The US government has extended the protections which allow users to "jailbreak" on purchased handsets.
The US Copyright Office on Friday granted extensions to a series of requests from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) which sought exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA.)
Under the agreement, users will be able to modify their handset and remove preinstalled access restrictions in order to install third party software on their devices. Such "jailbreak" procedures are done by users wanting to run software which is unavailable through traditional channels such as app stores.
"The DMCA creates a cloud of legal uncertainty over American consumers – whether they are tinkerers, artists, or just looking to make their gadgets work better," said Corynne McSherry, director of intellectual property for the EFF.
"The ruling from the Copyright Office today goes a long way towards mitigating some of the DMCA's most grievous harms."
Though the ruling will extend protections for handset vendors, the EFF came up short in other bids to extend the jailbreaking protection to gaming consoles and tablet devices. The Copyright Office declined to include those systems in its ruling.
While jailbreaking has become a popular practice with hobbyist users, handset vendors have advised users not to modify their devices, warning that such tampering could cause conflicts with firmware updates.
Other permissions extended by the ruling were the ability to post remixed videos on video sharing sites. The EFF successfully argued that such works are in fact original creations which do not infringe on copyrights content.
"Remix videos are thriving on YouTube and other sites, offering dynamic criticism and commentary on popular movies as well as popular culture," McSherry said.
"It's a great example of how new technologies foster free expression, yet the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA endanger these important works."
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