Every three years the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office reviews a 1998 law which is designed to prevent content from being copied, or used in ways by users that the licensees would not approve of. In other words laws that protect record companies from us, the evil users!
One of the ideas behind the review, however, is to allow the government to pass exemptions to this law which relax it in areas where it may actually infringe on people’s freedom. In effect to adapt it to take into account changes in technology and our culture as time goes on.
Today one of those exemptions was passed, and it clears the way for people to “jailbreak” their iPhone, and install any software they wish on them. I am forced to wonder what the excitement about this all is because everyone who wants to do this, does anyway.. already! But I presume heads wiser than mine are aware of the implications this all has for our freedom in the future.
In any case you can rest easy now if you were expecting Black Hawk helicopters to descend from the sky anytime you used your jail-broken iPhone.
Other exemptions that were passed are as follows..
- allow owners of used cell phones to break access controls on their phones in order to switch wireless carriers.
- allow people to break technical protections on video games to investigate or correct security flaws.
- allow college professors, film students and documentary filmmakers to break copy-protection measures on DVDs so they can embed clips for educational purposes, criticism, commentary and noncommercial videos.
- allow computer owners to bypass the need for external security devices called dongles if the dongle no longer works and cannot be replaced.
Does “jailbreaking” now not being “illegal” make you more likely to do it? Or does this law have no meaning for you?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments…