Washington – A new ruling by the Library of Congress’
Copyright Office will let iPhone owners legally download and run apps from
sources other than Apple’s App Store. The Electronic Frontier Foundation said
that the practice, known as "jailbreaking," already has been carried
out by more than 1 million iPhone owners in violation of the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act (DMCA), either to change wireless providers or use unauthorized
In its ruling, the Copyright Office rejected Apple’s claim that the
practice was prohibited by current copyright laws.
"When one jailbreaks a
smartphone in order to make the operating system on that phone interoperable
with an independently created application that has not been approved by the
maker of the smartphone or the maker of its operating system, the modifications
that are made purely for the purpose of such interoperability are fair
uses," the ruling states.
The Copyright Office also ruled that video remix
artists do not violate the DMCA when they use short excepts from DVDs to create
noncommercial works for purposes of criticism or comment, and expanded, granted
or narrowed DMCA exemptions for documentary filmmakers, college-level educators
and some security researchers.