July 29, 2021

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In support of the legality of rooting

As the Exploiteers, we believe in both open software and open hardware. We’ve worked tirelessly to come up with roots for all sorts of devices, and software modifications to make these rooted devices more awesome.

We are convinced that this is a good thing, and to ensure that we (and others) can continue to do awesome hacks, we are participating in the political process to ensure full control of your devices is legal in the United States.

One of the more pesky laws governing digital devices and their security is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. It criminalizes breaking electronic locks for copyrighted works – which might include things such as the firmware update mechanism for your smart TV. The authors of the law recognized that there are reasons to circumvent digital locks that aren’t copyright infringement, and made an exemption process to formally recognize valid reasons to circumvent these locks. The exemption process happens every three years, with the US Copyright Office evaluating proposed exemptions. One of the newly proposed exemptions (by the Software Freedom Conservancy) this year is “Jailbreaking—Smart TVs”, which is a category we have a lot of experience with.

As a group of people who encounter these kind of locks every day, we submitted a comment through the comment process to advocate for formally stating that jailbreaking / rooting of smart TVs and streaming media players is legal in the US. We strongly support all of our users watching the content they want and running the apps they choose on whatever device they may own.

View the comment we submitted below, or as a PDF!