Yesterday, October 26th, the Librarian of Congress listed out their new exemptions to the DCMA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). Hang on to your seats folks, this news is really awesome, especially since it is news that effects us as Android owners that love to tinker with out handsets. According to the filing, which will now remain unchanged for the next three years, states that the unlocking smartphones will remain legal under a couple of certain circumstances. When it comes to rooting and jailbreaking your device though, you are good to go, it is entirely legal.
When it comes to unlocking a device to put it on a new carrier,that is a bit more confusing than it really needs to be. If you purchase a handset directly from a carrier, and then you unlock it within 90 days of the original purchase, you are entirely within your rights to unlock it and put it on a new carrier. Here’s the catch though: if you decide to purchase a handset after January of 2013, it is not legal to unlock such a handset unless it is specifically allowed by the carrier. It is definitely really weird, but whatever the case, if you plan on traveling, you might want to get your device unlocked right now!
On the topic of rooting and customer software. If you want to root your phone and then flash AOKP or even the widely known CyanogenMod, according to the newly updated list, you should have nothing to worry about.
Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute lawfully obtained software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications with computer programs on the telephone handset.
Also what was found in the filing is that tablets are no longer able to be unlocked unless that is allowed by the manufacturer themselves. I’m fairly curious if going to the manufacture is always the case (e.g. if you so decide to buy a tablet straight through a carrier). This is what is on the record:
Found significant merit to the opposition’s concerns that this aspect of the proposed class was broad and ill-defined, as a wide range of devices might be considered ‘tablets,’ notwithstanding the significant distinctions among them in terms of the way they operate, their intended purposes, and the nature of the applications they can accommodate. For example, an e-book reading device might be considered a ‘tablet,’ as might a handheld video game device or a laptop computer.
All of that said, unless you are receiving any sort of special permission or consent from the manufacturer and/or carrier to unlock tablets or unlocking phones for other carriers, you are going to have to go ahead and ask for permission. Of course, there is always going to be those select people who just don’t care. If you would like to read a more in-depth explanation on the new exemptions, you can hit the source link below as that should get you up to speed on everything. Some of this is definitely pretty disappointing, but other things are rather awesome, such as being able to root and put custom software on your handset legally (although, I originally thought rooting and custom software was made legal a couple of years ago along with the unlocking of the device).
Are you happy with this new move, or would you have rather everything just remained untouched? Whatever the case, if you’ve been waiting to root and flash your device with custom software, make sure to go read our guide on how to do such a thing to your handset! Just having that information may be useful to you as well.