The US Library of Congress has announced exceptions to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The DMCA, which became law a couple of years ago, made it illegal to circumvent copy protection for any reason, making the act of doing so–even for personal use–punishable by substantial fines and jail time. The new exceptions include one of great interest to Apple II users.It is now legal, once again, to circumvent copy protection if the software and the hardware are both obsolete (meaning no longer reasonably available in the marketplace). Since the Apple II is long-discontinued, along with most older Apple II software, this applies to nearly all Apple II software.

This does not make it legal to pirate computer software. It does, however, mean it’s once again legal to make personal backups of copy-protected Apple II software, and, more importantly, you can now create non-protected copies of Apple II software so you can run them in an emulator.

This is great news for Apple II users and emulator users. To read the full text of the Library of Congress regulation, click here.