"Tinkerers will now have an easier time modifying and repairing electronic devices.
On Thursday, the US Copyright Office made some big changes to the legal exemptions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The changes will enable the repair community to legally fix, hack or modify people's electronic devices. The new rules go into effect Sunday.
The Library of Congress is tasked with reviewing the DMCA every three years. The law was originally written to protect the movie industry from piracy. During the review process, the library spells out explicit exemptions, and this year it made several new exemptions to Section 1201.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Section 1201 made it illegal "to circumvent the computer code that prevents copying or modifying in most software-controlled products -- which nowadays includes everything from refrigerators and baby monitors to tractors and smart speakers." Some companies use copyrighted software or so-called digital locks to prevent consumers or independent repair people from making changes to devices.
iFixit founder Kyle Wiens, who petitioned the Library of Congress in April, explained in a blog post that under the new exemptions:
Copyright Office rules in favor of your right to repair your own phone - CNET