The United States Librarian of Congress has ruled that jailbreaking tablet devices is illegal (but jailbreaking smartphones is OK). Tablet and smartphone manufacturers tie their devices to their own online stores in order to generate cash. This practice is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Librarian of Congress has the power to grant exceptions to DMCA – and the did just that with regards to smartphones. The closed nature of the devices with respect to eBooks in particular, sparked the exception that made jailbreaking smartphones legal. However, the Librarian said that the definition of a tablet device wasn’t specific enough to allow for the exception to be extended to devices such as the Ipad.
The exception to DMCA:
“permits the circumvention of computer programs on mobile phones to enable interoperability of non-vendor approved software applications (often referred to as “jailbreaking”), but does not apply to tablets – as had been requested by proponents – because the record did not support it.”