Last year, it became legal for people to Jailbreak their smartphones to run homebrew software and other apps that Apple’s too afraid to approve. The problem with Jailbreaking is that it enables all sorts of nefarious things, like piracy. The same group that successfully lobbied to have smartphone Jailbreaking exempt from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is trying to do the same for consoles and tablets.
"The DMCA is supposed to block copyright infringement," said the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s IP director Corynne McSherry. "But instead it can be misused to threaten creators, innovators, and consumers, discouraging them from making full and fair use of their own property.Hobbyists and tinkerers who want to modify their phones or videogame consoles to run software programs of their choice deserve protection under the law… Copyright law shouldn’t be stifling such uses – it should be encouraging them."
The current ruling on smartphone Jailbreaks doesn’t make Jailbreaking any easier – it just removes the question of dubious legality.
It’s set to go for ruling in October next year – and if made legal could open the doors of console piracy even wider than they already are. For the record, I think people should be able to create and run software for the devices they own without having to go through hurdles – so maybe it’d be best if platform holders allowed them to do just that – but in a controlled environment without low-level access, minimising the risk of potential piracy.
Last Updated: December 6, 2011