Owners of the iPhone will be able to legally unlock their devices so they can run software applications that haven’t been approved by Apple, according to new government rules announced Monday.
The “Associated Press” reports (http://macosg.me/2/lk) that the decision to allow the practice commonly known as “jailbreaking” is one of a handful of new exemptions from a 1998 federal law that prohibits people from bypassing technical measures that companies put on their products to prevent unauthorized uses. The Library of Congress, which oversees the Copyright Office, reviews and authorizes exemptions every three years to ensure that the law does not prevent certain non-infringing uses of copyright-protected material.
The new government rules, however, won’t stop Apple from continuing its practice of disabling jailbroken phones with software upgrades, notes the “AP.” That means owners of such phones might not be able to take advantage of software improvements, and they still run the risk of voiding their warranty. All the new rules do is exempt the user from legal liability.