A new change to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) will now keep users who jailbreak their iPhones or other mobile devices from worrying about the threat of prosecution. An additional change allows will provide further protections for security researchers.
According to the Library of Congress’s Patent Office, which oversees the DMCA and conducts regular reviews, jailbreaking a mobile device does not violate copyright. Following the initial release of the iPhone and similar mobile devices, the Electronic Frontier Foundation requested some exemptions to the DMCA.
“When one jailbreaks a smartphone in order to make the operating system on that phone interoperable with an independently created application that has not been approved by the maker of the smartphone or the maker of its operating system, the modifications that are made purely for the purpose of such interoperability are fair uses,” according to the Patent Office.
Another change was also added to allow researchers in legal possession of a device or software to conduct “good faith” testing and research by circumventing protections on the software.
“Overall, the Register has concluded that the factors set forth in 17 U.S.C. 107 tend to strongly support a finding that such good faith research constitutes fair use,” the Patent Office said. “The socially productive purpose of investigating computer security and informing the public do not involve use of the creative aspects of the work and are unlikely to have an adverse effect on the market for or value of the copyrighted work itself. Aggregating the evidentiary record, the proponents have shown that they need to be able to fix flaws that are identified in this class of works and they need to be able to investigate other alleged security vulnerabilities in this class.”