That’s right, go ahead and jailbreak that iPhone — it’s legal now! Today marked a great day not only for smartphone users and PC gamers, but also for educators and the disabled!!

As many news sources reported today, the U.S. government has approved six new rules that are exempt from 1998’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). More important than the rule that allows users to jailbreak their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Evo, etc… is the rule that allows amateurs and educators to use short video clips for noncommercial and educational purposes.

Motion pictures on DVDs that are lawfully made and acquired and that are protected by the Content Scrambling System when circumvention is accomplished solely in order to accomplish the incorporation of short portions of motion pictures into new works for the purpose of criticism or comment, and where the person engaging in circumvention believes and has reasonable grounds for believing that circumvention is necessary to fulfill the purpose of the use in the following instances:
(i) Educational uses by college and university professors and by college and university film and media studies students;
(ii) Documentary filmmaking;
(iii) Noncommercial videos

So what does this mean? Well for starters it means that people can post their video mash-ups on YouTube without worrying whether or not they will be taken down for breaking copyright law. It also means that the Center for Social Media has some updating to do! Overall, this new rule give us (the consumers) more freedom to actively participate in media as producers. This is definitely a change I can believe in.

Another new rule I can rally behind is the ability to break open eBooks if they don’t support being read by screen readers.

Literary works distributed in ebook format when all existing ebook editions of the work (including digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain access controls that prevent the enabling either of the book’s read-aloud function or of screen readers that render the text into a specialized format.

This means that blind people can unlock their eBooks and use them with read-aloud software without fear of legal action. This is great news for the blind or visually impaired and overall, a step in the right direction for ensuring that technologies are truly accessible to all. Kudos to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)!


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  1. Footenotes » Blog Archive » The Round-Up Where I…You Get the Idea on August 2, 2010 9:56 am

    […] Community Facilitator Sarah Morgano @Sarah_Morgano posted this week about some court directed changes to the DMCA that make me think that maybe, just maybe, somebody in Washington has a grasp on how […]

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