from the it's-not-about-piracy dept
Anti-circumvention laws, which ban the tools used to do things like copy DVDs and jailbreak devices, make no sense. There are plenty of legitimate uses for these tools, so regulating them inevitably squashes legal activity alongside the infringing activity such regulation is supposed to target. Under the DMCA in the America, this problem is ostensibly addressed by the fact that the Librarian of Congress can exempt certain tools and activities from the anti-circumvention provision every three years—but this solution mostly serves to create bizarre double standards, such as the fact that it's perfectly legal to jailbreak an iPhone, but not an iPod. Meanwhile, Canada is on track to create similar restrictions with the impending passage of Bill C-11.
Proponents of these laws (read: the copyright industries) tend to brush off all concerns about legal activity. In their mind, there's only one reason to circumvent copy protections: piracy. Mario Dabek, editor-in-chief of the jailbreaking website Jailbreak Matrix, just released a video that nicely counters this narrow-minded concept by showcasing 100 reasons to jailbreak an iPhone. The video lists a huge variety of tweaks and customizations, both functional and aesthetic, that have nothing to do with copyright infringement and are only possible with a jailbroken phone (with the apparent cumulative effect of making a girl's tank top disappear).
While jailbreaking iPhones and other cellphones is legal in the U.S. thanks to the exemption process, it's easy to see how the same or similar tweaks should be permitted on virtually any device (especially the near-identical iPod touch, for which making any of these changes is still illegal). While there are a couple of ideas featured that flirt with infringement (using the Nintendo emulator would only be legal if you are playing games you own as cartridges) the vast majority of them are things you have should every right to do on a device that you purchased. Jailbreaking is not about piracy—it's about important rights of ownership, property and fair use that are all being curtailed by anti-circumvention laws.