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EFF Files Request to Make Jailbreaking Legal for More Devices

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a request asking the U.S. Copyright Office to rule jailbreaking legal for an expanded array of devices.

In the exemption requests filed today, EFF asked the Copyright Office to protect the “jailbreaking” of smartphones, electronic tablets, and video Game consoles – liberating them to run operating systems and applications from any source, not just those approved by the manufacturer. EFF also asked for legal protections for artists and critics who use excerpts from DVDs or downloading services to create new, remixed works. These exemptions build on and expand exemptions that EFF won last year for jailbreakers and remix artists.

“The DMCA is supposed to block copyright infringement. But instead it can be misused to threaten creators, innovators, and consumers, discouraging them from making full and fair use of their own property,” said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. “Hobbyists and tinkerers who want to modify their phones or video Game consoles to run software programs of their choice deserve protection under the law. So do artists and critics who use short excerpts of video content to create new works of commentary and criticism. Copyright law shouldn’t be stifling such uses – it should be encouraging them.”

Only July 26th, 2010 it was announced that the Library of Congress deemed jailbreaking your iPhone in order to install applications not approved by Apple and/or to Unlock is legal. That ruling didn’t carry forward to other devices such as the PlayStation. Geohot a popular hacker who worked on jailbreaking and unlocking the iPhone was sued by Sony for jailbreaking the Sony Playstation 3. The company requested “injunctive relief and damages based on Defendants’ unlawful circumvention and distribution of circumvention devices in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act”. Geohot eventually settled with Sony; however, the case sparked a huge attack against the company by hackers and customers who believed they had a right to use the device they purchased, anyway they saw fit.

The Copyright Office will hold hearings on the proposed DMCA exemptions in the spring of 2012, with a final rulemaking order expected in October 2012.

Read More [via MacWorld]

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