Breaking Out of Section 1201(a) Liability: Why Jailbreaking the iPhone Constitutes Fair Use Under Copyright
11 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2009 Last revised: 6 Apr 2009
Date Written: April 1, 2009
This essay evaluates whether utilizing substantial portions of Apple's copyrighted iPhone firmware in third-party programs, without permission, constitutes a fair use under copyright law. Provided it does, the question then becomes whether the Librarian of Congress should grant a proposed exception to section 1201(a), which would allow programmers to circumvent technological access controls which prevent users from installing third-party programs on their iPhones - a practice known as "jailbreaking." Because section 1201(a) permits an exemption to the anti-circumvention statute only when "non-infringing uses" are likely to be stifled, the decision whether jailbreaking is a fair use or a prohibited use can be dispositive of the outcome.
Keywords: Copyright, Fair Use, Jailbreaking, iPhone, 1201(a), Librarian of Congress, Anti-Circumvention
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