Jailbreaking iPhones is legal, says US government

It will still void the warranty, mind

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A change to US copyright law confirms that it is completely legal for users to 'jailbreak' their iPhones or to unlock carrier restrictions and use an alternative mobile phone provider to those favoured by Apple.

The US Library of Congress, in a recent review of copyright rules, has now changed a 1998 position that banned phone owners from bypassing technical locks.

Jailbreakers go free

In a statement this week, Librarian of Congress James Billington said phone owners who jailbroke their phones would "not be subject to the statutory prohibition against circumvention."

Unsurprisingly, Apple opposed the latest revisions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), with the company claiming that hacked iPhones will be open to security holes and viruses.

"The Copyright Office recognizes that the primary purpose of the locks on cell phones is to bind customers to their existing networks, rather than to protect copyrights," noted Jennifer Granick of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

"We are thrilled to have helped free jailbreakers, unlockers and vidders from this law's overbroad reach," Granick added.

"By granting all of EFF's applications, the Copyright Office and Librarian of Congress have taken three important steps today to mitigate some of the harms caused by the DMCA."

Jailbreaking will let you add unauthorized apps to your iPhone. However, it should be made clear that should you jailbreak your phone, you will still void the warranty (and, potentially, and more importantly, cripple your iPhone's battery life!).

Via Yahoo/AFP