The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is continuing to make its best efforts at ensuring the act of jailbreaking devices like smartphones and tablets remains a legal act. The organization said this week that it has filed a petition with the U.S. Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office, arguing that jailbreaking is not a crime, and that it should not be seen as a violation of the U.S.’s Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Jailbreaking is a practice that takes place on iOS, Android, and other platforms, and basically involves a user bypassing the rules and structure of a device’s operating system in order to customize it and most often install unauthorized apps. This is usually looked down upon by device manufacturers and carriers, as it violates End User License Agreements (EULA) and bypasses restrictions.
The EFF mentions that they have already won jailbreaking exemptions in 2010 and 2012, but they explain that they must argue their case every three years due to the way the DMCA process works. They are hoping to win an expansion this year that will make the exemption apply to tablets as well, and not just smartphones. The EFF’s argument is centered on the fact that while users’ devices run on copyrighted software, laws shouldn’t be able to put “severe limits” on how those devices are used.
Among the benefits offered for consumers in jailbreaking, points out the EFF on their blog, is the ability to maintain a device’s security after it has stopped receiving updates from the manufacturer. Another is the ability to install accessibility options, allowing those with disabilities new and better ways to use their device.