Thursday, December 4, 2008

Remixers, Unlockers, Jailbreakers, Oh My!

I thought this was an interesting development. EFF submitted two petitions to the copyright office. They are after DMCA exemption of a few specific technology related activities, remixing, unlocking cell phones, and jailbreaking phones such as the iPhone.

The exemption for remixing covers ripping DVDs for remixing purposes. Fair use. Currently, once someone rips a DVD, the DMCA gets angry and jumps the gun by saying that that person broke the law without determining if the use was fair or illegal. The petition is to protect these people and actions so that the creators on websites such as youtube and vidders are still free to create.

Unlocking cell phones is a different subject. Cell phone companies lock their phones so they can only be used with their service and to protect their copyrighted material. So a phone that you got from AT&T won't work if you want to switch to Verizon or Alltel. They do this to discourage people from switching networks and it slows competition between carriers. Thousands of phones, because of this, end up in dumps and landfills because they can't be used with a different carrier. Unlocking these phones would allow for easier recycling.

Jailbreaking is like unlocking, but it applies to phones with applications, like the iPhone. Many iPone owners have already 'jailbroken' their phones so they can recieve apps from places other than the app store that Apple provides. I think I read somewhere that Amazon has made one or a few apps for the iPone..

The cell phone exemption petition would allow people to play with the stuff they bought, 'tinkering' is used in the article. The locks on the devices limit freedom with something you rightfully own because you paid for it.

The Copyright Office is supposed to announce the determinations in October of 2009..

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