We have only 6 days left to help keep the jailbreaking exemption to the U.S. DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) alive and well, and we need everyone’s help to do it. The jailbreaking exemption was granted by the Library of Congress in 2010 but not codified into the law, meaning it’s set to expire now, unless the copyright office extends it.
If the jailbreak exemption is not extended, then modifying your iPhone or iPad could be considered a violation of the DMCA, and companies could theoretically sue or press charges against jailbreakers. We think the right to modify our phones for personal use, provided we take personal responsibility for the risks involved, is an important one and deserves protection. The EFF (Electronic Frontier Fund) thinks the same, which is why they’re fighting to get the exemption renewed, and are also pushing for tablets and game consoles in general to be included as well. iFixit.org recently spoke to the EFF about where things stand now:
iFixit: Has the Copyright Office made any comments on jailbreaking since the 2010 smartphone exemption? How likely do you think it is that they’ll renew that exemption? Why have exemptions for smartphones but not game consoles and tablets?
EFF: The CO hasn’t made any public comments that we are aware of. We are very hopeful that the smartphone exemption will be renewed, and we think extending it to game consoles and tablets is the logical next step.
bunnie: My understanding is that the CO is fairly conservative about granting such exemptions, so tightly scoping the exemption request increases the chances that the result has real impact. A broad request to exempt large swathes of technology from the DMCA would likely be denied; and such a denial would waste the infrequent window of opportunity to have such requests examined. Therefore, an incremental approach is being taken, allowing the CO to try small changes and become comfortable with them. Note that the request to the CO splits smartphone/tablets and game consoles into separate categories, so that the CO can have the flexibility to reject or accept individual categories.
The interview goes on to discuss the impact the DMCA has had on modifying gaming consoles and the rest of the jailbreak and homebrew communities. Sony, for example, infamously sued well-known iPhone jailbreaker George Hotz, aka Geohot when he jailbroke the Sony Playstation 3.
You can hit the link below to read the whole interview. We also urge you to sign bunnie’s petition and leave your own comments if you’d like to see the exception renewed. He plans to take all the signatures and comments to the Copyright office on February 10th at 5pm.
Remember, there are only 6 days left. Whether you jailbreak or not, if the legal right to jailbreak your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad is important to you, act now.