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Jailbreaking In Danger of Becoming Illegal, See What You Can Do To Keep It Legal

Back in July 2010, The government of the United States has ruled that acts of jailbreaking and unlocking of iPhones as well as Android devices is not in violation of the Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This is provided that the process is not done in order to circumvent any copyright. And now it seems that jailbreaking is in danger of becoming an illegal act but you can do your part to help and make sure that doesn't happen.

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is currently running a campaign to ensure that jailbreaking smartphones and tablets stays to be a legal act. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you should know the importance of jailbreaking to programmers, enthusiasts and users. But the act itself presents legal uncertainties which creates possible loopholes that will allow manufacturers to gain an upper hand and use it against consumers. There are many device manufacturers out there that are claiming that jailbreaking is in violation of the DMCA.

EFF is in the process of asking the U.S. Copyright Office to declare that jailbreaking does not violate the DMCA but they will be needing OUR help. EFF is asking the U.S. Copyright Office to renew the exemption that was given to jailbreaking back in 2010 otherwise it will expire. The exemption will also be expanded into tablet devices and if possible, the new exemption will also allow jailbreaking of video game consoles.

EFF details how you can help:

How You Can Help – The Copyright Office needs to hear from people who depend on the ability to jailbreak to write, use, and/or tinker with independent software (from useful apps to essential security fixes) for smartphones, tablets, and game consoles. You can submit comments online at this link.

Here are some questions you might want to address in your comments:

  • Which jailbreaking exemption are you supporting—smartphones/tablets, video game consoles, or both?
  • What's your background (i.e., are you a developer, hobbyist, academic, independent researcher, user, etc.)?
  • What device do you want to ensure you have the legal authority to jailbreak?
  • Please explain why you want to jailbreak this device. What limitations do you face if you aren't able to jailbreak it? Is there software you couldn't run, computing capabilities you wouldn't have, cool things you couldn’t do, etc.?
  • If you’re a developer, did an online application store or console manufacturer reject your app or game? If so, what reasons did they give?
  • Is there anything else you want to tell the Copyright Office?

Concrete examples will help show the Copyright Office why they should renew and expand the exemptions for jailbreaking. Send your comments to the Copyright Office at Where the form says “Comment number(s) of proposed classes of works to which you are responding,” enter a “3” if you’re writing about game consoles or a “5” if you’re writing about smartphones or tablets.

Comments are due until February 10 at 5 PM Eastern Time. EFF also recommends that after sending your comments to the Copyright Office, you should also send your comments to this email address: So as a part of the jailbreak community, we encourage everyone to send in their comments and help make sure that jailbreaking is legal. [via ModMyi]

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