The Electronic Frontier Foundation — cyberspace's version of the ACLU — recently filed several motions with the US Copyright Office, at least two of which directly affect that cell phone, smart or otherwise, hanging on your hip.
One motion asked for an exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in connection to video remixers, who rip and re-edit commercially-available DVD content for creative and/or comedic effect, and then post their work on Youtube. While the suits in Hollywood takes the view that "ripping" DVDs is always a violation of the DMCA, regardless of purpose, the EFF seeks to protect those whose remixes are done for non-commercial purposes.
A second exemption request — one that targets iPhones directly — addresses the jailbreaking/pwnage practice.
The third exemption request is actually a renewal of an exemption previously granted for unlocking cell phones so they may be used on other wireless networks. As per the EFF, "Carriers have threatened cell phone unlockers under the DMCA to protect
their anti-competitive business models, even though there is no
copyright infringement involved in the unlocking. Instead, the digital
locks on cell phones make it harder to resell, reuse, or recycle the
And for those who don't believe the wheels of justice grind slow: public comments regarding
proposed exemptions will be accepted through February 2, 2009. After that, the
Copyright Office will then hold hearings in Washington, DC and
California in Spring 2009, with the final rulemaking order to be issued in
[Via the EFF's official website]