So far, everyone who has used jailbroken iPhone was either unaware of the possible prosecution or totally confident with EFF's request. Apple has always strongly advocated that jailbreaking and unlocking iPhones is illegal. Now, Library of Congress has added an exception to the DMCA that people can tweak their handsets, install software from sources other than handset makers' and further modify it for personal usage.
Almost 20 months ago, EFF had requested federal regulators to list jailbreaking in list of explicit exemptions to the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision. Here's an excerpt from the Library of Congress Ruling that refers to 'jailbreaking' and 'rooting' the phones:
Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.
Before you go crazy, you must note few things that Apple won't sell jailbroken iPhones. You'll have to take the risk of jailbreaking yourself. Same is applicable to the act of rooting an Android smartphone for getting superuser rights. Basically, you have to get down and dirty with your phones as the phone making companies won't do it for you. However, Apple would sell unlocked iPhone devices in select regions like Canada and Hong Kong.
The ruling doesn't eliminate distributing Apple code publicly in a way not approved by Apple. The DMCA still forbids any "technology, product, service, device, component or part there of" to be distributed publicly. Apple had pointed out that jailbreaking would lead to cyber attack on the devices that could cause severe damages.
Other interesting exemptions to the DMCA are:
- Unlocking mobile phones to change carriers
- Cracking of video game digital rights management controls to probe security flaws
- Documentary makers, professors and even students can decrypt DVDs to use the video for educational purpose and commentary
- Visually challenged can circumvent locks on e-books to enable read-aloud features.
- Bypassing of broken or irreplaceable dongles
All said and done, you can now jailbreak your iPhone legally and install third party apps from Cydia but at your own risk (as the warranty turns void once you try it). Time to tune in AC/DC's Jailbreak track.