US Government Opens Tech/Culture

Today’s ruling is bound to get a lot of buzz, but probably for the wrong reasons. According to new rules set forth by The Library of Congress (which oversees the Copyright Office), iPhone owners can now legally “jailbreak” their device and download software that Apple/AT&T disapproves of. That will get the headlines. But we shouldn’t lose sight of this: This far-reaching ruling goes well beyond the iPhone itself and also allows (among other things) “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.” (The quoted material comes from the AP, not the ruling itself). In short, these new guidelines give consumers greater latitude to decide how they want to use computers, gadgets and media they’ve purchased.  And they clear up some legal murkiness that has surrounded these issues, particularly within universities, for some time. A good day for government … and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which pushed for these protections.

PS Does this still mean that Apple can void your warranty if you jailbreak your iPhone? I’m not sure whether that goes away or not…



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  1. Brad Clarke says . . . | July 26, 2010 / 10:47 am

    You can get your auto warranty canceled for making certain modifications to your car, so I’d think Apple could still drop you if you jailbreak your phone.

  2. Alexis Madrigal says . . . | July 26, 2010 / 10:54 am

    It’s my understanding that this places no restrictions on what Apple can do to you. That’s gonna be a gnarly issue.

  3. Steven says . . . | July 26, 2010 / 12:42 pm

    What if you pay insurance for your phone? They can’t stop that because of they did that would no stealing.

  4. nikke says . . . | July 26, 2010 / 12:46 pm

    I work for CINGULAR/ATT. U can jailbreak all u want. But we have a fee for everything. We can attach a fee to everything u send to ya phone. We don’t have to warn of the fees because this feature is not part of our contract wit APPLE.

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