Is it legal to sell an unlocked iPhone on ebay?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Gryfon19, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. Gryfon19 macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2007
    I'm curious about this - the1st Gen phones that are listed on ebay as "unlocked" - is that legal? I feel like I could make an argument either way, but I'm wondering what other knows or experiences of selling an "unlocked" iPhone on ebay and whether there were any repercussions. Thanks.
  2. imaketouchtheme macrumors 65816

    Dec 5, 2007
    Whaaaa? APPLE sells unlocked iPhones to countries that do not allow phone locking.

    Like Belgium for example.

    Of course it's legal....
  3. KidStallyn macrumors 6502


    Mar 6, 2008
    And the 1st Gen Phones were not subsidized. We paid full price to do whatever we wanted to them, knowing that when they were PWNED we voided the warranty.
  4. goosnarrggh macrumors 68000

    May 16, 2006
    That's an interesting point... The DMCA exemption that allows non-Apple-sanctioned unlocks to proceed in the USA without violating the law only extends to circumvention for the sole purpose of connecting to a cellular network. It does not include circumvention for any other purpose, such as the purpose of resale. So even if the act of selling the phone were legal in itself, it might arguably place the seller in the position of having violated the DMCA by unlocking the iPhone in the first place.

    But Apple created and owns the intellectual property behind the iPhone. They automatically have full rights to choose to distribute it in any state they wish, locked or unlocked.

    The question here is probably more like this: if you've unlocked it without Apple's consent (thus creating a modified copy of a copyrighted work) do you have the right to resell it? As we've seen with the Psystar case, Apple's opinion is that you do not.

    You're totally in the clear, for example, to annotate a book for your own personal use, but if you try to resell it without erasing the annotations, you'd technically be violating copyright. A company that took popular DVDs and deleted violent or sexually explicit scenes, was found to be violating copyright law.

    Now, if you have an iPhone that has been unlocked through Apple-authorized channels, I don't think there would be any problem in reselling it.

    And with the 3G iPhone, in the USA, if you keep it for over 30 days you own it too. Sure, you still have to pay back AT&T's subsidy by making regular payments for 2 years or else paying the ETF... But after that detail is taken care of, you own the iPhone 3G outright exactly the same as you would have with the first generation iPhone.

    If you choose to resell it (ignoring all other things such as unlocking for the moment), that's just fine... so long as you keep your account with AT&T (eg by switching back to your old phone) or pay the ETF.

    If you choose to unlock it (ignoring all other things such as warranty and reselling it for the moment), that's just fine too (under the DMCA)... so long as you keep your account with AT&T or pay the ETF.
  5. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007

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