests of the developers, therefore, generally the right holder of software or apps may not be held accountable the responsibility of Evasi0n’s infringement. Certainly, the possibility that the right holder for its purposes may claim Evasi0n to constitute infringement cannot be excluded. Reference of details can pick up the case that Google accused Aliyun.com for providing its official Android Market (note: the link is in Chinese).
2. The relationship of iOS jailbreak and laws.
In the following, we would like to discuss other legal issues related to jailbreak. Since we wrote some posts about these issues, we would pick up some opinions as follows, which equally applies to Evasi0n.
(a). What’s the difference between iPhone jailbreak and iPad jailbreak? Considering jail breaking iOS is a new problem, the validity also is controversial in U.S, a country with the most developed internet laws. During my visit to U.S, I once asked this question to the principal of the U.S Patent Office, and their answers are that: the reason why the U.S rule that iPhone jailbreak is legal but iPad jailbreak is illegal primarily involve controlling access to the TPM (Trusted Platform Module) embedded in the hardware of both devices.
(b). Is the legal risks of Evasi0n similar to that of Cydia? The reason why Evasi0n 7.0 annoys Chinese internet users is that Evasi0n blocked an apps store similar with Cydia. Therefore, Evasi0n will face similar legal risks with Cydia. I once discussed the specific legal risks of jailbreak in my previous post called Legal Analysis of Cydia Jailbreak Website in China (note: the link is in Chinese). Here a quote from the post:
There are two larger legal risks for a jailbreak website that assists jailbreak users to install the software: first unfair competition from Apple Inc. and the other is the risk of distributing counterfeit software.
In previous post, we had analyzed the legal risks of counterfeit. As for legal risks of unfair competition, Apple Inc. may sue developers and sponsors of jailbreak software in accordance with the Anti-fair Competition Law, alleging that the technical protection measures of system cracking destroy the users’ agreement which constituted unfair competition. If Apple Inc. is a China-oriented company, there is likelihood that the developers of jailbreak software and the operators that providing jailbreak software with download services may be put into prison in the name of crime of illegal business operation or crime of copyright infringement.