Monday, July 26, 2010

Apple Loses Big in DRM Ruling: Jailbreaks are "Fair Use"

Via -

Every three years, the Library of Congress has the thankless task of listening to people complain about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA forbade most attempts to bypass the digital locks on things like DVDs, music, and computer software, but it also gave the Library the ability to wave its magical copyright wand and make certain DRM cracks legal for three years at a time.

This time, the Library went (comparatively) nuts, allowing widespread bypassing of the CSS encryption on DVDs, declaring iPhone jailbreaking to be "fair use," and letting consumers crack their legally purchased e-books in order to have them read aloud by computers.


Other, broader exemptions were not allowed. Bypassing the DRM on purchased music when the authentication servers have gone dark? Still illegal. Bypassing the DRM on streaming video in order to watch it on non-supported platforms? Nope.

But the exemptions that did make it were carefully thought out and actually helpful this time around. That's the good news. The bad news is that they must be re-argued every three years, and the Library has taken so long getting its most recent ruling out that that the next review happens just two years from now.

So enjoy your exemptions while you can.

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