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Monday, July 26, 2010

You Can Legally Unlock Your Phones

Posted by Paul Constant on Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Does this mean it's not "jailbreaking" anymore? As mentioned in GMN, new government rules say that it's legal to unlock phones like iPhones (although Apple is still within their rights to void warranties and disable unlocked phones with software updates) in order to install unapproved apps or switch data carriers. The new rules will also "allow college professors, film students and documentary filmmakers to break copy-protection measures on DVDs so they can embed clips for educational purposes, criticism, commentary and noncommercial videos."

The exceptions are a big victory for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which had urged the Library of Congress to legalize several of them, including the two regarding cell phones.

Jennifer Stisa Granick, EFF's civil liberties director, said the rules are based on an important principle: Consumers should be allowed to use and modify the devices that they purchase the way they want. "If you bought it, you own it," she said.

Amen—now let's start in on e-books and other downloadable media, please. Gizmodo says that these new rules don't matter much, and they're probably right. A tiny percentage of the population is interested in unlocking their devices, but these rules do at least specify that the devices belong to the people who bought the devices.

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