Conflict & Justice

Government says it's okay to 'jailbreak' iPhones

Yesterday, the U.S. Copyright Office declared it perfectly legal for iPhone owners to "jailbreak" their mobile devices. In reviewing the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, the office said that although it may break Apple's warranty, there was no legal reason why iPhone users shouldn't be able to free their phones from the software restrictions that Apple places on them. The Cupertino, California-based Apple Corporation responded that jailbreaking iPhones could lead to "copyright infringement, potential damage to the device and other potential harmful physical effects" to the device. The new ruling changes the sense of ownership that technology users have over their products.

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Siva Vaidhyanathan is an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. He tells The Takeaway, "I think the Library of Congress is catching up to our culture."

Earlier, we spoke with The Takeaway's digital editor Jim Colgan about the pros and cons of jailbreaking iPhones, and what this decision means to the protective rights of digital media.