Could you imagine being throw in jail or fined thousands of dollars just for rooting or jailbreaking your own device? If the US Copyright Office doesn’t renew rooting and jailbreaking’s status as exempt from the laws of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), it could happen.
Back in 2010, the US Copyright Office ruled that jailbreaking phones doesn’t violate the DMCA, letting the user take full control of their device without violating any copyright laws. Unfortunately, that ruling is about to expire. The EFF is looking to extend jailbreaking’s exemption from copyright laws and add coverage to tablets and video game consoles along with phones. But they need your help.
The EFF is reaching out to anyone who jailbreaks or roots their devices to utilize independent software and is asking them to submit a comment to the Copyright Office that addresses the following questions.
- Which jailbreaking exemption are you supporting—smartphones/tablets, video game consoles, or both?
- What’s your background (i.e., are you a developer, hobbyist, academic, independent researcher, user, etc.)?
- What device do you want to ensure you have the legal authority to jailbreak?
- Please explain why you want to jailbreak this device. What limitations do you face if you aren’t able to jailbreak it? Is there software you couldn’t run, computing capabilities you wouldn’t have, cool things you couldn’t do, etc.?
- If you’re a developer, did an online application store or console manufacturer reject your app or game? If so, what reasons did they give?
- Is there anything else you want to tell the Copyright Office?
The EFF is also suggesting that anyone interested in keeping jailbreaking legal sign the petition found here.
It’s been awhile since I’ve rooted and installed custom software myself, but I can’t imagine it being made illegal. I’m sure there’s plenty of you out there who read Android and Me and feel exactly the same way. Now’s your chance to make your voice on the subject heard.
For more information on the EFF’s fight for your digital rights, along with how to submit your comments to the US Copyright Office, visit EFF.org.