Week in review: Jailbreaking goes legit

Copyright office says bypass is legal, while Wikileaks publishes classified documents on the war in Afghanistan. Also: New Apple desktops.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
3 min read

Jailbreaking your iPhone or other mobile device no longer violates federal copyright law.

The decision, imparted by the U.S. Copyright Office, said that bypassing a manufacturer's protection mechanisms to allow "handsets to execute software applications" is permissible.

The Copyright Office also allowed bypassing the anticopying technology used in DVDs, but only for "documentary filmmaking," noncommercial videos, and educational uses--a ruling that stopped short of allowing Americans to legally make a backup copy for their own use, in case the original DVD gets damaged. It also doesn't apply to making backup copies of video game discs or Blu-ray discs.

But in practice, the actual impact of that portion of the decision may be limited. To address some questions about this week's announcement by the Copyright Office, we created an FAQ.
•  On Call: Go ahead and jailbreak, it's legal now

More headlines

Wikileaks releases massive set of Afghan war files

Document-leaking group releases tens of thousands of classified files to newspapers including the U.K. Guardian, which calls it a "devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan.
•  Wikileaks' war files disclosure roils Washington
•  Transcript: State Dept. probes Wikileaks source
•  Transcript: Wikileaks Afghanistan docs 'alarming'

Expert: Critical system flaws a 'ticking time bomb'

Combining legacy SCADA systems that have their own weaknesses with Internet technologies is a dangerous mix for protecting systems that provide energy, water and other basic needs, Black Hat presenter says.
•  U.S. military cyberwar: What's off-limits?
•  Security researcher demonstrates ATM hacking
•  Black Hat shines light on security

Facebook launches Questions product in beta

After a sneak peek hit the Web this spring, Facebook has launched the product that may put it even more head-to-head with Twitter and even Google.
•  Ask returns to its Q&A roots

Apple updates iMac line, intros Magic Trackpad

Besides bringing Intel's Core i3, i5 and i7 processors to its iMacs, Apple also releases the Magic Trackpad, bringing the power of gestures to the Mac.
•  How the Magic Trackpad could be more magical

Yahoo Japan switches to Google search

In a victory for Google and defeat for Microsoft, Yahoo Japan has opted to use Google's search engine rather than Bing.

Amazon unveils new generation of Kindles

The online retailer will ship a smaller, lighter $189 Kindle with new features on August 27. A Wi-Fi-only version will cost only $139.
•  Will you buy the $139 Kindle Wi-Fi?
•  Amazon sells out of Kindle

Verizon users outpace iPhone users in data usage

Study shows Verizon smartphone customers using 25 percent more data per month than AT&T's iPhone customers, which are among the company's biggest data hogs.
•  A reality check on Jobs' 3G network complaint

Raising the stakes in social gaming

What does it mean when big tech companies are going nuts over game manufacturers that let people build virtual farms? Well, things start to get a little bit nutty, that's for sure.

Graphics chip market seeing big changes

As Nvidia falters, AMD's ATI graphics unit is on the rise, spurred by "radical" shifts in a notoriously fickle market.
•  AMD tops Nvidia in graphics chip shipments
•  Nvidia warns of second-quarter revenue shortfall

How much does cost matter in first wave of EVs?

Chevy Volt's $41,000 price tag caused some sticker shock, but the first buyers appear willing to pay. Will it lead to the mainstreaming of electric vehicles?
•  GM Chevy Volt on sale now for $41,000

YouTube bumps video limit to 15 minutes

Want to put videos longer than 10 minutes up on YouTube? It's now a reality, with a new 15-minute limit.

Also of note
•  Amazon friends Facebook to offer gift ideas
•  Justice Department sues Oracle, alleging fraud
•  VC confidence down after several up quarters
•  Daughter's Web site is clear: Do not vote for dad