Updated DMCA legalizes jailbreaking, DVD ripping and more

By on July 26, 2010, 6:54 PM
In a landmark decision, the US Library of Congress has added several critical exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), legalizing cell phone jailbreaking and more. The changes come at the behest of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and will protect "jailbreakers, unlockers, and vidders" from being sued over non-infringing fair use activities. The exemptions include the following:

  • Permission for cell phone owners to break access controls on their phones in order to switch wireless carriers or "jailbreak" their device.
  • Permission to break technical protections on video games to investigate or correct security flaws.
  • Permission for college professors, film students and documentary filmmakers to break copy-protection measures on DVDs so they can embed clips for educational purposes, criticism, commentary and noncommercial videos.
  • Permission to enable an e-book's read-aloud function or use a screen reader with the e-book, even when built-in access controls prevent this.
  • Permission for computer owners to bypass the need for external security devices called dongles if the dongle no longer works and cannot be replaced.

Those stipulations undoubtedly come at the disapproval of companies like Apple, which has sought to prevent iPhone owners from running unapproved code. While permitting the installation of unauthorized software is surprising enough, we're more shocked that amateur video creators can now (legally) bypass DVD copy protection and use the media to create non-commercial works. The EFF called such videos a "powerful art form" and said people posting remixed content online shouldn't have to worry about breaking the law. You can read the full rulemaking order here (PDF).





User Comments: 19

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Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

I like this ruling! It's about time we got some non-draconian legislation.

princeton princeton said:

"Permission for cell phone owners to break access controls on their phones in order to switch wireless carriers or "jailbreak" their device."

Does that mean apple can't brick the phones that try to update when jailbroken?

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Permission to break technical protections on video games to investigate or correct security flaws.

I expect this one will be the catchall defense for any pirate groups out there. There will probably some backlash about it.

Permission to enable an e-book's read-aloud function or use a screen reader with the e-book, even when built-in access controls prevent this.

Was this a problem? I can't see any reason why someone would intentionally disable a book reader. It's like a slap in the face to those with eye site problems.

insect said:

I think the real stick in the mud will come when "a professor" copies a DVD/Blu-Ray "for educational purposes" at home over and over and over... without making a penny (thus non-commercial). Or when a "film student" uploads movie clips to YouTube with "commentary" (could just be 10-secs at the end with "I liked it" .

We all know how much the MPAA like to control their cash-cows.

Jane55 Jane55 said:

aha, just for personal use and no-commercial use, and you own the DVD, most of all under 'fair use', then that's ok...

Puiu Puiu said:

This is one of the best news i've heard in years! I've always supported non-commercial use of owned dvd's and other things like that.

"powerful art form" - very true! +1 respect from me

Guest said:

Suck it, Steve Jobs!

nazartp said:

insect, if you read the ruling it is about use of short portions of the work, not the movies as a whole. Uploading the full movie and commenting on it or copying the entire DVD would still be illegal.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This bit of news fills me with warm fuzzy feelings - especially the jailbreaking part .

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"Permission to break technical protections on video games to investigate or correct security flaws."

LOL...what a crack-up (pun intended). Well, there's the new pat excuse to hack - and ultimately steal - games.

kyosuke said:

But does this mean that I can Jailbreak and still be under warranty?

I don't get the e-book thing but whatever, We are no longer "Pirates"

So Now people can say "I'm not file-sharing I am sharing my work with my friends". If asked what the person changed to the movie, you watch the whole thing and when the ending credits are about to roll it ends, perfect editing.

Guest said:

Book publishers claimed they have audio book rights, so they can sell an electronic version but wanted the ability to not allow text to speech to work. This allows you to have text to speech of a ebook you buy despite the book publishers objection.

kyosuke said:

lol I just realized that the DMCA are probably iPhone 4 users and figured this would be their way to get back at Apple and AT&T.

They were also sick of Movie companies and Movie stars complaining about the >1% drop on DVD sales due to "Pirating"

even better they probably live in NY and with the new MTA increase they are trying to save money for everybody

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This ruling is freakin great! Now people that buy iPhones will actually OWN what they paid for!

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

One step closer to catching up with the 21st century.

TomSEA said:

Well, there's the new pat excuse to hack - and ultimately steal - games.

Not really it's still copyright infringement and illegal in the US, they have a paragraph addressing it. Just gives permission to owners of games to break intrusive DRM.

DokkRokken said:

I'd consider Ubisoft's intrusive system of DRM to be a security issue. I'm no pirate, but I think plenty of people should rightfully 'investigate' the flaws of Assassin's Creed 2 in order to get a gaming experience that is on their terms, instead of UbiSoft's.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

At last this may make some skunkheads at apple realize that they need not to suppress people's freedoms with regard to devices 'they actually purchase/and own', and letting them customize/or modify them as they wish.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

No suppression of freedom...

and no warranty either.

Apple's spokesperson has said that Jailbreaking can be harmful for the idevices as they can spread viruses and make devices unstable and degrade the quality of their products. So, users still won't be getting any warranty on the jailbroken iPhone

[Source]

RuskiSnajper said:

CHUCK NORRIS PUNCHED THE CONGRESS

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