back to article US Copyright Office approves phone jailbreaking and video remixes

The US Copyright Office has published the latest exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and it's good news for phone jailbreakers and video remixers, who are now legal – well, until 2015, at least. The terms of DMCA lockdowns are reviewed every three years, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is …

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"The Register concluded that the record did not support an extension of the exemption to 'tablet' devices,"

WTF El Reg, you are a news website not an arbiter of copyright cases...

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Registration

Perhaps you were joking, or it didn't register that "The Register" was referring to "the Register of Copyrights".

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Re: Registration

> or it didn't register that "The Register" was referring to "the Register of Copyrights

Reminds me of Sir Humphrey Appleby

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Will someone take these out the back and shoot them?

"Wireless Asociation[sic], formerly the Cellular Telephone Industry Association (CTIA). It argued that jailbreaking should not be allowed because users buy handsets, but don't necessarily own the software that runs them."

So replacing the software I don't own with software that I do own is wrong. How is that for fucked up logic.

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Re: Will someone take these out the back and shoot them?

Except ,since the "you don't own it" argument is based on the fact that software is not a physical object, your comparison is invalid. What I can or cannot do with software is governed not by property rights but by copyright which, oddly enough, is a restriction on copying not on "changing". It's not like I can't go through a legally purchased copy of a Harry Potter novel changing every instance of 'wand' to 'wang' or draw a beard on a Mona Lisa print. It's my hardware to manipulate as I wish with the sole exemption that I can't use it to make unauthorized copies.

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Re: Will someone take these out the back and shoot them?

"So replacing the software I don't own with software that I do own is wrong. How is that for fucked up logic." Well, is because you don't own it that you can't mess with it. Just like you can't dig up the pavement outside your house (which you don't own but are allowed to use) and replace it with nice paisley paving slabs (which you do own).

Before the torrent of down votes arrives, I'm not saying this is right, but just explaining the reasoning behind it.

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Re: Will someone take these out the back and shoot them? We CAN ...

Edit the code, or change a book, or burn or deface a work of art. But, in most of those cases, it may be very unwise to profit monetarily from such acts.

Star Trek and other fans regularly write and distribute their own fiction, thriving off of the existing fanbase interested in Trek porn and such (even to the extent of Warf buggering Wesley Crusher through space, time, pain, and destruction, mostly in contempt of Crusher). But, the moment they go public to make money, Paramount et al will descend upon them.

Actually, the mixed ruling might be a fortunate backdoor. It is mind boggling that tablets are not cinsidered flattened, enhanced, enlarged phones. I would expect to see unbridled, open defiance of the decision.

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Anonymous Coward

@Steve I

Paving Slabs, Paisley etc

Ridiculous analogy. The sort of comment the MPIAA or others would come to and get shot down in flames.

You don't own the pavement at all, you are given free passage. Same as if you had a company phone or hired one or borrowed your mates you probably wouldn't be allowed to jailbreak it, because you don't own it. The analogy might be - you buy a garden shed off a DIY store and it has a copyright print design and you decide to paint over it with green paint.

You deserve to be downvoted for you FUD and trying make excuses for those that abuse their power. Here you go, I'll give you one to start.

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also @Steve I

OK so you don't own the software. Does that mean you have to give it a home on the hardware you do own?

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Re: @Steve I

Nice to see the comprehension skills of Register readers hasn't changed. As I said, their (that's "their" as in "not mine") is that you DON'T own the software and the argument that you should be allowed to replace something you don't own with something you do is still flawed, but if you can supply examples of where this is allowed then please do.

Now, I'm not sure you'll get this far as you didn't make it last time, but this isn't my opinion ( that you don't own the software) and see no moral reason why people shouldn't do exactly as they like with their phone.

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Re: also @Steve I

I have no problem with that, but the supplier will say you signed an agreement to do exactly that.

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Re: Will someone take these out the back and shoot them?

"Just like you can't dig up the pavement outside your house (which you don't own but are allowed to use) and replace it with nice paisley paving slabs (which you do own)."

Sorry - you're getting downvoted because its a very poor analogy.

This ruling is akin to saying you are not allowed the change the driveway on your property. You definitively own the 'land' software sits on (hardware), its not common public land.

This is a definite encroachment of property rights that Apple et al should not be allowed to get away with, especially on such p1ssweak reasoning.

For mine, both handset and 'slab are rooted and running CM10. Yeah I'm *that* much of a rebel :-)

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Re: @Steve I

"you DON'T own the software and the argument that you should be allowed to replace something you don't own with something you do is still flawed, but if you can supply examples of where this is allowed then please do."

Linux on just about every PC its been installed on. No one owns Windows, they licence it (eg you don't own it outright, your use is legally restricted).

This does not raise the ire of the DMCA, and neither should swapping out a tablet OS', or in JB terms, adding software to it.

"Nice to see the comprehension skills of Register readers hasn't changed."

You'll find it much more fun being condescending when you are actually right. In this case it just makes you look foolish...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Steve I

Anon in case boss around...

"Nice to see the comprehension skills of Register readers hasn't changed. As I said, their (that's "their" as in "not mine") is that you DON'T own the software and the argument that you should be allowed to replace something you don't own with something you do is still flawed, but if you can supply examples of where this is allowed then please do."

You purchase a unmanaged VPS or Dedicated hosting server from a webhosting company and they do a base install of the server software for you which includes (for example, and basic) a standard CentOS, Apache, MySQL, however you prefer Windows based server but the host does not provide these, hence the Linux base install.

Oh wait, guess what?

Usually you can do a wipe, install or have them do the install as long as you can provide the valid keys and installation media.

Hmm, sounds like "remove what they provide" and "install what you own" to me?

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Re: @Steve I

"As I said, their (that's "their" as in "not mine") is that you DON'T own the software and the argument that you should be allowed to replace something you don't own with something you do is still flawed, but if you can supply examples of where this is allowed then please do."

I can supply what I think is a good analogy not related to the IT world - council housing. People don't own a council house, by definition, and these are usually supplied decorated & with certain fiztures & fittings e.g. built in electroc/gas fires, curtain rails, wallpaper etc. You don't even own the house, let alone the decor etc. Yet there is no problem with you redecorating, updrading equipment etc. The only issue is if you return the (borrowed) house itself in a significantly downgraded condition, and there is no problem with you living in it in a downgraded condition only if it's in that state when you move out.

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Re: Will someone take these out the back and shoot them?

"Just like you can't dig up the pavement outside your house (which you don't own but are allowed to use) and replace it with nice paisley paving slabs (which you do own)."

This is a very flawed analogy.

A better one (IMHO) is this:

If I buy a novel, I own the physical book (i.e. the paper, cover etc.) but I don't own the words on the page (specifically the right to copy it). This is equivalent to a smartphone: I own all the hardware, but may not own the software and the right to copy it.

If I then took the novel and somehow erased the pages, removing all words (like painting the pages with tip-ex) I could legitimately write my own story in there. I could even write a copy of another novel released under a license permitting such (or public domain) into it. That is my choice: The only part with a restriction is the content, the story, which I have removed.

The same can be said for a smartphone, tablet or games console. When I have paid for a device, I own the hardware. If I wish to erase the software on it and replace it with my own software, that is my choice.

I do realise Jailbreaking could be seen differently, however. It is generally either modifying the existing software or replacing it with a modified version. In the first case, you are probably breaking the license agreement you have for the software (not saying I agree with such a term, but it is likely that it exists in your license agreement). In the second case, you are probably installing a pirated version of software.

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Re: @Steve I

"I can supply what I think is a good analogy not related to the IT world - council housing. People don't own a council house, by definition, and these are usually supplied decorated & with certain fiztures & fittings e.g. built in electroc/gas fires, curtain rails, wallpaper etc. You don't even own the house, let alone the decor etc. Yet there is no problem with you redecorating, updrading equipment etc. The only issue is if you return the (borrowed) house itself in a significantly downgraded condition, and there is no problem with you living in it in a downgraded condition only if it's in that state when you move out."

AWFUL analogy. There usually IS a problem with redecorating and upgrading (not updrading) equipment in a council house - normally you have to ask permission to do either.

So we'll just forget your post.

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Vic
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Re: Will someone take these out the back and shoot them?

> is because you don't own it that you can't mess with it

You own a house.

I own a book.

If I place that book in your house, you can't remove it? "You don't own it, so you can't mess with it"...

Vic.

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FAIL

from Jan 2013 you can only get unlocking with a carrier's permission

i think your interpretation of the new DMCA extemptions is a bit flawed: true, unlocking is still freely allowed BUT that will last ONLY UNTIL January 2013. After that you must have the carrier's permission (and assistance) to do so:

quote:

No more unlocking

In 2006 and 2010, the Librarian of Congress had permitted users to unlock their phones to take them to a new carrier. Now that's coming to an end. While the new rules do contain a provision allowing phone unlocking, it comes with a crippling caveat: the phone must have been "originally acquired from the operator of a wireless telecommunications network or retailer no later than ninety days after the effective date of this exemption."

In other words, phones you already have, as well as those purchased between now and next January, can be unlocked. But phones purchased after January 2013 can only be unlocked with the carrier's permission.

/quote

source:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/10/jailbreaking-now-legal-under-dmca-for-smartphones-but-not-tablets/

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Re: from Jan 2013 you can only get unlocking with a carrier's permission

"After that you must have the carrier's permission (and assistance) to do so:"

We're talking Jailbreaking, not handset unlocking here.

(though I realise JB could potentially allow unofficial unlocking as well if you're motivated enough)

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"Fusty folks at the Copyright Office."

"Fusty"! Now there's a word you don't hear every day anymore. Marvellous!

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Headmaster

You write "fondleslab". I stop reading. Deal?

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Anonymous Coward

fondleslab

deal

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Go

Deal

Don't let the door hit your back on the way out.

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FAIL

You stop reading, you don't comment. Deal?

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Anonymous Coward

Thank Goodness!

Now that it's no longer illegal to jailbreak my phone, I can come out of hiding and stop living under an assumed name.

Seriously —apart from putting even more money into the hands of lawyers, what is the point of this? Is there anyone on the entire planet who held off jailbreaking their phone for fear of breaking the law?

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Anonymous Coward

...so if someone with an iphone decides to jailbreak their device and Apple decides to send some update that turns it into a brick, then the phones owner could sue Apple?

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"Wireless Association, formerly the Cellular Telephone Industry Association (CTIA)"

Defined by the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy as "Another bunch of mindless jerks who'll be second against the wall when the revolution comes..."

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Funny how that sort of jailbreaking doesn't apply when it is a games console. Look at the mod chips that were banned.

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Funny how despite the PSP had a rampant homebrew scene, it got suffocated with piracy and no one would develop on it because it was so insecure, thus Sony lost out on millions...

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Go

"...jailbreaking broke the current business model of operators subsidizing handsets"

That would be a feature, not a bug!

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Flame

Re: "...jailbreaking broke the current business model of operators subsidizing handsets"

Carriers are evil but they don't subsidise the phones really. They put you on a contract so you pay for it over time. More like a loan for the initial outlay. Where they really show their evil is that they feel they can still treat you like crap (in-contract price hikes, crapware, changes to terms, not giving you an unlock code, no software updates) even though they will get the money back anyway.

SIM-free from the manufacturer and SIM-only deal with the carrier is the only way to get treated fairly. Get a bank loan for the phone if you can't afford it straight out. At least the bank won't put crap on your phone.

(They might bankrupt the country in fairness)

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Re: "...jailbreaking broke the current business model of operators subsidizing handsets"

"Get a bank loan for the phone if you can't afford it straight out. At least the bank won't put crap on your phone."

Er... if you have to get a bank loan to get a mobile, then clearly you really don't need THAT mobile. A moral point, yes, but seriously there's something wrong with your finances if you're having to get a bank loan for a mobile. Just do without, it's not essential.

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Re: "...jailbreaking broke the current business model of operators subsidizing handsets"

But that IS what the carriers are doing. A two-year loan to pay back for the hardware.

Not that I'm actually advocating getting a bank loan. I'm just pointing out that it's the same deal except the carrier can now fuck about with your phone and generally piss you off in ways that they couldn't if you paid outright or secured the money through other means.

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WTF?

Why does anyone outside the US care?

The US Copyright decisions affect the US and it's territories.

In many jurisdictions they either don't care or these governments have different priorities. The USA can protest all it wants to BeiJing but Chinese entrepreneurs will carry on business as usual. Likewise in other countries.

As long as trusted authorities such as El Reg, continue it's promotion of this subservience, people will actually believe, and accept, US law is world law.

If this were the case, Apple wouldn't be performing it's pantomime with Samsung all over the world.

Up yours, Uncle Sam.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why does anyone outside the US care?

Because USA law does apply globally. If you don't agree, you will either face trade sanctions or be removed from power. PIPA, ACTA, DMCA, Kim Dotcom, McKinnon, etc; all examples of the USA applying its (corporate written) laws to the world. I am sure you can think of more.

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Re: Why does anyone outside the US care?

"USA law does apply globally."

This is nonsense - IF someone commits an offense in the US either in person or remotely then the law will apply. If someone commits the same act in another country then that is a different matter unless there is some treaty in place to cover this.

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Re: Why does anyone outside the US care?

"This is nonsense"

Australia is under a free trade agreement with the USA. As part of that our leaders had to agree to changes in copyright law to make them more like the US.

This is just one way US law ends up applying elsewhere - I suggest you learn a little more about international law...

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Meh

Re: Why does anyone outside the US care?

Chet Mannly above is correct. In order to secure more desirable trade agreements many countries have to agree to many of the U.S. copyright laws.

I don't agree with these sorts of laws if everybody keeps touting "free market" (which has never existed) but it is the way the world works. I just wish the "free market" asshats would get off their high horses and admit they are rigging the system though.

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Re: Why does anyone outside the US care?

"If someone commits the same act in another country then that is a different matter UNLESS there is some treaty in place to cover this."

I suggest you learn about comprehension !

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why does anyone outside the US care?

I thought it was additive for Americans?

Americans are liable to US law even when abroad - at least if they intend going back home.

Anyone know for sure?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why does anyone outside the US care?

Does that mean they have to drive on the right even in the UK ??

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Re: Why does anyone outside the US care?

Ever heard of Richard O'Dwyer? Set up a website called TVShack in the UK, broke no UK laws, yet he is being extradited to USA over DMCA Violations.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why does anyone outside the US care?

@Chemist - sorry, but you talk nonsense.

The USA is not the only country to apply its laws globally. Their pet European (i.e. the UK) also likes legal tourism and applies its laws of libel globally. So whether or not a publication was seen by anyone in the UK or has any connection to the UK, you can sue in the UK. Given the high cost of libel cases, this effectively silences free speech.

The USA and UK - the dynamic duo crushing freedom where they find it!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why does anyone outside the US care?

@Chemist - I suggest you read some recent history. The USA has form for simply grabbing the people it wants. It also has form for detaining people without trial, and without any form of legal protection. This is the kind of the thing the USSR used to get up to (although the USA has quite gone as far as using the prisoners as forced labour. Yet.) The USA also has form for funding coups to overthrow democratically elected leaders, and funding despotic dictators so long as they do the USA's bidding.

So the USA...Land of the Free...really? Not from where I am sitting.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why does anyone outside the US care?

@bean520 - Indeed. I was very surprised by Ms. May's decision to disobey her superiors in the USA. I wonder what political outcome there will be because of that?

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Big Brother

Re: Why does anyone outside the US care?

"although the USA has quite gone as far as using the prisoners as forced labour. Yet."

Presuming you meant "Hasn't", You realize the US has a prison population of over 2 million, and the vast majority of these are forced to work for $0.25 per hour or be locked in solitary?

That large swathes of the US economy requires this "Prison labour" to remain competitive with offshore production.

Laws like the "three strikes" law have been criticized as primarily existing to keep the US prison population high to provide a suitable cheap labour pool.

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Anonymous Coward

And it remains a criminal offence...

...in the USA to watch a DVD on a PC if it is running GNU/Linux.

"Land of the free" my ass.

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