Yesterday, the Library of Congress announced that it had made jail-breaking legal. Apple tried to fight against the legalization, but the FCC stated that the act only worked to enhance the interoperability of the phone and was therefore in line with fair use policy.
While jail-breaking will no longer result in fines or jail time, the biggest deterrent still stands - warranty. It is VERY unlikely that companies like Apple will uphold product warranty after a device has been broken into.
So did this ruling really change anything? With a quick glance, you could easily say no. No one was being prosecuted for jail-breaking, so it looks like nothing has really changed. However, this isn't the whole picture. With legality issues out of the way, the arena opens up for more legitimate companies to come in and offer premium jail-breaking options and services (perhaps for a small fee and maybe even backed by their own warranty). This ruling may change everything we know about the market of smart phones, or it may change nothing at all. Only time will tell.