It appears as though a provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) legitimizes the practice of removing limitations that are set in place by Apple’s iOS operating system that currently powers the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad – and such access to such files with the ability to modify them is known as “jailbreaking”. This method allows one to turn an Apple device that is powered by iOS to run third-party applications as well as software, especially those that add to the device’s functionality, but are not approved by Apple for one reason for another. Currently, the act of jailbreaking remains as a known exemption under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act anti-circumvention provisions, but this particular law might be exempted once every three years by the Librarian of Congress.
In spring this year, the U.S. Copyright Office will hold hearings on the proposed DMCA exemptions, where the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit group that advocates for digital rights, is currently hoping to petition the Copyright Office to protect jailbreaking, but there is no guarantee that the jailbreaking exemption will be stretched by another three years. This could be potentially explosive, or a storm in a teacup – it really depends on how it pans out in the end. What do you think?