Finally, someone puts Big Brother in perspective

What Everyone Is Too Polite to Say About Steve Jobs http://m.gawker.com/5847344/what-everyone-is-too-polite-to-say-about-steve-jobs

Apple doesn’t stop there. It has a fearsome legal team that is not above annihilating smaller prey. In 2005, for example, the company sued 19-year-old blogger Nick Ciarelli for correctly reporting, prior to launch, the existence of the Mac Mini. The company did not back down until Ciarelli agreed to close his blog ThinkSecret forever. Last year, after our sister blog Gizmodo ran a video of a prototype iPhone 4, Apple complained to law enforcement, who promptly raided an editor’s home. And just last month, in the creepiest example of Apple’s fascist tendencies, two of Apple’s private security agents searched the home of a San Francisco man and threatened him and his family with immigration trouble as part of an scramble for a missing iPhone prototype. The man said the security agents were accompanied by plainclothes police and did not identify themselves as private citizens, lending the impression they were law enforcement officers.

There is a long history of this, and it’s going to get worse as Apple is one of the biggest abusers of our current broken patent system.

Big Brother loses one, ‘Jailbreaking’ iPhones legal, not felony

Apple loses bid to criminalize iPhone jailbreaking – Computerworld

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9179694/Apple_loses_bid_to_criminalize_iPhone_jailbreaking

“When one jailbreaks a smartphone in order to make the operating system on that phone interoperable with an independently created application that has not been approved by the maker of the smartphone or the maker of its operating system, the modifications that are made purely for the purpose of such interoperability are fair uses,” Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights, wrote in the ruling approved by Billington (download PDF).

UPDATE: Here’s an excellent link of the updates, a bit of history, and a list of the other exemptions. (thanks, Derek).  This is probably the biggest news for most.

You can rip your own DVDs, and nobody will stop you.

First, and arguably most importantly, is an exemption for DVDs you legally own, giving everyone (not just film and media studies majors!) the right to break DRM for the purposes of “short” use in both “documentary filmmaking” and original “noncommercial videos.” The first is rather specific, of course, but the broadness of the latter is impressive—although for now you can’t appropriate the entire film. But as long as you aren’t charging money for it or profiting off it, it’s noncommercial. So go ahead, rip and remix a scene from Inception so that it actually makes sense.

Now, to be sure, most of the informed tech folk already were doing this (and committing a felony each time), but it looks like they are in the clear now.  I don’t know of anybody who was prosecuted for this, but as far as common-sense exemptions go, this was at the top of the list.