The US Copyright Office continues to uphold the decision of jailbreaking iPhones as a legal practice while they rejected to declare a similar ruling for iPads.
In short, it is legal to jailbreak iPhones but jailbreaking iPads is illegal. This ruling holds true for all the phones and tablets other than the iPhones and iPads.
The US Copyright Office goes through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act every three years. According to the Federal Register, the category of tablet devices is complicated to define so it won’t be good if they allow an exemption for tablets just like the phones.
In addition to this, jailbreaking gaming consoles like PlayStation etc. is also illegal.
Another decision was related to unlocking phones, a practice that allows the smartphones to use any carrier of choice. While its still legal to unlock phones, the rules have become narrowed and it won’t last long. You have to need permission from your network carrier to legally unlock your device bought after Jan 2013.
Unlocking is comparatively not a big issue and with the introduction of iPhone 5 that supports carriers around the world, the practice of unlocking will eventually fade away. But jailbreaking is still popular and concerns many users.
It would be interesting to see how famous jailbreakers like MuscleNerd, Pod2g, P0sixninja and many more from the jailbreak community responds to this issue. Remember the famous iPhone Dev Team and Chronic Dev Team members respect the legal rules and they are found talking against the piracy. But the question is, are they going to release iPhone-only-jailbreaks after this decision ?
The decision came just before they were working on exploits for iOS 6 which will take some time to reach public. iPad Mini has also launched and it also falls under the category of tablets.
Jailbreaking, if defined in abstract terms, is a practice of removing the limitation on the device using software or hardware exploits that allows you to install additional softwares, apps, extensions etc. which usually the device maker does not allow.
The term “Jailbreak” is popular for iOS devices while other platforms have other names for it. Developers first spent months to develop a new exploit and they release it in the form of some software like Redsn0w, Absinthe etc. that allows users to inject Cydia, an unofficial app store for iOS devices.