Jailbreaking iPhones is Legal Under DMCA but Jailbreaking iPads is Not
According to the folks over at ArsTechnica
, the latest round of exemptions added to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) may prove to be problematic for iOS owners who unlock or jailbreak their device. For those of you, who don’t know, signed into law in 1998, the DMCA bans the production and dissemination of technology designed to circumvent digital rights management systems. The broad-based law gives the Librarian of Congress to power to add exemptions to the law every three years. The latest rounds of exemptions were announced this past week and will go into effect on October 28.
Among the exemptions is one that lets users jailbreak their smartphones but not their tablets. This Librarian decided not to include tablets because they felt the “tablet” category of devices was not well-defined and could include devices ranging from e-readers, to iPads, and even tablet PCs. Unfortunately, news like this won’t bode well with the jailbreak community which releases tools that work with both the iPhone and iPad.
This time around, the Librarian also decided to revoke the exemption allowing customers to unlock their device and use them on a new carrier. The new provision also lets you unlock any smartphone purchased before January 2013 but any phone purchased after this date can only be unlocked with the permission of the carrier. The Librarian also noted that carriers have policies that allow for unlocking and felt there was no compelling reason why customers should be allowed to unlock their phones themselves.
For people who are active in the jailbreak community, you probably won’t be thrilled to hear the news. We’ll have to see how this affects the community and what will happen going forward when the exemptions go into effect.