July 26th, 2010 – the day that iOS jailbreaking/unlocking and Android rooting became officially legal thanks to EFF ( Electronic Frontier Foundation ). This year, EFF is asking the U.S. Copyright Office to renew that exemption (otherwise it will expire) and expand it to cover tablets. We’re also asking for a new exemption to allow jailbreaking of video game consoles.
Modifying a device to run independent software – known as jailbreaking – is important to programmers, enthusiasts, and users. But jailbreaking creates legal uncertainty. Some device manufacturers claim that jailbreaking violates Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which carries stiff penalties.
EFF is asking the U.S. Copyright Office to declare that jailbreaking does not violate the DMCA, and they need our help.
The Copyright Office needs to hear from people who depend on the ability to jailbreak to write, use, and/or tinker with independent software (from useful apps to essential security fixes) for smartphones, tablets, and game consoles. You can submit comments online at this link.
Here are some questions you might want to address in your comments:
- Which jailbreaking exemption are you supporting—smartphones/tablets, video game consoles, or both?
- What’s your background (i.e., are you a developer, hobbyist, academic, independent researcher, user, etc.)?
- What device do you want to ensure you have the legal authority to jailbreak?
- Please explain why you want to jailbreak this device. What limitations do you face if you aren’t able to jailbreak it? Is there software you couldn’t run, computing capabilities you wouldn’t have, cool things you couldn’t do, etc.?
- If you’re a developer, did an online application store or console manufacturer reject your app or game? If so, what reasons did they give?
- Is there anything else you want to tell the Copyright Office?
Concrete examples will help show the Copyright Office why they should renew and expand the exemptions for jailbreaking. Send your comments to the Copyright Office at http://www.copyright.gov/1201/comment-forms/.
For more info, read EFF…