Jan 26 AT 12:49 PM Dustin Earley 25 Comments

The EFF needs your help to keep rooting, jailbreaking legal

nexus root

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.

Source: EFF

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • Rahul

    Wow @ the US Legal System.

    • thel0nerang3r

      Wow, the non-voters, :-(
      Companies get away with this crap, because the majority of people do not vote.
      2010 election, we had 41% voter turn out.. pretty sad

  • Matt Hessert

    this petion MUST be signed so many of us hackers rely on this bill to tinker with our phones

  • yankeesusa

    I can’t believe its going to expire. It should have been in place for at least 10 years or more. I really hope they pass it again or make it permanent. This is not only going to hurt jailbreakers but rooters too. I still don’t understand why you can’t do whatever you want with a device you just bought. Its like buying a car and then saying that I can’t change my own oil or air filter. Unbelievable!

    • reddragonman

      Great point. Car manufacturers tried doing this, but then were told they would have to provide the service for free, which is why we get manufacturers recommended intervals. I also look at this as a computer manufacturer telling me what software I can put on my computer. Like if I become dissatisfied with Windows, and decide to put Linux on. Same basic principal.

  • Hall Lo

    …..What’s going on these days? Like, what’s really going on?

    • David

      Yes, the world seems to have turned upside down lately. Or at least more than it usually does.

  • http://alxrock.deviantart.com alxrock

    I’m definitely gonna spread the word on this. It feels like we’re in an ongoing war between SOPA, PIPA and now this.

  • grace

    how can rooting and jailbreaking be illegal? you bought the stuff, it’s all yours.. you have all the right to do anything you want you do with it.

  • Zer0-9

    I see this as being similar to the argument to outlaw guns. It is the actions of people that should be illegal not the ownership of items that COULD provide people with the ability to break the law.

    The main argument against allowing root is that it enables the possibility of illegal activity. Piracy, and network abuse in particular. It isn’t illegal for me to have root access on my computer, so why should my mobile device be any different?

  • Paul

    The interesting thing about this is that this is one instance where iPhone and Android enthusiasts can stand together. It’s not just jail breaking, it’s rooting. So any person who loves to tinker with and enhance their iPhone would be interested in renewing the ruling. So iPhone and Android hackers unite!

  • Mark

    It shouldn’t even expire in the first place. This is just stupid.

  • http://www.ndroidgamers.com B2L

    I spread the petition all over earlier. This shouldn’t even be a problem in the first place. I paid for “my” device, I should be able to do what I want with it.

  • Oskar Wismierski

    why the hell would it be illegal? We bought the damn thing so we should be able to do what we want with it..

  • lingonsprigg

    This law is nothing but an atempt to discrimante our private personal right to do whatever we arbitrary choose to do with hardware we bought and paid for, and therefore own. I only can say one thing about this issue. Keep your hands of my tools, my smartphone belongs to me and I want to keep my right to do whatever I choose to do with it. It’s a fundamental selfevident right.

  • iamXiV92a

    If they try make it illegal, they’ll only ensure that more people find ways to get around it – the reason I LOVE XDA

  • Slith

    Well this is nuts. Tell everyone you know to sign it. Everyone is all stirred up about SOPA, getting them to sign this will be an easy sell.

  • Slith

    The petition link seems to be down.

  • NegativeOne13

    I just signed the petition. Now to write up a comment and send to the Copyright Office. Rooting and Jailbreaking brings like mind people together that otherwise would not be. If this isn’t stopped, software technological advancement will be slowed tremendously.

  • Simon P

    I am sick of tired of these technological dinosaurs.

  • http://youtube.com/user/jawckamoe Marcus

    Wow. :( I wouldn’t be able to use the cool root features in Avast mobile security or take screenshots without being able to root my phone :( plus, I love installing custom ROMs on my phone!

  • Alex Belko

    I buy every device with a thought, that i can hack it like i want, inability to do so makes it’s kinda pointless for me, not so interesting especially with android

  • SGB101

    i thought the USA was the land of the free??? i invite you you all to the UK ;-)

    • kungpaodragon

      It is the land of the free until someone doesn’t like what you do.

  • spazby

    Makes no sense