Apple likes to maintain tight control over what programs can appear on the iPhone–a task that just became a little bit harder, reports the New York Times: The Library of Congress, which has the power to define exceptions to an important copyright law, said on July 26 that it was legal for users to bypass a phone’s controls on what software it will run to get “lawfully obtained” programs to work. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit digital rights group, had asked for that exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to allow the so-called “jailbreaking” of iPhones and other devices. “This is a really important victory for iPhone owners,” said Corynne McSherry, a senior staff lawyer with the foundation. “People who want to tinker with their phones and move outside of the Applesphere now have the ability to legally do that.” The issue has been a topic of debate between Apple, which says it has the right to control the software on its devices, and technically adept users who want to customize their phones as they see fit. In a legal filing last year with the United States Copyright Office, which is part of the Library of Congress, Apple argued that altered phones infringed on its copyrights because they used modified versions of Apple’s operating system. Apple also said that altering the phones encouraged the pirating of applications, exposed iPhones to security risks, and taxed the company’s customer support staff. But iPhone hobbyists say they simply want to have free range to use certain features and programs on their phones that Apple has limited or failed to offer…

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About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura