The U.S. Copyright Office and the Library Congress gave the OK to iPhone jailbreaking, ruling against Apple. In the past Apple has claimed jailbreaking violated the terms of fair use and jeopardized security.
Apple lost a bid to have jailbreaking the iPhone declared a violation
of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
In a decision today, the U.S. Copyright Office and the Library of
Congress sided with the Electronic Frontier Foundation's contention that jailbreaking
the iPhone was not prohibited by the act.
(PDF) as part of a regular process where the copyright office
reviews exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) every
three years. Through jailbreaking, users can unlock a device and enable
third-party unsigned code to run.
Citing security and privacy concerns, Apple has called
and fought to keep today's decision from becoming a
In his decision, Librarian of Congress James Billington wrote that Apple
called jailbreaking a "violation of the prohibition against circumvention
of access controls. It stated that its validation system is necessary to
protect consumers and Apple from harm. Apple further contended that modifying
Apple's operating system constituted the creation of an infringing derivative
On the other side of the issue was the Electronic Frontier
which heralded the copyright office's decision earlier
"Copyright law has long held that making programs interoperable is fair
use," said Corynne McSherry, EFF senior staff attorney, in a statement. "It's
gratifying that the Copyright Office acknowledges this right and agrees that
the anticircumvention laws should not interfere with interoperability."
The EFF also applauded a decision it says "holds that amateur creators
do not violate the DMCA when they use short excerpts from DVDs in order to
create new, noncommercial works for purposes of criticism or comment if they
believe that circumvention is necessary to fulfill that purpose."