DMCA rules it's okay to jailbreak your iPhone, but not your iPad

The DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) has extended the exception that makes it legal to jailbreak your iPhone which will be good news for most of the jailbreak community. It doesn't come without a few hefty caveats though including new rules on unlocking and the fact that tablets, namely the iPad, are not granted the same exception.

The DMCA has recently renewed their exception to make jailbreaking your iPhone legal but it doesn't come without some serious drawbacks this time around. When it comes to unlocking your iPhone, it won't be covered under the exception unless the actual carrier unlocks it for you.

This basically means that any iPhone (or smartphone at all for that matter) that you purchase as of January 2013 will require you to get the carrier's permission in order to unlock it. Software unlocks such as ultrasn0w will be considered illegal. If you've got a smartphone that you've purchased before January 2013, you'll still be covered under the exception but any smartphone purchases made after that date won't receive the benefits of the old exemption.

When it comes to tablets, the DMCA has decided not to grant the same jailbreak exception.

What about tablets? No dice. The Librarian "found significant merit to the opposition’s concerns that this aspect of the proposed class was broad and ill-defined, as a wide range of devices might be considered 'tablets,' notwithstanding the significant distinctions among them in terms of the way they operate, their intended purposes, and the nature of the applications they can accommodate. For example, an e-book reading device might be considered a 'tablet,' as might a handheld video game device or a laptop computer."The Librarian ruled that "the record lacked a sufficient basis to develop an appropriate definition for the 'tablet' category of devices, a necessary predicate to extending the exemption beyond smartphones."

The exception goes on to talk about laws on DVDs and other types of media such as eBooks as well. If you care to find out everything the exemption, hit the source link below then come back and tell us what you make of it all. Is it fair or do you think the DMCA is out of touch with electronic rights in our day and age?

Source: Ars Technica

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.