Tech: Americans Can Now Jailbreak Phones, But Not Tablets

Whiles the European Union is doing everything in it’s power to cripple the abilities of the already handicapped to consume media, the US has announced some new exemptions to the DMCA that are to be applauded.

Americans Can Now Jailbreak Phones, But Not Tablets

A series of new exemptions by the Librarian Of Congress to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act now affirms it is legal for Americans to jailbreak their phones. Whiles this is a significant step forward, the DMCA still forbids the jailbreak of all other hardware, including tablets. In fact, this is in and of itself the entire justification by the Librarian for the rejection as it found the proposed tablet exemption,

…broad and ill-defined, as a wide range of devices might be considered ‘tablets,’ notwithstanding the significant distinctions among them in terms of the way they operate, their intended purposes, and the nature of the applications they can accommodate. For example, an e-book reading device might be considered a ‘tablet,’ as might a handheld video game device or a laptop computer.

I am yet to come across arguments against the jailbreak of such other devices in the decision.

The new exemptions now also allow for the transfer of legitimately purchased titles to hardware that facilitates consumption by the disabled and circumventing DVD protection for use of short (Length undefined,) clips in noncommercial (Do YouTube adverts count?) or educational works, but still not full transfers.

Australian Consumer Group Advocates Spoofing

Down under, the cost of media and technology is staggeringly high compared to the rest of the world to the point where a parliamentary inquiry is ongoing to investigate the issue. (I have some ideas, but we’ll leave that for another time.) Now, Australian Watchdog ‘Choice’ has published an article promoting the use of I.P spoofing to circumvent geo protection of online content.

Whilst sitting in the grey area of online regulation, this move has caught quite a bit of attention and has unsurprisingly lead to the media industry in Australia protesting Choice’s advocacy of the technology.

References:
1. Americans Can Now Jailbreak Phones, But Not Tablets: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121025/15065220831/dmca-exemptions-announced-exemption-dvd-ripping-rejected.shtml
2. Americans Can Now Jailbreak Phones, But Not Tablets: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/10/jailbreaking-now-legal-under-dmca-for-smartphones-but-not-tablets/
3. Australian Consumer Group Advocates Spoofing: http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/computers-and-online/networking-and-internet/shopping-online/navigating-online-geoblocks.aspx