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Accused of selling jailbroken iPhones, a Japanese man has become the first to be charged with a “violation of trademark law” on Thursday.
Daisuke Ikeda of Toyama was arrested following accusations that he sold five jailbroken iPhones back in the spring, RocketNews24 said. The devices were allegedly jailbroken so that they would run a script that permits cheating at a game called Monster Strike.
For those who may not know, “jailbreaking” is the unlocking of iOS devices so that you can practically program them to do anything, like removing restrictions placed by Apple so that unapproved applications may be installed.
Many users are enticed to jailbreak their iPhones so they can customize more features. The term is parallel to “rooting” on Android devices.
Ikeda was specifically arrested under the Trademark Act because the iPhones he modified and sold still had Apple’s logo. Jailbreaking voids users of Apple’s warranty, and in his case, the items he sold can be considered counterfeit.
The investigation on Ikeda is reportedly the first in Japan, and netizens were surprised:
“When I first heard the news, I thought the guy was selling like 200 of them, but this seems kind of excessive.”
“I didn’t know jailbreaking a phone was a crime. I think it’s only natural for people to want to use the software of their choosing.”
“Huh? Trademark law? I could see if he was selling them under the premise that they were regular iPhones. But should people be allowed to modify the phones that they own? I’m not sure how I feel about this.”
Jailbreaking is technically legal. It became so in 2012 when the Library of Congress made an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, allowing the act to be executed on iPhones. Jailbreaking iPads was made legal much later, Gotta Be Mobile noted.