Library of Congress Rulings Greenlight Device Jailbreaking

Vehicle owners, security experts and enthusiasts can now legally tinker with their gadgets due to several exemptions granted by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) this week.

Car companies predictably are not pleased with this action was previously banned in Section 1201 of the DCMA and car companies routinely threaten legal actions against violators.

Well, not anymore.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) had previously requested that people be allowed to inspect and modify software in their cars. This is necessary for many reasons, most importantly, to discover abnormalities hidden within software code, according to the EFF. Recently, Volkswagen announced that it will start recalling cars that basically cheated U.S. emissions testing in January, a move that will affect in excess of 11 million vehicles worldwide. The car manufacturer had installed “defeat devices” within software that produced sham environmentally friendly results when tested.

This move is even more urgent in light of recent cybersecurity threats, and vehicle owners should be able to access vulnerabilities within vehicles they operate.

Video games are not exempt from the scope of the rulings since people can now legally modify games after the publishers ends support. For instance, the games may be modified so that they do not have to connect with an authentication server in order to operate, news that affects online-only gaming the most.

The exemption for jailbreaking smartphones was expanded to include smartwatches and tablets. Also, the rule for noncommercial remix videos has been expanded to allow people legally use clips from Blu-Ray discs, DVDs or downloading services.