Woah. This is big.
You know how the DMCA says it’s illegal to, say, crack the DRM on a DVD – that you bought and paid for – so that you can watch it on your iPod? And you know how that seems, ya’ know, totally insane? Well it seems someone out there has seen the light.
As reported by Crunchgear, the U.S. Copyright Office has reviewed the exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and has decreed that there are now six legitimate exceptions:
1. Defeating a lawfully obtained DVD’s encryption for the sole purpose of short, fair use in an educational setting or for criticism
2. Computer programs that allow you to run lawfully obtained software on your phone that you otherwise would not be able to run aka Jailbreaking to use Google Voice on your iPhone
3. Computer programs that allow you to use your phone on a different network aka Jailbreaking to use your iPhone on T-Mobile
4. Circumventing video game encryption (DRM) for the purposes of legitimate security testing or investigation
5. Cracking computer programs protected by dongles when the dongles become obsolete or are no longer being manufactured
6. Having an ebook be read aloud (is for the blind) even if that book has controls built into it to prevent that sort of thing.
I’m sure you’ll notice how these things sound so oddly… reasonable. You can buy a phone, hate the service, and then unlock it to switch providers. You can copy a DVD for your own use. You can crack an ebook to be read aloud so a blind person can enjoy it. Crazy!
Perhaps the craziest thing is that these were ever illegal in the first place. Sure, we’re all slowly getting used to the new world of the web – but hurting regular people in favor of corporations is never a good thing. It’s great news to see that someone has finally recognized this.