Windows Phone 7 unlockers hit back against piracy claims

Just hours after releasing the first ''unlocking'' tool for Windows Phone 7 devices, Microsoft enthusiasts Rafael Rivera, Long Zheng and Chris Walsh have been forced to defend their work against claims it will encourage app piracy.

Blog MobileTechWorld led the charge against the ChevronWP7 tool, which allows users to side load applications that aren’t allowed in the Marketplace due to the use of private APIs. Prior to the release of ChevronWP7, only developers who paid a $99 annual fee to Microsoft were able to side load apps.

MobileTechWorld writer Makran Daou claimed the tool ''looks like the beginning of a big mess'', and said Microsoft is able to detect and permanently ban any Windows Phone 7 unlocked using ChevronWP7.

''Re-locking it afterwards won’t help you if you Device ID is blacklisted,'' he said.

He added that in conjunction with a previously reported loophole that allows any user to download the source code of a range of apps from the Marketplace, ChevronWP7 had created ''piracy heaven''.

''It’s up to you to decide if you want to unlock your device this way at the risk of being blocked by MS (if they decide to take this route) but I won’t be surprised to see a WP7 update in the near future “fix” this potential security hole,'' he said.

Windows Phone 7 developer Michael Crump put his concerns more succinctly, tweeting that ''It sucks that most people will be using the ChevronWP7 for piracy. They could care less about developing apps.''

Long Zheng first hit back in the comments section of a Neowin article earlier today, stating that claims ChevronWP7 would ''cripple'' a user's Marketplace access were ''not true''. In an email to Neowin shortly after, the ChevronWP7 team argued that there was ''no evidence'' to suggest using their tool would result in a ban from the Marketplace or Xbox Live services.

''Our process does not modify any operating system files on the device and only enables functionality that Microsoft designed itself to sideload applications for the purpose of development,'' a team representative said.

The team has also posted a blog entry outlining their stance on piracy. According to the entry, ChevronWP7 was in no way intended to encourage piracy.

''We will not help or support efforts to pirate WP7 applications. Our intention is to enable and create WP7 homebrew applications that cannot be submitted to the Marketplace in the first place,'' the site reads.

Both the team representative and the blog post stressed that all Windows Phone 7 applications are protected against piracy and the ChevronWP7 tool does not impact on those protections.

''Unlocking the phone does not affect the ability to purchase, download or run applications through the Marketplace. Furthermore, unlocking doesn't circumvent the inherent piracy protection in applications published to the Marketplace,'' the representative said.

It has also been noted that ChevronWP7 is not an unlocker in the same vein as the ultrasn0w tool for iOS. ChevronWP7 does not allow a Windows Phone to be used on other mobile networks, and only allows for the side loading of apps.

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29 Comments

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A lot of devs who have paid the $100/year fee have been using Chevron because the identification process is slow, and they need to deploy there apps now. By most it wont be used for piracy, for others off course it will which is a shame.

encourage app piracy
-------------
?

That's such a weak argument. Guns encourage violence yet gun makers are free to make them. Alcohol encourage bad behaviours. Etc ...

People are free to do what they want. If they do something illegal with a tool that is legal then the creator of this tool should not be liable.

Reaction to Iphone getting unlocked: Woo! We can change settings and run apps that wouldn't previously have been possible.

Reaction to Android getting rooted: Woo! We can change settings and run apps that wouldn't previously have been possible.

Reaction to Windows phone getting unlocked: Oh noes, everyone is going to pirate everything?

Doesn't seem to add up to me, last i checked both the iphone and android phones have been being rooted for a few years now and as far as i can tell piracy has yet to kill or even damage either phones app stores? Why's it so different for the windows phone? Am i missing somthing o.0

---He added that in conjunction with a previously reported loophole that allows any user to download the source code of a range of apps from the Marketplace, ChevronWP7 had created ''piracy heaven''.---

Ok, this part is pure crap. Non-obfuscated code in .NET is no different than non-obfuscated code in many other development platforms, like for example JAVA on Android.

If any 'serious' developer is putting Apps on the marketplace without protecting the code, it is their fault as the tools and methods are there and provided freely.

I can't believe that anyone that protests to understand topics like this, would have less understanding than a novice Googling the issue.

Until Microsoft sort out the unlocking process for the likes of DreamSpark users it's hard to by sympathetic.

Piracy is a mindset, people are either genuine customers or pirates - tools and unlocking doesn't make pirates, if folk aren't going to pay for stuff they won't.

Karucifer said,
Until Microsoft sort out the unlocking process for the likes of DreamSpark users it's hard to by sympathetic.

Piracy is a mindset, people are either genuine customers or pirates - tools and unlocking doesn't make pirates, if folk aren't going to pay for stuff they won't.

This!

Windows Phone 7 is aimed more at the average Joe (in terms of the marketing push anyway) - you know the type of person that would not attempt anything like this, so you have a small % of Windows phone 7 owners that would perfrom any mods - then you have an even smaller number of that group that will use it to circumvent paying for things. But, and this is a big BUT, those people probably wouldnt have bought things in the first place!

I have a windows phone 7 and have not paid for a single app yet, I run trials and test things out but havent seen anything yet that I would pay the asking price for (some games are tempting, but are too expensive IMO). Now I wont pirate the apps, but I'm also not paying for them - if someone else like me didn't have the same moral compass then then probably would do - but has anyone lost money? NO! because they were not going to pay for it in the first place AND its not a physical object that costs to produce, its a license and a 'potential' lost sale - the important word here is POTENTIAL!

"Windows Phone 7 developer Michael Crump put his concerns more succinctly, tweeting that ''It sucks that most people will be using the ChevronWP7 for piracy. They could care less about developing apps.''"

Its couldn't care less, not could care less - if you could care less that implies that you do care! David explains this better

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om7O0MFkmpw

duddit2 said,
"Windows Phone 7 developer Michael Crump put his concerns more succinctly, tweeting that ''It sucks that most people will be using the ChevronWP7 for piracy. They could care less about developing apps.''"

Its couldn't care less, not could care less - if you could care less that implies that you do care! David explains this better

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om7O0MFkmpw

You're correcting a quote from someone off-site. We do not correct grammar in something someone else said.

GreyWolf said,

You're correcting a quote from someone off-site. We do not correct grammar in something someone else said.

Yeah I'm aware of that, just a pet hate of mine and I just cant resist the urge to correct it publicly, sorry

Pretty naive to think it wont be used for piracy, but piracy as always is a minority of the user base. If piracy was such a dibilitating issue there'd be no such thing as pc games anymore and most developers would be developing for the PS3.

PeterTHX said,
Um, the PC gaming market *is* crippled and many developers have gone to consoles because they're harder to pirate for.

Exactly. One of the reasons so many developers have gone to XBox Arcade development instead.

I'm going to be getting my phone dev unlocked this weekend (official channel), and from what I've seen, it is completely possible that MS could ban devices with this hack. When you get a dev unlock, you register your phone with MS as a dev phone, it would not be terribly hard to assume that MS could have their phones check to see if they are dev unlocked, and the to see if they are supposed to be dev unlocked

"the ChevronWP7 team argued that there was ''no evidence'' to suggest using their tool would result in a ban from the Marketplace or Xbox Live services"

I don't think there was any "evidence" of the detection of hacked 360 firmwares until the wave came down either...

GreyWolf said,
"the ChevronWP7 team argued that there was ''no evidence'' to suggest using their tool would result in a ban from the Marketplace or Xbox Live services"

I don't think there was any "evidence" of the detection of hacked 360 firmwares until the wave came down either...

Yeah, I agree. Nor do I honestly see the point in using an unlocker as an app developer when you can get this by paying the app developer fee (Which also allows you to publish to the marketplace, etc.). Silly.

GreyWolf said,
"the ChevronWP7 team argued that there was ''no evidence'' to suggest using their tool would result in a ban from the Marketplace or Xbox Live services"

I don't think there was any "evidence" of the detection of hacked 360 firmwares until the wave came down either...

I don't know what will come of this in the future, but I certainly hope it doesn't open the floodgates for evil-doers.

GreyWolf said,
I don't think there was any "evidence" of the detection of hacked 360 firmwares until the wave came down either...

The hacked XBOX 360s had either hardware or software modifications to the operating system.

Long said,

The hacked XBOX 360s had either hardware or software modifications to the operating system.

And WP7, since the ability to sideload apps is an annual fee, clearly has something built into the OS to see if you are paid up... LOL I think people are kidding themselves if they think Microsoft can't tell...

Cat and mouse game.
1. Hackers find way to bypass piracy detection
2. Microsoft adds new detection methods
3. Some people get banned
4. Repeat from step 1

nub said,
Cat and mouse game.
1. Hackers find way to bypass piracy detection
2. Microsoft adds new detection methods
3. Some people get banned
4. Repeat from step 1

Certainly, but this tool does not in itself enable piracy.

Long said,

The hacked XBOX 360s had either hardware or software modifications to the operating system.

It's done by modifying the drive firmware.

GreyWolf said,

It's done by modifying the drive firmware.

Actually the XBox 360 drive firmware mod was there only to allow an individual to play backups. You can't run unsigned code until you jtag the system and they closed that loop hole starting in the 8xxx builds. There has yet to be a new exploit to allow jtagging newer systems.