The Digital Millenium Copyright Act(DMCA) is a United States copyright law which makes it illegal to produce or disseminate methods(services, devices or technology) which bypass the protective measures(known are Digital Rights Management or DRM) which controls access to copyrighted works.

This DMCA includes the jailbreaking of iPhones.

In a recent hearing the Library of Congress deemed that the jailbreaking of iPhones should be allowed.

In the statement issued, the Library of Congress had this to say:

“Apple is not concerned that the practice of jailbreaking will displace sales of its firmware or of iPhones,” wrote the Register, explaining her thinking by running through the “four factors” of the fair use test. “Indeed, since one cannot engage in that practice unless one has acquired an iPhone, it would be difficult to make that argument. Rather, the harm that Apple fears is harm to its reputation. Apple is concerned that jailbreaking will breach the integrity of the iPhone’s ecosystem. The Register concludes that such alleged adverse effects are not in the nature of the harm that the fourth fair use factor is intended to address.”

Good news: Jailbroken iPhones are legal and Apple should continue to provide support to these phones.

Not so great news: Copyright issues have a 3 year hearing cycle. This issue will be brought again up before the DMCA in three and their interpretation on the issue may change.

Here’s the link to the Ars Technica article.