Many smartphone and tablet users, whether on the iPhone or Android, prefer to jailbreak or root their devices in order to better customize them. But not all device makers agree with these practices, and jailbreaking and rooting have been frowned upon. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said in a blog post on Thursday that it wants to keep these procedures legal, as “jailbreaking is not a crime.”

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The EFF this week filed a petition with the Librarian of Congress and Copyright Office “to extend and expand the exemption that allows you to ‘jailbreak’ your phone from those restrictions, without running afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).”

EFF has already obtained such exemptions in 2010 and 2012, “but thanks to the frustrating way DMCA exemptions are considered, groups like EFF have to return to the Copyright Office and Librarian of Congress every three years and argue the case anew.”

Jailbreaking or rooting a device might be important for users from a security point of view, the EFF argues. “It may be a necessary step before installing security updates after a device has stopped being supported by the manufacturer. In other cases, it may help users install accessibility software that allows them to use a device despite disabilities,” the group said.

EFF further added that copyright law shouldn’t have any impact on jailbreaking phones, but that’s not the case. “Many folks find it strange that copyright law has anything to say about jailbreaking phones and tablets. It seems intuitive that copyright law shouldn’t put severe limits on how we use the devices we own. But because so much of our technology relies on a layer of software—and because that software is usually copyrighted—the law has a foothold that can be used and abused to increase manufacturer control of secondary uses and markets, and to discourage competition,” the EFF said.

The full exemption request is available at the source links below.

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