Copyright Law

Library of Congress Allows iPhone ‘Jailbreaking,’ Turns Aside Apple’s IP Objection


A final rule issued yesterday by the Library of Congress gives iPhone users the freedom to bypass controls on the devices without fear of running afoul of copyright law.

The Library of Congress, which has the power to set exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, said such “jailbreaking” is permissible to run lawfully obtained software, even if it’s not purchased from Apple, according to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Apple had argued jailbreaking is a copyright violation because it relies on modified versions of its operating system.

The Electronic Freedom Foundation had sought the exemption in 2008, arguing that changes for the personal use of the owners should be allowed. The group’s civil liberties director, Jennifer Granick, told the Wall Street Journal that the ruling could encourage new third-party app stores to open.

The ruling also applies to iPads and iPods, the Wall Street Journal says.

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