Jailbreaking now legal under DMCA for smartphones, but not tablets

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Yutaka Tsutano The Digital Millennium Copyright makes it illegal to “circumvent” digital rights management schemes. But when Congress passed the DMCA in 1998, it gave the Librarian of Congress the power to grant exemptions. The latest batch of exemptions, which will be in force for three years, were announced on Thursday. Between now and late 2015, there will be five categories of circumvention that will be allowed under the Librarian’s rules, one fewer than the current batch of exemptions , which was announced in July 2010. The new exemptions take effect October 28. The new batch of exemptions illustrate the fundamentally arbitrary nature of the DMCA’s exemption process. For the next three years, you’ll be allowed to jailbreak smartphones but not tablet computers. You’ll be able to unlock phones purchased before January 2013 but not phones purchased after that. It will be legal to rip DVDs to use an excerpt in a documentary, but not to play it on your iPad. None of these distinctions makes very much sense. But Congress probably deserves more blame for this than the Librarian of Congress. Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Jailbreaking now legal under DMCA for smartphones, but not tablets

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