DMCA Rules That Jailbreaking Is Legal For Smartphones, And Illegal For Tablets
The US Congress and the European Union are still trying to adopt new copyright laws like SOPA and PIPA, but for the time being, we don’t understand why such laws need to be adopted. Such acts aren’t too different from the current DMCA rules which have been adopted in the past few days. What you should know is that you still do not own a device that you bought, nor the content that you paid for, and these rules will be taken into effect as of January 2013 until December 2015.
Let me explain this further: once every few years, the Librarian of Congress is holding a meeting in order to discuss the present and future of the mobile and computing spaces including smartphones, e-books and other multimedia content, and most other devices. This year, the Librarian ruled out that it’s legal to jailbreak smartphones, but illegal to do so on tablets.
If you own an iPhone or Android smartphone, then you can jailbreak / root it because it enables interoperability between software. However, the same thing is not valid for tablets because the Librarian still doesn’t know what tablets really are.
According to the committee, any device can be considered a tablet because they’re all computers. So if you own a tablet, video game handset, e-book, laptop, or any other mobile device, you should call them “tablets.” The reason why this ruling was adopted for the next three years is because nobody revealed a clear definition of the word “tablet.”
In addition, if you want to unlock your smartphone, then you will need the permission of your carrier. Until now, unlocking was legal, and carriers were forced to reveal the unlock codes to the users, but all cellphones and smartphones bought as of January 2013 will remain tied down to a carrier if the said carrier doesn’t give you a special permission.
Let’s move on to the decision regarding CD, DVD, and multimedia content. If you bought a music CD or movie DVD, and you don’t have the time to listen to it on your PC, respectively watch it on your TV, then you might as well rip it, and press play on your smartphone, tablet, or portable media player. Well, the Librarian still believes that you’re not entitled to this therefore it’s illegal to rip CDs and DVDs.
The Librarian is not that “evil” as it has deemed ripping legal if you use it under special circumstances like using small portions in non-commercial videos, documentaries, e-books containing movie analysis, and educational videos. All of these shouldn’t bring you any kind of money or else you’re facing a lawsuit from the parent companies.
What’s more, CDs and DVDs can be decrypted in order to allow blind or deaf people to make use of the content, but you cannot supply them the content. This means that deaf or blind people must also be programmers if they want to access the said content.
If so far you think that this is absurd, then stay a while and listen. The RIAA says that it’s “perfectly lawful” to rip content, and then make use of it on an iPod, smartphone, or tablet, but the DMCA still says that it’s illegal. Why? The answer is simple: someone has to prove that content ripping is legal in court, and so far nobody has been able to achieve this fact. So if you want to make it legal, then rip a CD, listen to the music on your smartphone, get sued, and win the case in court. Well, it sounds simple, but it’s not like that. Why? Because the court will most likely classify this action illegal because this fact is not covered by the Librarian of Congress.
From now until late 2015, nothing can happen as the rules will remain the same, and not a single exemption will be awarded. This means that you need to be careful when jailbreaking tablets because you’ll lose your warranty among other things that can happen to you. Also don’t rip the CDs that you bought because you’re in trouble. Everybody is saying that the system is broken, yet the Congress says that these rules were created to protect the users and content creators alike.