Library of Congress adds iPhone, iPad Jailbreaking exception to DMCA

Did the Library of Congress just add a DCMA exception for Jailbreaking? Why yes they did:

Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.

Engagdet lays out what it means and -- more importantly -- what it doesn't:

you should know that this in no way requires Apple to jailbreak your phone for you, or lay down its arms in this ongoing fight. Basically, they just can't sue you for the specific act of breaking their protections, but there's nothing stopping from putting those protections in there in the first place, or for suing you for an infringement not covered in this exception -- like using Apple code in a non-Apple-approved way, or installing illegal software. Not that any of you jailbreakers would ever do that.

Rooting Android is also covered, and both firmware and software are now in the language.

Head on over to our Jailbreak Forum for more.


Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Library of Congress adds iPhone, iPad Jailbreaking exception to DMCA


Most likely they still won't honor the warranty. But maybe someday after a few lawsuits it will take effect and will at least cover any hardware problems, but I'm sure Apple will be as tough as nails on it.

Warranty is generally a matter of agreement between the parties, so Apple will likely continue to consider jailbreaking to be an act that voids your warranty.

They're not really stopping you from doing it. You enter into an agreement when you buy the phone that it voids your warranty if you do decide to jailbreak...whether or not you decide to continue the jailbreak after that is completely up to you, but you know what to expect.

Wasn't it legal to jailbeak before? I known there was some contoversy about it but I always assumed....

Yes, it always was legal to jailbreak. The controversy was due to Apple claiming it was illegal, though without ever actually pursuing a case. Presumably, they kept crying "illegal" without going after any number of public jailbreakers because they did not want this exception to be explicitly codified.
Apple still does not have to like or support jailbreakers; they just can no longer rattle any criminal sabers at them. Users, for their part, always could jailbreak legally, but now any question of criminality has been resolved in their favor. Users can do what they want with their legally purchased hardware, as long as they are willing to accept the technical consequences. As it should be.