The Digital Millenium Copyright Act is a thorn in the side of exploration and freedom of use. It effectively criminalizes using owned works/software outside of normal/intended means. For example, if you buy a song on iTunes and it is protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM): it is locked to your account, your computer, and only to a number of devices that support playing it, iTunes, iPods, and perhaps a few other devices. You are also restricted to burning the album or songs to a limited number, 3 or 5 CDs or so. CDs don’t last. I’ve had to purchase my favorite albums a number of times, despite my immaculate care, they became unplayable. The music purchased can only be used in the way they want. Want to remix it? You’ll have to get a different version or illegally free it from DRM. Want to play it on a non-Apple/non-iTunes device, same thing. While it’s easy to circumvent the processes in place, it is technically prohibited. Additionally, as far as I can tell, there is no easy way to resell music.
The latest DMCA news involves the Apple iPhone. There’s a world of uses for the iPhone some of which may only be discovered or tapped into if used outside of its design/intended purpose. Jailbreaking could lead to illegal actions, but jailbreaking shouldn’t be illegal. If one were inclined they could download applications without paying for them, that’s obviously illegal. However still considered illegal would be connecting wirelessly to printers or finding ways to make it more efficient and user-friendly. I bet one could turn the iPhone into a full-blown computer, simply by installing a full operating system and connecting it to a monitor and keyboard. Maybe the iPhone would be great for checking in books and scanning shelves via RFID. However, you’d have to install an RFID scanner and software onto the phone. Perhaps the only way to do that would be via jailbreak.