Regardless of how one feels about the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) as a whole, it’s clear that the Copyright Office's recent rulemaking process has appropriately further limited the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision. In February 2009, New Media Rights submitted comments in support of these changes that have now been enacted.
The Office's ruling attempted to clarify the DMCA's prohibition on “circumventing” digital rights management (DRM) and “other technical protection measures” -- a prohibition that, up until now, has given Apple the theoretical right to intimidate iPhone users with “jailbroken” phones with legal action. The Office ruled that this jailbreaking does not constitute violation of the DMCA. Although Apple has never prosecuted any iPhone jailbreaker under the DMCA, Apple did strongly object to any exemption to the anti-circumvention rule. This has led many general interest news sources to label these recent exemptions as a victory specific to iPhone jailbreakers which isn’t true. The victory is a broader one, for cell phone users, video remix artists, documentarians, and educators, among others.