Share this Story

Library of Congress Wants You to Root Your Android Phone

The Library of Congress put out some interesting new exemptions today which include giving users the right to root/hack/jailbreak their phones, run them on another carrier, and install whatever “lawfully obtained” apps or software they choose to.  Seriously…

Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.

Can I get a “Library of Congress FTW!”  (Professional, I know.)

You have to doubt that this will have any impact on Motorola’s decision to lock down their devices, but you may have some sort of action available to you should you choose to tamper with your Droid X and end up bricking it.  After all, you have the right to crack that bootloader!

Update: OK, that was a little over-dramatic: I just got caught up in the moment.  Please do not go crack on your DX.  As many of you have pointed out in the comments, Motorola still has the right to do as they please with their products.

Via:  Engadget, Apple Insider

  • oldman

    A lot of people have missed a valuable point when you buy the hardware it is your hardware, you may do as you please with something you own, short of a crime…

    It is criminal that companies believe they know more about what “we” wish to do or accomplish on our devices than we do.

    Stop buying from manufactures that lock you out.. and will make the point far better than than any judiciary determination, as most of do not have the resources to fight Big Red or Big M in court, but not buying the devices will go along way..

    If I were sure T-Mobile was not going to get bought up by AT&T I would leave Verizon…

  • Rooting is no longer illegal. Jailbreaking phones is now legal thanks to EFF copyright victory ,VentureBeat Also, rooting and Android phone falls under this. Jailbreak and Rooting Legal! | Android Tapp. Android App Reviews

  • Jen

    has anyone or does anyone know if it is possible to root the droid eris?

  • Jen

    has anyone or does anyone know if it is possible to root the droid eris?

  • For the most part this is a no-op, IMHO. I doubt trying to prosecute criminal charges via the DMCA for rooting/unlocking a phone would have ever stuck… The only benefit it brings us, the user, is that it takes away the ability of manufacturers and carriers to threaten people with (unenforceable) criminal charges.

    The rooting stuff will stay in contract law which is where, in a FREE country, it belongs. So, Apple/Moto will still lock phones, it'll still be a violation of your contract to do so, etc. It just won't be a CRIME which in a SANE world it never would have been in the first place.

    It's sort of like, if the government issued a provision to some clothing manufacturing law saying hat makers couldn't file criminal charges against people who wear their baseball hats sideways. It's like why are you guys excited? This was repugnant to begin with.

  • venomX0125


  • Now if only Congress could outlaw tiering 4G data. {{-_-}}

  • I'm going on my 3rd droid and tomorrow after i get home from work i am going to once again root my droid 😀 Cyanogen here we come, hopefully this time my screen better not burnout/black out.. but i must say its been run the past few days using my phone in the sun and at night with a flashlight :/

  • Ryan C

    dang! this was always like “ha guess what i did!… i rooted! take that *[insert company name here]*.. na na na na nahhh!” you know.. sticking it to the man, but now its like oh yeah no big deal. I got the Library Of Congress on my side tellin me its ok to do it!!

  • Karl

    I have Milestone and I love it, but it will be the last time I buy anything from Motorola. their Apple-like action is turning me off… they not only locking the phone, it is rumor that they are not going to make Android 2.2 available for Milestone just because they have stopping manufacturing Droid 1. it means that Milestone is not far behind. it seems they don't want to spend anymore resource on the phone they don't manufacture. They have no concept of building fans base, like Apple does. They do not know the concept of profit thru repeated business…with that kind of corporate culture, i am not surprised when Motorola is not doing well as a whole.

  • Jeff

    My Droid 1 has been rooted since mid June and my Droid X arrives tomorrow. I'm probably going to leave the X alone for now 🙂 (Famous last words)

  • Spark


  • nick o

    USA USA USA well i guess the droid invasion scared the gov. a little bit.

  • jahpickney

    What is a compatible kernel for cynogen mod 6.0 rc2?

  • Well if the government says so…

  • JosueD

    Lmao, Thanks for the update

  • joesred

    I am sooooo scared to root my Droid X….
    Bricking warnings of earlier posts?
    Anyone got got a shot and a beer…and a coin to flip

    • Chris Nimon

      sure but its got heads on both sides lol

    • Brian

      Go ahead and root your DroidX its so easy just dont deleate any blur apps you can always unroot. I rooted my Droid and now my DroidX I was more nervous with rooting my DroidX with all the talks about bricking and being my frist time using ADB. Since then I rooted and unrooted my DroidX three times with no problems just dont do a factory reset wipe. Matter fact im using barnacle WIFI tether right now.
      Good luck and happy rooting.

  • America, F*** Yeah!!

    • Droidzilla

      Rooted Droids? F#*K YEAH!

    • Anonymous

      Coming to root your motherf**kin’ Droid, yeah!

  • Remember Motorola's response to the bootloader was go get a nexus well now the nexus is no longer for sale …

  • RevolutionX

    Off the subject but now that DroidX is rooted, can the wifi tether for root users app be used just like on Droid 1???

    • Timmah

      Yes sir!

    • nick o

      yes mam for that matter lol!

  • saimin

    The fine print says it is not illegal to try to root your phone, so carriers can't sue you for doing this. However, carriers can legally brick your phone if you try it.

    Also, while you can legally run your phone on another carrier, you are still legal liable for the 2 year contract you signed with the original carrier.

  • EC8CH

    Well I'm proud to be an American, where the LOC set smart phones free!

    • Droidzilla

      And I won't forget the Droids who bricked for folks like you an' me!

      • EC8CH

        And I'll gladly boot up, custom ROM's each and every day…

        • Droidzilla

          'Cause there ain't no doubt I love FroYo, God bless AOSP!

        • cuz there aint no doubt i love this phone…god bless droid alone? hard to make it rhyme lol

        • Timmah

          God Bless The L.O.C..

          • Yep, that was pretty epic, guys.

            +3 internets to you all.

  • I think they should also specify that if you brick your phone whether or not you can get a new one because apparently it's confusing everyone including myself.

    • Droidzilla

      I'll specify for them: if you brick your phone through rooting, you are not entitled to any coverage under the manufacturer's warranty. Just because it's legal doesn't mean they have to cover it.

      For example: it's legal to purposefully throw your phone against a wall hard enough to break it, or purposely throw your phone into a toilet and then urinate on it. Just because those things are legal does not mean that Motorola has to provide coverage against phones damaged due to excessive urine.

      It's legal to root your phone, but it's still your risk. You just can't be held criminally liable for doing so.

  • Droidzilla

    Motorola can, of course, still void your warranty and lock their bootloader. Freedom cuts both ways: we are free to root, hack, mod, and brick our devices to our hearts' content because we own the device, but Motorola (and anyone else) is free to lock down bootloaders, deny warranty coverage, etc. because it's their product. Congress can no more limit their ability to develop a device as they please (and implement “precautionary measures,” like locked bootloaders, as they please) than they can limit your ability to load custom ROMs.*

    *Or, rather Congress OUGHT NOT be able to limit these things; what they should do and what they can do are often two very disparate things.

  • I think im gunna wait for the 2 Ghz Motorola phone (hopefully a Droid) coming this winter instead of getting the Droid X

    • DarthVader

      I'm wondering how the battery will be on those bigger proc… Gonna need an ultra, extended, mega capacity battery.

  • Sweet! Thats two sets of good news in one day, neither of which deals with abnormally sized men….kinda makes me feel like riverdancing!

  • Let All Those “Nervous Nelly's” Start Rooting Their Phone…Join The Dark Side =)

  • nkhex19

    Library of Congress FTW!!!

  • guitarbedlam

    Does that mean that rooting can no longer void your warranty?

    • Droidzilla

      No. Motorola still has the right to say what they will and will not cover under their warranty.

      This is more of a shot against the iphone, as Steve Jobs tried to make a case for jailbreaking being illegal. Not against the EULA, not a breach of contract, not a violation of the ToS; illegal.

      He's such a freakin' elitist tool.

      • guitarbedlam

        Looking forward to Jobs' response, nonetheless.

        • Droidzilla

          Oh, likewise. It ought to be classic, knowing his toolbox, fascist ways. He actually tried to argue that jailbroken iphones presented a security/terrorism threat last year. Idiot.

  • tjpeco

    “but you may have some sort of action available to you should you choose to tamper with your Droid X and end up bricking it.”

    Unfortunately, I don't think you'll have much of a case. While there's nothing Motorola can do LEGALLY to keep you from tampering or “hacking” – as the community likes to call it – your droid X, this decision does not enable you to some kind of “right” to a new phone when you break it.

    I often make the analogy to buying a new car, and then taking it off the lot – and straight to your lift. You swap out the engine and then find that its broken. The car wont work. Whether through mechanical incompetence or some deviously devilish design of the automobile manufacturer, it just wont work. In your hatred of your misfortune, you cannot tow the thing back to the dealership say “its broken lolz” and expect them to roll out a shiny new one for you right off the show room floor.

    What this essentially means is that there is little LEGAL recourse for the manufacturers to take upon an enterprising programmer who cracks open the guts of their device.

  • El El Kool J

    maybe “Library of Congress FTW!” liked the little superuser Military dude…lol.. he's using his right to bare arms 😛

  • At a quick glance, this doesn't give you any action against Motorola if you brick your phone, nor should there be one in my opinion. Motorola has a right to release the product as they wish to release it, and if you damage it on your own, it would be a legal nightmare to hold them responsible – there's no right to root. That being said, my Droid is happily running Sapphire!

  • Jamerson90

    I think its more of a stab at AT&T (Iphone and android) and their decision to lock down their devices from installing 3rd party apps (With some of the Root/hack thrown in). AT&T's constant decision to lock down devices is getting a little out of hand when they remove standard options from an OS

    • Droidzilla

      I'm all for AT&T having the right to lock down their devices (which they do); I'll just avoid AT&T for this reason (that and their crappy network). This was a resolution against Steve Jobs. He was arguing for jailbreaking to be declared illegal. Ridiculous.

      Before this, it was a bit of a grey area. Now, you definitively, legally have the right to jailbreak/root your device. It's kind of ridiculous as our nation was built around the concept that you have a right until and unless it's expressly prohibited; we're moving to a point where you don't have a right until and unless it's expressly allowed. But that's a bit off topic.

  • planetes42

    I'm confused….since when is the Library of Congress a law-making/exemptions granting entity?

    • empeee

      They get to review the terms of the DMCA every three years.

    • poeddroiduser

      I had the same thought. A little research uncovers…

      The Library of Congress, which oversees the Copyright Office, has ruled that jailbreaking a smartphone amounts to “fair uses.” Copyright Office oversee the guidelines for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

      • planetes42

        Well then, how about that. Thanks for the research!

  • carriers are goin to jack up the phone price.

  • big007hed

    I love that the Library of Congress actually spent time on this lol

    oh yeah…… Library of Congress FTW!!!!

  • JoeBlow

    I think someone in Congress with a Droid X should stand up on the podium and say will someone please decrypt this bootloader…. we made it legal !

  • Finally. Congress gets something right. Cheers to you old dudes.

  • Justin

    I always said.. its your FN problem if you brick your phone tampering with it. So let us do what the F we want to them and stop trying to “save us” from ourselves!

  • g35

    Library of Congress FTW!!!!

  • Library of Congress FTW
    Library of Congress FTW
    Library of Congress FTW!!!!

  • Tyler

    if only they'll unlock it…

    • Erhearth

      I agree, it would make things so much easier.

  • No


    • Justin

      FIRST to say who cares

      • Droidzilla

        FIRST to say SPAM and Vegemite make a good combo.