iPhone users who jailbreak their phone to allow unauthorised applications to be installed on the mobile phone are breaking copyright laws according to Apple.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a freedom-of-speech advocacy organization, this is the first public statement from Apple about its legal position on "jailbreaking".

Apple in comments filed with the Copyright Office says "Jailbreaking an iPhone constitutes copyright infringement and a DMCA violation".

"Jailbreaking" is the term used for removing restrictions that only allow you to install software downloaded from the App Store on the phone.

Jailbreaking an iPhone breaks the law, Apple said, because the process relies on pirated copies of the bootloader and operating system.

Fred von Lohmann, blasted Apple on the EEF website:

"Apple justifies [its position] by claiming that opening the iPhone to independently created applications will compromise safety, security, reliability and swing the doors wide for those who want to run pirated software", said Lohmann.

"If this sounds like FUD, that's because it is. One need only transpose Apple's arguments to the world of automobiles to recognize their absurdity", he says. "Sure, GM might tell us that, for our own safety, all servicing should be done by an authorized GM dealer using only genuine GM parts. Toyota might say that swapping your engine could reduce the reliability of your car. And Mazda could say that those who throw a supercharger on their Miatas frequently exceed the legal speed limit. But we'd never accept this corporate paternalism as a justification for welding every car hood shut and imposing legal liability on car buffs tinkering in their garages".