In 2010, the US Copyright Office added an exemption to the DMCA, which fully legalized rooting, jailbreaking, unlocking and whatever else you do with your smartphone that is not intended by their manufacturers. While that was certainly good for modders and hackers, of which there are plenty in our forums, exemptions only last for three years and therefore must be renewed before they expire. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is now petitioning to do exactly that.
Before you get too upset over this, it’s worth pointing out that rooting and jailbreaking will not immediately become illegal should the exemption really expire. Instead, such activities would fall in a gray area, as The Verge notes, since device manufacturers could argue that they circumvent copyright protection measures – something ASUS, for instance, cited as their reason for locking the Transformer Prime bootloader.
Still, xda-developers believes that if you bought a device, it’s yours to do whatever you want to do with it. No matter whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, or heck, even a game console. Fundamentally, it simply doesn’t make sense: Imagine if you bought a table, but find that it is too high. So, you decide to cut off the legs a bit – imagine if that was not allowed. That’s exactly what we’re doing here: We find that the software that ships on our devices is arbitrarily limited, and thus modify it to add features, remove features, and whatnot.
If you believe in this fundamental freedom too, visit the EFF to read up about what to do to prevent the exmption from expiring; you can sign the petition or, before February 10, submit a comment to the US Copyright Office._________
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