New Gov't Rules Allow Unapproved iPhone Apps

Apple iPhone
Manuel Balce Ceneta
Apple iPhone

Owners of the iPhone will be able to break electronic locks on their devices in order to download applications that have not been approved by Apple.The government is making that legal under new rules announced Monday.

The decision to allow Apple iPhone users to practice "jailbreaking" is one of a handful of new exemptions from a federal law that prohibits the circumvention of technical measures that control access to copyrighted works.

In addition to jailbreaking, other exemptions announced Monday would:

  • allow owners of used cell phones to break access controls on their phones in order to switch wireless carriers.
  • allow people to break technical protections on video games to investigate or correct security flaws.
  • allow college professors, film students and documentary filmmakers to break copy-protection measures on DVDs so they can embed clips for educational purposes, criticism, commentary and noncommercial videos.
  • allow computer owners to bypass the need for external security devices called dongles if the dongle no longer works and cannot be replaced.

Every three years, the Library of Congress authorizes such exemptions to ensure that existing law does not prevent non-infringing use of copyrighted material.