The US Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a prime example of legislation that was either extremely poorly thought out, designed to solely served the purpose of a particular industry group to the determent of the people (who elected the legislators), or both.
The US news is abuzz this morning that the Library of Congress added exemptions for unlocking cell phones, including jailbreaking an iPhone and rooting an Android, as well as circumventing of the DVD CSS encryption by certain people like film students et al. From Wired.com:
- allow the unlocking of mobile phones to change carriers.
- allow the cracking of video game digital rights management controls to probe security flaws.
- allow the breaking of DVD encryption by professors, students and documentary makers so the clips can be used for education and commentary.
- allow the blind to circumvent locks on e-books to enable read-aloud features.
- allow the bypassing of broken or irreplaceable dongles.
The US was used as an example in the SIM locking debate. Now that the US government has expressly added DMCA exemptions to cover unlocking and jailbreaking, this will only make unlocking in Japan more likely.
In a recent conversation with some people in the Japanese cell industry, I was reminded how government guidelines in Japan actually work: while it may be a voluntary guideline, everyone is expected to comply. Of course there will be debate and concessions, though.