Continuing its fight to keep jailbreaking legal, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a petition with the Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office to extend the exemption for jailbreaking under DMCA.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a US law that intends to protect copyrighted content, and criminalises methods that circumvent the protections put in place to protect copyrighted content. Because software used in iPhones and iPads is copyrighted, attempts to jailbreak it get classified as a crime as per this law, unless an exemption for it is obtained.
Every three years, the Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office meet and decide on these exemptions afresh. The EFF has successfully obtained exemptions for jailbreaking under DMCA in 2010 and 2012, and it has filed for an exemption this year as well:
This week, EFF has filed a petitionwith the Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office to extend and expand the exemption that allows you to “jailbreak” your phone from those restrictions, without running afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Thanks to the frustrating way DMCA exemptions are considered, groups like EFF have to return to the Copyright Office and Librarian of Congress every three years and argue the case anew. This is an unnecessary drain on the public—after all, it’s not like the arguments against jailbreaking have gotten any better—but we hope to use the opportunity to renew the rule for phones and expand it to tablets as well.
Even though jailbreaking is legal, and hopefully will continue to be legal, Apple considers unauthorized modification of iOS a violation of the iPhone end-user license agreement and because of this, Apple can deny service for an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that has installed any unauthorized software.