Jailbreaking iPhone Legal, U.S. Government Says

Jailbreaking, the EFF maintained, constitutes fair use of the firmware tied to the operating system.

Regulators agreed, declaring Monday that "the activity of an iPhone owner who modifies his or her iPhone's firmware/operating system in order to make it interoperable with an application that Apple has not approved, but that the iPhone owner wishes to run on the iPhone, fits comfortably within the four corners of fair use."

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said Apple won't change its policy that voids iPhone warranties if a phone has been jailbroken. "It can violate the warranty and cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably," she said.

Here is a how-to and legal primer on the issue.

Other exemptions to the DMCA announced Monday include:

*allow the unlocking of mobile phones to change carriers.

*allow the cracking of video game digital rights management controls to probe security flaws.

*allows the breaking of DVD encryption by professors, students and documentary makers so the clips can be used for education and commentary.

*allows the blind to circumvent locks on e-books to enable read-aloud features.

*allows the bypassing of broken or irreplaceable dongles.

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