What is "Legal"

This is a brief follow-up to the previous post.

There are some misleading headlines out there about the Librarian of Congress' new DMCA anti-circumvention exemptions announced today. Here's an example:

iPhone jailbreaking (and all cell phone unlocking) made legal

There is confusion about what the word "legal" means. "Legal" in this context refers to acts that will not subject the person who does them to civil or criminal liability. Today's new rules only decriminalize certain acts. Jailbreaking your phone may still subject you to civil liability. Therefore jailbreaking has not been "made legal" as the headline suggests. In fact, jailbreaking is unambiguously a breach of contract. [Warning: PDF link] It is illegal, and will subject you to civil liability under the contract. It may also lead (possibly or inevitably) to other acts which may be criminal under other provisions of law, including but not limited to copyright law.

Tom G Varik