We had reported in January that jailbreaking your iPhone may become illegal if DMCA exemption, which was granted back in 2010, expires.
Just like last time, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has taken the lead and has asked the U.S. Copyright Office to declare that jailbreaking does not violate the DMCA.
Gizmodo interviewed EFF staff attorney Mitch Stoltz to talk about the legality of jailbreaking. Here are some excerpts from that interview:
Why is the debate over the legality of jailbreaking suddenly in the news again?
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act has an exemptions process. The Library of Congress every three years makes exemptions to the law. Those have to be renewed, so we’re coming up on the next cycle. In the last cycle, the EFF asked for an exemption so that you can jailbreak a smartphone that you own, to run your own software on it, so that wouldn’t be a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, section 1201.
The ultimate question here, then, is what kind of rights, if any, do the hardware manufacturers have over the hardware once it’s sold to you?
That’s a big question. They can have rights that come from contracts. Say you buy a smartphone from a carrier that says what you can and you can’t do with the phone. I don’t know if you want me to get into whether those sort of rights are a good thing or not, but if you look at the issue at hand it is exactly that. It gets into the rights of a hardware manufacturer and the owner of a piece of hardware, which are sort of negative rights. They aren’t stated necessarily in the law, but they’re things we all understand. We see comments that people have posted to the Copyright Office in support of our requests on jailbreaking, and over and over the analogy that they’re making is to a car — that to prevent jailbreaking is like welding the hood shut on a car or to legally prevent you from modifying a car that you own and that just strikes a lot of people as absurd.
You can read the entire interview on Gizmodo.
If you love jailbreaking then you can help by submitting comments on the U.S. Copyright Office website. EFF has also provided a list of questions on their website that you should address in the comments.
In addition to requesting iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users in the U.S. to send comments to Copyright Office to convince them to renew and expand the exemptions for jailbreaking to include tablets like iPad, EFF is also encouraging users to sign the petition at jailbreakingisnotacrime.org.