Are you familiar with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act? I don’t blame you — it’s not all that easy to follow. And it just got a little more ridiculous. The DMCA makes it illegal for people to “circumvent” digital rights management….
Yesterday we covered a story that reminded us all, come this weekend, it will be illegal in the United States to unlock a cell phone without your carrier’s permission – or without buying the device unlocked in the first place….
A petition to make phone unlocking legal (again) has made its way to White House. It appears the President agrees with the rest of us, that unlocking cell phones should be legal.
On the White House website, an official response from the administration says they stand by “with the 114,000+ of you who believe consumers should be able to unlock their cellphones without risking criminal or other penalties.” The official response, written by R. David Edelan, White House Director of International Cyber Policy, continues on to state the policy should also pertain to tablets as long as you’ve paid for the device and are not tied to a contract, it should in turn be a device that you own, outright.
The Library of Congress, who we owe the pleasure for this kerfuffle, earlier today mentioned they are only authorized to establish or eliminate exceptions based on request submitted to the Librarian of Congress, they eliminated this exception from the original Digital Millenium Copyright Act based on the request. The Library of Congress stated they are bound by these protocols, which appears to be asking for more definitive legislation action on the part of Congress to pass laws stating one way or another.
The Obama Administration agrees that legislative action should take place along with FCC and carrier involvement. Stay tuned, the issue of unlocking phones seems to swinging in consumers’ favor.