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[AA] New DMCA ruling: jailbreaking of smartphones legal starting 2013, but not for tablets  

post #1 of 5
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Starting January 2013, you can legally jailbreak or root your smartphone, which may include the iPhone or any Android phone. This was the same case as in the 2010 rules. However, this time, the ruling is explicit that the jailbreaking is only legal for “the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of [lawfully obtained] applications with computer programs on the telephone handset.”

Meanwhile, tablets are a different thing altogether. The Librarian of Congress says that “the record lacked a sufficient basis to develop an appropriate definition for the ‘tablet’ category of devices, a necessary predicate to extending the exemption beyond smartphones.” The worry here is that other tablet-like devices may be defined as a tablet, and therefore enjoy the same DRM circumventions. These may include laptops, e-book readers, and even handheld videogame devices.

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post #2 of 5
Although a step in the right direction, I don't understand why the DMCA should be able to tell me what I can and cannot do with my device. It should be up to the user alone to decide whether he wants to pursue "development" of their device while fully understanding the risks.
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post #3 of 5
Keep in mind, sometimes companies sell their electronics in the form of some bogus "license" thing because of the software, hence the legality and DMCA stuff.

Also, the enforcement of such a ruling is key. Obviously police won't check if your tablet is rooted or running Ubuntu instead of android or anything of that, so you need to look at why this DMCA legality even being pushed. Mainly, I feel it is for planned obsolescence, to push the purchase of new products, and software locks to differentiate identical physical products. Tablet A has Android 3.0 with a locked bootloader, and Tablet B has Android 4.0 with a also locked bootloader, with their difference being only which version of android they run. The chips used for each tablet are identical. In order to save money on designing different hardware, they just pay some poor saps to code in protection against upgrading the Android OS. Now, if you want a newer android OS, you have to buy a new tablet, not to mention the possible marketing spin they can put on a tablet, labeling it as something new and better.

The only way they can do this though is by preventing the android OS from being upgraded is by employing some protection scheme, but because the public ALWAYS will find ways around such protections, a different method needs to be put in place, which would be a law. So now, if you want to access online features of the tablet, it checks if the tablet has been modified through the use of running another OS, and bam, no streaming, no access to online libraries of music or movies, and no access to some other online based features. Heck, maybe no access to networks like 4G or 3G from certain telecoms even. And because of this DMCA change, they now have the legal grounds to do such a thing.
Edited by hak8or - 10/27/12 at 1:33pm
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post #5 of 5
Woops, I will post my comment in the other thread then seeing as this one will get locked.
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