On Monday, the U.S Copyright Office ruled that jailbreaking an iPhone or other mobile device will no longer violate federal copyright law. Some iPhone owners no doubt cheered the news, and I join them in supporting the decision.
"Jailbreak" entered the wireless lexicon soon after the iPhone first went on sale in 2007. Though some CNET readers have asked me if jailbreaking is the same as unlocking a handset, it's actually a different process. When you jailbreak an iPhone, you remove the Apple-imposed restrictions that prevent you from loading applications not sold through the iTunes App Store. Unlocking, on the other hand, only removes the restrictions that tie your iPhone to AT&T. So on the same phone, you can perform just one action or, if you prefer, both.
I welcome the decision because I've always advocated for giving customers as many choices as possible. Yes, I understand that jailbreaking carriers some risks--you void your warranty and you could wind up with a bricked phone if you're not careful--but those risks, rather than breaking the law, should be the only consequences that consumers should face. … Read more