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Apple Steps Into Patent Fight To Unnecessarily Silence A Little Girl

from the really,-apple? dept

We’ve covered plenty of stories concerning Apple’s ridiculously arbitrary nature as the gatekeeper for iOS apps, approving or pulling them with little reason. And, of course, we’ve discussed a variety of ridiculous patent lawsuits — including one we wrote about back in March, concerning a fight over an iPad app for “augmentative and alternative communications.” This was the case of the mother of a 4-year-old girl, whose daughter Maya was unable to speak, but had finally found an iPad app, called Speak for Yourself (SfY) which actually helped her communicate with her parents. There were alternative products on the market, but most did not work for Maya — and were many time as expensive (one is described as running $7,000 — which the family appeared to be willing to pay, but not after they realized it wouldn’t work for her). And, of course, a patent dispute threatened all of this. Two companies who make some of the expensive offerings, Prentke Romich Company and Semantic Compaction Systems (PRC/SCS) have sued SfY for patent infringement, over a patent (5,920,303) on a dynamic keyboard (held by SCS, but licensed by PRC), which they claim SfY violates.

When we wrote the original blog post about it, we noted that even if PRC/SCS had a strong legal position, if PRC truly stood behind its own mission statement that “We Believe Everyone Deserves A Voice,” it would drop the lawsuit. Unfortunately it appears to have gone in the other direction, and enlisted Apple’s help, which Apple gave despite no legal basis for doing so. Maya’s mother, Dana, recently wrote an update, which starts out by explaining just how much the SfY app has changed their lives in an amazing way:

Maya’s progress in using the app to communicate has been staggering. In my original post I imagined a future in which I could hear Maya “speak” in phrases and share her thoughts . . . now, only weeks later, we are living that future. She politely makes requests, tapping out “I want cookie please.” She makes jokes, like looking out the window at the bright sunshine and tapping “today rain” and laughing (what can I say, 4 year olds don’t tell the best jokes). And two days ago she looked at my husband as he walked by and tapped “Daddy, I love you.”

Life-changing. Seriously.

Maya can speak to us, clearly, for the first time in her life. We are hanging on her every word. We’ve learned that she loves talking about the days of the week, is weirdly interested in the weather, and likes to pretend that her toy princesses are driving the bus to school (sometimes) and to work (other times). This app has not only allowed her to communicate her needs, but her thoughts as well. It’s given us the gift of getting to know our child on a totally different level. I’ve been so busy embracing this new reality and celebrating that I kind of forgot that there was an ongoing lawsuit.

But, some have snapped the lawsuit right back into focus. Despite the fact that PRC/SCS has not asked the court for an injunction barring the sale of SfY, the companies instead went to Apple and simply asked it to pull the app from the app store, claiming infringement. Apple, at least, first contact SfY, whose lawyer explained the situation, said that the infringement claims were unfounded, and pointed them to the ongoing court case. Apple seemed to accept this for a little while… but for reasons that no one but Apple can understand, it decided on June 4th that since the lawsuit hadn’t been settled or ruled upon yet, the app should be pulled.

As Dana notes, the app they still have on the iPad works… for now. But it’s clearly at risk:

At the moment, we still have the app, securely loaded into her iPad and present in my iTunes account, and Maya remains blissfully unaware that anything has changed. Dave and I, however, know better. We are now shadowed by a huge, impending threat. With the removal of Speak for Yourself from the iTunes store, the SfY team has lost the ability to send out updates or repairs to the people who are currently using the app. At this point, an update from Apple to the iPad’s operating system (which gets updated semi-regularly) could render SfY useless (because if the new operating system was to be incompatible with the code for SfY, there would be no way for the team to reconfigure the app to make it compatible with the new OS and send out the updated version). Our app could stop working, and Maya would be left unable to speak, and no one would be able to help us.

And there’s another threat, too, perhaps a more sinister one. What would happen if PRC/SCS contacted Apple and asked them to remotely delete the copies of Speak for Yourself that were already purchased, citing that the app was (allegedly) illegally infringing upon their patents, and stating that they wanted it entirely removed from existence? Prior to last week, I would have (naively) thought that such an aggressive move, harmful to hundreds of innocent nonverbal children, would have been unfathomable. Now, it appears to be a real concern. Prior to last week I would have (naively) thought that even if such a request was made, Apple would never comply without a court injunction forcing them to do so. Now, it appears that they very well might.

Dana questions two things: why would PRC/SCS go to Apple, even though there’s the entirely separate court case happening? And why would Apple remove the app? Both moves are pretty shameful, though not too surprising if you follow these kinds of cases. PRC/SCS is using all the tools in the toolbox to put pressure on SfY to fold. Going directly to Apple is much cheaper and much more likely to be effective than asking the judge for an injunction. As for Apple? Well, as we’ve said, the company is notoriously arbitrary in removing apps. That it may take away a little girl’s voice is apparently of little or no concern to the company.

SfY has put out a statement and is seeking a temporary restraining order (embedded below) to try to get the app back into the App Store. Facing a ton of criticism, PRC put out a substance-free statement on its Facebook page with the usual “lots of hard work” language about their product and how they have to stop this “flagrant infringement.” The comments on that statement are not particularly kind to PRC. As many people have stated, it’s positively ridiculous to force the app out of the store prior to a court actually reviewing whether or not there’s infringement here. But beyond just the legal issues, there are quite reasonable questions about PRC/SCS’s strategy from a business standpoint. Why would anyone want to do business with those companies going forward? Could you trust a company that sees this kind of strategy as reasonable?

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Companies: apple, prentke romich, semantic compaction systems, speak for yourself

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Comments on “Apple Steps Into Patent Fight To Unnecessarily Silence A Little Girl”

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129 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Apple is doing what Apple has to do to mitigate their liability in the issue. Basically, if they keep allowing the sale or distribution of the App after being notified of copyright infringement, they open themselves up to be jointly liable. I am sure their lawyers looked at it up and down, and decided they didn’t want to take any additional risk pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

PRC certainly has what on the surface appears to be a valid claim. It’s hard to get away from that, even if you invoke the old “think of the children!” play.

Rekrul says:

And there?s another threat, too, perhaps a more sinister one. What would happen if PRC/SCS contacted Apple and asked them to remotely delete the copies of Speak for Yourself that were already purchased, citing that the app was (allegedly) illegally infringing upon their patents, and stating that they wanted it entirely removed from existence? Prior to last week, I would have (naively) thought that such an aggressive move, harmful to hundreds of innocent nonverbal children, would have been unfathomable. Now, it appears to be a real concern. Prior to last week I would have (naively) thought that even if such a request was made, Apple would never comply without a court injunction forcing them to do so. Now, it appears that they very well might.

Welcome to the wonderful world of remotely controlled computing, where you don’t actually have any control over the device you supposedly bought. Where every app that you “buy” comes with a leash attached that the company can jerk back any time they feel like it.

Frankly, the way people have been flocking to the iPhone and the iPad and just accepting that Apple can do whatever it wants with either, makes me almost as sick as PRC/SCS do.

Androgynous Cowherd says:

Why would anyone want to do business with those companies going forward?

Because they intend to be the only two suppliers of something that some people won’t be willing to do without. I guess they figure it’s better to be hated and raking it in than to be loved and only have thin profit margins.

Jerks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Actually, the girl in the story couldn’t even use their product. As stated in the article, (one is described as running $7,000 — which the family appeared to be willing to pay, but not after they realized it wouldn’t work for her). So it isn’t even a matter of the price, it just has to work for a little girl, and their solutions are for adults.

Anonymous Coward says:

IF they really cared they would not charge 7,000$.. I mean really their machine is pointless in this age with current touchscreen technology…

What do they think is going to happen once all the windows users migrate into a touchscreen world as well. Their hold on the idea will slip fast because I have news for them.. The underground world will laugh in their faces and make similar software just so they can say fuck off.

It’s not about copyright it’s about fighting prices that are absurd.

Give it five years and there will be so much touchscreen freeware it will be impossible to stop.

Given enough time we will see technology ran by our thoughts alone which is already being used in artificial limb test and has been for a while now. The applications for it will expand greatly as we learn more about the brain.
It will unlock more methods to tapping in with only a small sensor.

I have Rheumatoid arthritis and I do a lot to make sure my hands stay functional for long as possible. A lot of rhythm games help me to keep my dexterity from declining too fast. Still I remember how bad my grandpa was with knots all over his knees,elbows and hands. Luckily for me I’m still young and I have some knots showing up on my knees and elbows but only noticeable by touch so far.

This brings me back to where I was bitching about absurd prices. I will have what I need in the future even if I cannot afford it.

It’s unnecessary waste of courts time like this that makes me keep my shit encrypted to the max with random passwords that’s very very long.

I’m just waiting for the day for some bs like that to happen to me so when they tell me to decrypt my shit I can tell them how about you go decrypt my cock in your mouth bitch. If you try long enough it will be sure to eject some data with one big upload.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Tim, sorry, you don’t get it.

With DMCA, there is no requirement of absolute proof at the time of notice, only a claim that the copyright holder feels is valid and true. While the other side may be objecting, the reality here is that the copyright claims on the surface appear valid.

If PRC wins the case, but Apple failed to remove the app, then Apple could face liablity for not acting under DMCA.

If PRC loses, Apple reinstates the app and the world keeps turning.

There is no requirement under DMCA to wait for a judgement.

AdamR (profile) says:

Someone should make everyone at Apple see Tim Cooks keynote from WWDC

http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/126pihbedvcoihbefvbhjkbvsefbg/event/index.html

Starts around 7mins in, they all should feel ashamed of themselves. Its amazing that he can get on stage and talk about apps that have helped people with physical and learning disadvantages and yet that they pulled this crap with this app developer.

Anonymous Coward says:

customers in general dont matter to companies. when a 4 year old has benefited so much by the use of this app, however, to then be denied it’s use is appalling. perhaps one day those that have made the decisions will be in a similar position. i wonder how they would feel if their use of something so helpful were removed?

David (profile) says:

Temporary solution?

I would suggest putting the iPad in airplane mode and leaving it there. Not having Internet access does admittedly keep the app from improving, but it also prevents changes to the device. As the parents were considering spending $7,000, this seems like a small price for the time being to ensure their daughter continues to be able to use the app.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:

I think there is only one thing SFY should do at this point, Open Source the whole project. Say someone hacked in and stole their software (not inconceivable with the recent publicity) and released it, Whatever they have to do.

Then developers can port this to Android phones, tablets, and Unlocked iPrisons, etc. Or Better yet, port to HTML5. Devices could run local copies of it for fast interaction, or have a web-delivered version in case the person’s device runs out of battery / gets lost / etc, AND is accessible anywhere Web is.

Eponymous Coward (profile) says:

Temporary solution?

This, most assuredly. Next step toward a long-term solution would be to find a sympathetic developer(s) to work a port from iOS to Android and load onto a tablet that they own and fully control. Don’t distribute the port, else you’ll have your own morass to wade through, just be comforted knowing that it can’t be remote-wiped.

Second thought. If the asses win and the original app is nuked, go ahead and distribute the port via anonymous means. This isn’t freetardery, it would be vigilante justice at that point.

As you said, you lose the ability to update/improve, but it’s a small price.

Michael Long (profile) says:

Already Infringing...

Actually, I’m surprised that Apple didn’t come down on the other side.

The patent basically covers a “dynamic” keyboard where pressing one symbol redefines the keyboard’s “vocabulary”, replacing the existing symbols with new ones. Repeat. Rinse as needed.

In short, it could easily cover the iPhone/iPad dynamic keyboard. Press the “.?123” key and the keyboard redefines itself, showing numbers and symbols. Press “#+=”, and you get a further set of symbols.

I could easily read the current dynamic keyboard used by Apple (and Android) to be infringing on this work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Apple is doing what Apple has to do to mitigate their liability in the issue.

No, they’re not. They are vastly exceeding their requirements. There is a lawsuit underway that they have not been served in, and no court order has come about requiring them to remove the app.

if they keep allowing the sale or distribution of the App after being notified of copyright infringement

Who said anything, at all about this being a case of copyright infringement? There is about an alleged patent. That you believe that it’s about copyright shows that you know absolutely zero about anything mentioned in the story, and didn’t even read it.

Considering that you don’t understand what’s going on, at all why are you commenting here?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

With DMCA

What does the DMCA have to do with this? AT ALL?

the reality here is that the copyright claims on the surface appear valid.

You keep saying “copyright’, but there are no copyright claims. Before commenting, you need to READ THE STORY so that you understand what it’s about, otherwise you just look stupid.

John (profile) says:

First of all, Apple doesn’t remotely disable apps on devices. They never have and probably never will. Second, the only company I’ve heard who has done that is Amazon. They’ve done it on the Kindle Fire. Third, this family has nothing to worry about. The app works and will continue to do so unless the company stops supporting it. Fourth, Apple would probably be liable if they didn’t pull it from the App store.

zato (profile) says:

Re:

“Frankly, the way people have been flocking to the iPhone and the iPad and just accepting that Apple can do whatever it wants with either, makes me almost as sick as PRC/SCS do.”

What makes me sick is that there are arrogant hater low-life gamer creeps in the world who will use anything they can to discredit Apple and its products because they want a world where only THEIR choice (Microsoft) of computer OS exists. They are sick egoists who can’t stand to see anyone else “winning”. Every “win” for Apple is a “lose” for them so they strike back every day with ugly comments in tech sites. The world is full of sick people like this.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re:

Aside from the fact that this is a patent issue, not a copyright issue, and the DMCA does not apply here, which several people have already pointed out, it’s worth noting that yes, your analysis of the DMCA is absolutely correct, and it’s absolutely despicable.

The 5th and 14th amendments state that you can’t be punished for any crime without due process of law. But the DMCA provides a way to circumvent this by moving the punishment out of the realm of law entirely and into private hands.

Viewed objectively, this is quite bizarre. In any other context, a private party accusing and punishing others for breaking the law outside the legal system is known as vigilantism, and it’s highly illegal. Especially when the accuser and the vigilante are the same person, it tends to lead to excesses and all manner of abuses.

And that’s exactly what we see with the DMCA, time and time again. It’s legally and morally ridiculous, and needs to be repealed and reversed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Nah, the DMCA attempts to make resolving a violation as quick as it can happen – that is to try to make it less desirable to infringe, and more desirable to be legal. Otherwise, each online copyright violation would be like the Thomas or Tenenbaum cases, so convoluted and so long as to render copyright law moot.

As for this case, patent makes it somewhat worse, because the holder of the patent pretty much has everything on their side. if they did not license the technology, then the entire court fight hinges on something else. Apple once again has little choice but to side with the patent holder, to avoid any liability. Remember, in this case, Apple is defacto business partners with the “offending” party. It’s not in their interest to stay in that position, is it?

JarHead says:

Maybe there’s a silver lining in this, a lesson, that any kind of walled garden, how matter attractive and seemingly beneficial to human kind, must be shunned like a plague. It’s just another honey trap.

I don’t know and curious why SfY just develop for Apple platform. If there’s only Apple I can understand, but there’s an alternative. Is there an exclusive agreement somewhere that if you do Apple you can’t do anything else?

Another thing I’m curious about, are there no works out there on making emulators for these kind of “thingie”? No one interested on at least doing a cross-platform dev?

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

I’m not going to blast Apple here, though it’s ever so tempting.

That said we’re back to the companies that make this sort of software or software/hardware combinations having a fight over a patent rather than what’s best for this girl. Valid patent or not there’s something very immoral about what’s going on here. If the idea of all of this is to make it possible for children such as Maya to communicate then isn’t the main goal just that rather than battling over a bloody patent?

What’s more important here? Money or Maya? Sadly it’s money. It’s hard to swallow. The devices in question are completely different in that one runs on an iPad and the other runs on dedicated hardware. At least in that sense.

Isn’t the question here what’s best for AAC sufferers and not the patent battles between two or three companies?

Surely a solution can be found that doesn’t mean the end of something that’s been useful for (at least) one little girl so that all three companies can get on with the business of supporting, helping and opening new worlds for a child like Maya than patent lawsuits which may not be settled until she’s well into her twenties.

It’s disgusting. It was the first go round and it is this time, too.

Jeremy says:

Dont buy apple products, and this wont happen.

Seriously, your technology that you’ve paid for should be owned by you. The updates that go to it should be controlled by you. The software that you are allowed to use on it should be controlled BY YOU.

Don’t use apple until they abandon their walled-garden technology model.

/I still won’t use them because they sell fashion, not technology.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Already Infringing...

In short, it could easily cover the iPhone/iPad dynamic keyboard.

Perhaps PRC/SCS contacted Apple and said something along the lines of: “Look, this patent could cover your products. We don’t really want to sue you, but we could and make you spend a bunch of money to defend yourself. So instead, just shutdown this app (that is a legitimate threat to our overpriced business) and we won’t sue you.”

DogBreath says:

Re:

IF they really cared they would not charge 7,000$.. I mean really their machine is pointless in this age with current touchscreen technology…

Based on this alone, I can see the next big misused patent mantra now. Replace the patent phrase “on the internet” (which has been abused beyond absurdity), with “on a touchscreen”.

DannyB (profile) says:

Already Infringing...

I think it went more like this:

PRC/SCS: Hey Apple, we don’t want to sue you even though this patent could apply to some of your products.

Apple: Okay?

PRC/SCS: We could make you spend a bunch of money defending yourself needlessly.

Apple: So then, what do you want?

PRC/SCS: Just remove this one app from the app store in order to silence this little girl and others like her.

Apple: Okay, but that is the kind of thing we like to do anyway. No need to try to act threatening and intimidating.

All that is necessary for Apple to triumph is for Google men to do nothing.

JEDIDIAH says:

Walled Garden Problem

This entire situation is only an issue because of Apple’s walled garden and gatekeeper approach. If they allowed their end users a little more freedom, users impacted by this sort of nonsense could fend for themselves and take control of the situation.

The Apple approach means that you are forever at Apple’s mercy. You are also at the mercy of anyone that can make weak threats against Apple.

They will fold like a deck of cards and people will happily defend them for it.

JEDIDIAH says:

Fanboy's false dichotomy.

> What makes me sick is that there are arrogant
> hater low-life gamer creeps in the world who
> will use anything they can to discredit Apple
> and its products because they want a world where
> only THEIR choice (Microsoft) of computer OS exists.

What makes ME sick is someone that should know better about how it is to be the victim pining to become the perpetrator.

Trading the Microsoft monopoly for an even more restrictive Apple monopoly is not really progress.

It also galls me that you pretend that other alternatives don’t exist. You are what you are complaining about.

JEDIDIAH says:

Solution

Quite.

Consider the iPad that this app is on to be a permanent dedicated replacement for the $7000 device you can’t afford. Leave it alone. Don’t use it for anything else ever.

If you bought the iPad for other reasons, perhaps buy a replacement. Perhaps consider another brand of device (or not).

You’re still way ahead in terms of money either way.

terry says:

Mission Statement and Headline

It is my opinion that Prentke Romich Company and Semantic Compaction System should modify their company mission statement read more reflective of the companies actions and current direction:

“We Believe Everyone Deserves A (PRC/SCS TM, Prentke Romich Company and Semantic Compaction System (R), Copyright (C) All Rights Reserved, Patent# 5920303 Patented) Voice,”

The headline could have been “Apple Acts To Silence Children!”

I also believe it is our duty that we all need to speak up for those who can’t speak!

Ed C. says:

Re:

Nah, the DMCA attempts to make resolving a violation as quick as it can happen

Well, this blundering “attempt” at legislation is constantly used for censorship by illegitimate copyright claims. It doesn’t matter that the content can be contested and reposted, those wrongfully targeted rarely know the legal recourse or can afford to consult a lawyer. Even when they had every legal right to post the content in the first place, they often don’t repost out of fear of litigious ruination. And, in the very rare chance that someone does fire back with a lawful cease and desist, the wrongful accuser always gets off with a hand wave and insincere apology because the accused rarely has the money or incentive to take the abuser to court.

Also, copyright holders often don’t know is or is not a “violation”. They barely keep track of all of the legal licensees or account for other legal uses that must be considered. But if they have no real incentive to make a proper determination before firing off a notice, why bother? It’s like speeding, who’s to stop them if the speed limit is NEVER enforced?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

It is already happening, a Google Plus user and Android developer has taken the task in his own hands.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/110987122726818254657/posts/j6cp7TupPGi

He’s asking for help, if nothing else, share it.

You can also help by trending this hashtag: #MayasVoiceApp both on Twitter and on Google Plus.

He plans to make the app for Android, make it Open-Source and Public Domain.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re:

Idealized abstractions of children are much easier to love than a real child.

Maybe, but I think it is more selfish than that. I believe it is more an appeal for their child when they say “won’t someone think of the children” than someone else’s child. You’ll never hear me say it, because I don’t have children. And usually the only people who I do hear it from is the self-obsessed soccer moms and the politicians that pander to them.

Things should be done to protect *all* children. In this case, Maya is a child that deserves just as much protection as everyone elses’ children.

nasch (profile) says:

Temporary solution?

Next step toward a long-term solution would be to find a sympathetic developer(s) to work a port from iOS to Android and load onto a tablet that they own and fully control.

If the original developer isn’t interested, it’s difficult and not much fun to port something when you don’t have the source code. Not impossible, but you’d have a harder/more expensive time finding someone to do it.

DogBreath says:

The Patent is Bogus

I remember using the shareware version of Mindreader on a work PC back in the late 80’s, and I can recall it was exactly as you described it in your linked comments – prior art and all. The more I used MindReader, the more it geared itself to my style of writing. From what I recall, it became pretty good at guessing a word or phrase that I would be starting to type, and would put its “guesses” in a pop-up window that I could then chose from with one keypress. I think the shareware version I used would only let you open & save documents up to a limited size (maybe 8K or 16Kbytes ? – shareware restriction).

Just like you, I never really found a use for the “suggested word complete” function of it, but did find it useful on those rare occasions where the spelling of a word was in question. Of course, that didn’t help much when you had coworkers also using it, who would then add their misspelled words to Mindreaders auxiliary word list file. I wish I could forget how many times I had to undo that mess of editing that file.

raindog469 (profile) says:

There's actually a video

I’m surprised no one’s posted it yet… the video the Nieders posted of their daughter’s first time using this app, and how happy it made her:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JvQeBuRn5A

Take a good look, Prentke Romich. That’s the face that is going to drive you out of business.

Oh yeah, and Apple, you guys are weasels too, but hopefully someone has shown these people how to jailbreak their iPad and back up their app by now, so you’ll no longer matter.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Jailbreak?

I’m not an Apple user so I don’t know, but if they jailbreak a device the developers can sell them updates regardless of what Apple thinks, right?

I’ve never jailbroken an Apple, but all my Androids are rooted, and the principles are the same. The problems are several-fold:

1. Unlike Android, Apple may “un-jailbreak” or even brick jail-broken phones on future releases. Also, if they don’t use the update features from Apple, they will not be able to update to the latest version or install patches to fix problems.
2. You void the warrantee when you jailbreak the phone, so you get no support if something goes wrong. While some vendors will replace hardware broken phones regardless to whether they are running stock or not, many wont.
3. Jailbreaking/Rooting may be legal, or may not be. A judge ruled that jailbreaking Apple phones was perfectly legal, but other suits haven’t gone the same way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Ed, there are literally millions of DMCA notices sent every year, and maybe a few thousand of them are misdirected or of a malicious nature – and yes, Mike is very aggressive about reporting those exceptions.

Yet, on the other side of the coin, we have people here yelling that Megaupload had “significant non-infringing uses”, yet they can’t seem to point to more than an extremely small subset of users of the service.

I would say on that basis, DMCA is working out just fine. The error rate is small enough, the unintended consequences or the purely nasty applications of the law appear to be much smaller than a legit user base of a file locker. Not so bad, is it?

Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style says:

Jailbreak?

I’ve jailbroken several Apple devices, as my family originally purchased them and have had friends who’ve bought them too.

So I’d like to semi add on to your points if I may, ltlw0lf.

1. Apple won’t necessarily “un-jailbreak” phones on future releases, at least not intentionally and with the express purpose of unjailbreaking phones, but they will patch holes and problems that allow for easy jailbreaking. However, if you update your phone you essentially lose the jailbreak (to us Android users, this would be more familiarly referred to as receiving an OTA update and losing root). You can get it back, but it’s much tougher with iOS and as such you will have to wait til there is a jailbreak for your particular device (as some devices become incompatible due to being older or not receiving certain iOS updates and what have you). The nature of jailbreaks differ with there being tethered and untethered jailbreaks. (Not quite sure on the difference as that has become more commonplace recently and I’m an Android user myself and have quit jailbreaking iOS devices. But I believe tethered means you have to use your computer to jailbreak it and if you reboot your device you lose the jailbreak. Don’t quote me on that though, as I’m not 100% sure. And untethered I think means you jailbreak, using a computer or not, and you can reboot said device and still retain jailbroken status.)

As you stated, if you don’t use updates because you are jailbroken then a user will not be able to receive the latest iOS updates or patches/fixes to problems.

2. For iOS devices, the minute you jailbreak you void your warranty and no amount of complaining will get you anywhere. For Apple it’s simple, “You jailbreak, you lose warranty. Period.” As you said though, depending on where you bought the product sometimes the vendors will replace them, jailbroken or not. But more often than not they will simply say, “You voided your warranty. We can’t replace it. However, we will gladly sell you a new iOS device.”

3. Jailbreaking/Rooting IS legal, per DMCA exemptions. However, some manufacturers, Apple in particular, have tried to have it decided in court that such practices are illegal. Most court cases have determined jailbreaking/rooting is legal, but the practice insofar as how it affects your warranty status is up in the air. Sometimes they say that jailbroken/rooted devices should be and still are covered, other times they say otherwise.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Updates

Just don’t ever update the iPad.

Buy another one for the day-to-day family uses and have that be the one that gets system updates and whatnot. But leave the one with SfY on it alone.

As for remote wipes, turn off the wifi and disable the 3G and they can remote-wipe to their hearts content. If there’s no connection between that iPad and the internet, it won’t matter.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Morrally bankrupt

> I’m surprised little Maya’s parents
> didn’t just sue the company for First
> Amendment violations. After all, Maya
> is being allwoed to express herself.

There are no 1st Amendment violations here. The Constitution only protects against censorship BY THE GOVERNMENT. It has zero application to conduct between private individuals/businesses.

Honestly, has no one ever taken a basic Civics class? It’s depressing how many people seem to have no clue about the Constitution and the basic functions of government.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

As for this case, patent makes it somewhat worse

Oh, so now it’s all about patents? What happened to your assertions that this was all about copyright?

Apple once again has little choice but to side with the patent holder, to avoid any liability.

Bullshit. Again, a lawsuit has been filed, but there is no injunction. If the assholes who field the suit thought Apple was at all liable, they would have included Apple in the suit. The simple fact that they haven’t shows one of two things:

1) they know their patents are bogus.

2) they know that if they sued Apple that Apple would bury them in court.

Either way, Apple has nothing to worry about, and should not have pulled the app without a court order.

Ed C. says:

Re:

millions of DMCA notices sent every year, and maybe a few thousand of them are misdirected or of a malicious nature.

And what are you basing that on, the number of counter-notices filed each year? You’re merely assuming that the majority without counter-notices were all legal and correct, that it doesn’t have anything at all to do with the fact that most people have never heard of the DMCA before receiving a notice and had absolutely no idea how to respond. Your also assuming that all of those notices were sent by people who fully understood the law and when it’s proper and legal to file one. If I had to guess, I say that the majority were sent by bots without any human supervision at all, that the majority were sent without any legal consideration of a knowledgeable person.

Sorry, but no, you don’t know how many notices were of a “misdirected or of a malicious nature”.

Megaupload had “significant non-infringing uses”, yet they can’t seem to point to more than an extremely small subset of users of the service.

And what, your assuming that the majority who weren’t ignorant enough to entrust a file sharing site with their files were all guilty of copyright infringement? I’d say that most people don’t really trust them either because they are too ignorant to understand how they work, or have been around long enough to know that web services come and go all of the time and none can be completely trusted.

I would say on that basis, DMCA is working out just fine. The error rate is small enough, the unintended consequences or the purely nasty applications of the law appear to be much smaller than a legit user base of a file locker. Not so bad, is it?

From a basis grounded on a number you really don’t know and flimsy assumptions? I’d think not.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Jailbreak?

So I’d like to semi add on to your points if I may, ltlw0lf.

I always appreciate it. And since my experience with jailbreaking Apple is limited to friends and family, since all I have is Android, I am not always aware of the subtle points.

For iOS devices, the minute you jailbreak you void your warranty and no amount of complaining will get you anywhere.

Which is sad. When my rooted phone had difficulties, I was really concerned as it was hardware difficulties and not related to the software. It turned out to be a simple fix, but I talked to the vendor and they told me they had no problem with me returning my rooted phone to them for support. If it turned out to be a hardware problem (and one that a simple battery replacement fixed, in my case,) then they would gladly replace it. However, for software, I was SOL, which I knew going in. I appreciated it, and from that point on I swore I’d only deal with these guys in the future.

Jailbreaking/Rooting IS legal, per DMCA exemptions.

Well, with mobile devices. But don’t you dare jailbreak your XBOX 360…

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

See patents make the world a better place.
It spurs innovation, a $300 app replacing an $8000 machine.
It spurs commerce, paying lawyers to destroy the offending company so you can swoop in and take it all.
It spurs a really sick feeling in your stomach to know that at least 1 little girl is going to be silenced by a company that refuses to move forward with the times, but uses the law to maintain their relevance and crush any new ideas.

From now on everytime some talking head babbles on about how patents are so awesome and need special laws, just ask them what would Maya say… oh thats right she can’t say anything because patents took away the voice she used.

Rekrul says:

Re:

What makes me sick is that there are arrogant hater low-life gamer creeps in the world who will use anything they can to discredit Apple and its products because they want a world where only THEIR choice (Microsoft) of computer OS exists. They are sick egoists who can’t stand to see anyone else “winning”. Every “win” for Apple is a “lose” for them so they strike back every day with ugly comments in tech sites.

It’s not about Apple, it’s about the fact that no company should have the right to remotely delete something that you paid for off a device that you supposedly own. Devices like this should not have back doors that can be used to change them without the owner’s consent. That’s a really slimy practice, no matter what company does it.

Just One Voice says:

Re:

It’s not about Apple, it’s about the fact that no company should have the right to remotely delete something that you paid for off a device that you supposedly own.

I believe that prior to tort reform, the law usually sided with the consumer that was put at risk of losing some use of an item that they purchased legitimately, placing the burdon on a business to remedy whatever legal issues it may have had so that the public at large was, in general, protected.(in a nutshell) In this case, there is a company who has clearly suggested its agenda does not align with its mission statement, “We Believe Everyone Deserves A Voice,” and another company that has the power to do what’s right, who is also one of the richest companies on Earth, Apple. Apple’s world-wide appeal will resemble one more of a cult than an actual worthy company if they don’t step it up for the people on this one. They will lose a lot of support from a lot of other companies as well, who would rather do the right thing for the people rather than take up sides for a company that clearly violates its own mission statement, who falsely represents itself as a company genuinely concerned with the real voice of even a single human being, and in this case a four year old girl communicating with her family.

These decisions will ultimately reign down from the top. It will hopefully prove that there still exist some element of humanity at work in the corporate world, but I for one am not holding my breath.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

The Patent is Bogus (to DogBreath, #87)

I had the shareware version, but what I was doing was using it to type a couple of hundred words, save those as a file, and import the file into WordStar, v. 5. I could edit easily enough with my one good hand– my problem was with typing.

I had managed to break my right arm at the wrist (both radius and ulna, I believe it’s called a “colles fracture”), and when the surgeons put me back together again, they did so by drilling steel pins into the bones, the pins extending out through the skill, and being clamped into a sort of rack-and-pinion arrangement, an Agee Wrist-Jack. I lived with the thing for ten weeks, being my own zombie, so to speak. When they finally took it out, the Orthopedics resident asked if I wanted it as a souvenir. I shuddered slightly, and said “give it to the deserving poor!” He didn’t catch the Wodehouse-ian reference, but he said there was a program in place to donate used medical gear to third-world hospitals, and we could send them the Wrist-Jack if I liked. That sounded like a wonderful idea!

btr1701 (profile) says:

Morrally bankrupt

> Patent law was introduced by the government, the
> courts that enforce it are part of the government.
> Therfore it is the government that is responsible.

That’s idiotic. That’s like saying if you’re on my front lawn heckling me and my family, that it’s a constitutional violation if I call the cops and have you arrested for trespassing, because the government passed trespassing laws.

Nothing in the 200+ years of 1st Amendment jurisprudence supports such an absurd notion.

Angus Scott-Fleming says:

Android alternatives not encumbered by patents?

I wonder if this Android app set would help:

TalkBack, Kickback, and SoundBack are apps for the Android Accessibility Service to help blind and vision-impaired users use their devices more easily.

These apps add spoken, audible, and vibration functionality services to your device. They are system applications that were pre-installed on most device and are updated when the accessibility service is improved.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.marvin.talkback&hl=en

Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style says:

Jailbreak?

Oh, wasn’t aware of that. My brother has AT&T and they’ve said otherwise. Same thing with all the people I work with. Company gets everyone iPhones (with the handful of guys, only 2 others not counting myself, who prefer to just not have a company phone and rather use our own person Android phones).

Thanks for sharing that though, I’ll be sure to mention it to my brother and my coworkers.

Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style says:

Jailbreak?

“I always appreciate it. And since my experience with jailbreaking Apple is limited to friends and family, since all I have is Android, I am not always aware of the subtle points.”

I’m in the same boat as you. My experience is more with Android devices, but I have had some experience along the same lines (family, friends and coworkers) in regards to iPhones. However, since my boss is an Apple fan and my brother has been a diehard iPhone fan since it first came out, I’m kept up to date and aware of things regarding it.

“Which is sad. When my rooted phone had difficulties, I was really concerned as it was hardware difficulties and not related to the software. It turned out to be a simple fix, but I talked to the vendor and they told me they had no problem with me returning my rooted phone to them for support. If it turned out to be a hardware problem (and one that a simple battery replacement fixed, in my case,) then they would gladly replace it. However, for software, I was SOL, which I knew going in. I appreciated it, and from that point on I swore I’d only deal with these guys in the future.”

Yeah, just fyi, for future reference, the current rumor is that Samsung is now voiding warranties on any rooted devices. Even on devices that have known high failure rates pertaining to hardware issues. Which in my opinion, to put bluntly, is a majorly dick move. It’s a way for them to get out of fixing their mistakes, but that’s how things are. And I say that as a Samsung fan who has gone root and ROM flashing crazy on his Nexus S 4G (and was considering, and still is to some degree, upgrading to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus soon).

That is correct though, when you’re rooted, any software issues that arise you are indeed SOL, but we all know that going in. Honestly, every manufacturer for Android has their pros and cons, so it comes down to personal preference. For the time being I’m sticking with my Nexus S 4G and keeping an eye out for what hopefully comes from Google pretty soon. (Which is their Nexus line up that is supposedly going to consist of a different Nexus device from at least 5 manufacturers. Which is great, the Nexus line so far has been amazing and there’s nothing wrong with having more choices for it, and less manufacturer/carrier bloatware. Pure Google experience is why I chose the Nexus S.)

“Well, with mobile devices. But don’t you dare jailbreak your XBOX 360…”

Indeed. The DMCA exemption CURRENTLY only applies to cell phones. But give it time and gaming consoles may eventually fall under it as well. That’s part of the reason Sony didn’t want to go to court (or Microsoft for that matter) regarding jailbreaking PS3s (or Xbox 360s) a year or two back. They kind of forced the people who were being accused/charged with doing such stuff to settle. Reason being they knew if they risked taking it to court and they lost a precedent would be set and not necessarily one in their favor. Here’s hoping though that eventually someone calls their bluff and takes it to court. I’d prefer a win for our side (people who like hacking their devices and do so knowing full well the consequences of such actions), but I’d like to see someone just say, “F*ck you, it’s my device to do with as I please and I’ll go to court to try and argue that point.”

Frankly, it disgust me where we’re at. We’re at a point where we’re being told constantly what we can or can’t do with what we own. While I understand some of that reasoning and respect some of it to an extant, some of it is a bit much and certainly a slap in the face as a consumer.

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