Feeds

EFF seeks shelter for iPhone mobile 'jailbreakers'

Freedom to tinker

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Yesterday, the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) - that 18-year digital-freedom superhero - filed a pair of petitions with the United States Copyright Office, seeking to protect mobile-phone jailbreakers, unlockers, and digital-media masher-uppers from the slings and arrows of outrageous lawsuits.

According to a statement by EFF lawyer Fred von Lohmann, the petitions ask the Office to provide exemptions from the DMCA's strictures against "three categories of activities that do not violate copyright laws, but that are still jeopardized by the DMCA's ban on bypassing technical protection measures used to control access to copyrighted works."

The beneficiaries of the EFF petitions would include:

  • iPhone Mobile phone owners who want access to applications not provided by Apple their phone's manufacturer or service provider.
  • Individual or commercial entities that want the freedom to use their phones with any service provider that they damn well please.
  • Non-commercial DVD rippers who want to use copyrighted content for purposes of fair-use commentary.

The two mobile-phone exemptions are, according to von Lohmann, intended to protect your "freedom to tinker" with a product that you rightfully own. In addition to allowing the freedom to install any app that you see fit on your phone, the petition requests the Office to provide companies such as The Wireless Alliance, ReCellular, and Flipswap with the legal protection they need to continue to accept used phones and unlock them for sale either to frugal statesiders or into third-world countries where the phones' original service providers may not operate.

The DVD-ripping exemption would extend the long-accepted fair-use doctrine to include using copyrighted clips for non-commercial mixes, whether they be for social or political commentary, educational purposes, or other uses. As von Lohmann persuasively argues, "Today, if you rip a DVD, the MPAA takes the position that you've broken the law, even if you are making a video that comments on the latent racism in Disney films or the sexualized violence in 300" [NSFW].

Exemptions to the DMCA are not new. In 2006, the Office granted six exemptions that began to pry loose some of the more restrictive aspects of the DMCA. Unfortunately, those exemptions were of little benefit to the average consumer — a failing that EFF hopes to mitigate with their latest petitions.

Arguments for and against the new petitions are due to the Office by February 2, 2009. Hearings will be held in the spring, and the Office will announce its decisions in October, when the previous set of exemptions expires.

If you plan to create a video that'll argue your case for or against the proposed exemptions, we recommend that you not rip any copyrighted DVD content for use in it. By 2010, it may be safe to do so — but for now you'd still be opening yourself up to a lawsuit. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
MOST iPhone strokers SPURN iOS 8: iOS 7 'un-updatening' in 5...4...
Guess they don't like our battery-draining update?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.