Reminder: Unlocking Cell Phones Becomes Illegal this Week
We've always had our concerns about the ridiculous DMCA "exemptions" process concerning circumvention of digital locks. If you don't know, the DMCA has a strict anti-circumvention rule, that says breaking digital locks such as DRM, is itself a violation of copyright law, even if the purpose of the lock-breaking does not infringe on anyone's copyright.
As a sort of "pressure valve" every three years, people can "apply" to the Librarian of Congress for exemptions to that rule.
This, of course, is completely ridiculous and backwards. We need to apply, once every three years, to use legally purchased products the way we want to without it being considered illegal? That's crazy. But it's the way things are set up, and it can lead to some bizarre scenarios.
As we explained last year when the latest round of exemptions was announced, the Librarian of Congress took away the exemption for unlocking your phone... but provided a 90 day window.
That window ends on Sunday. In other words, unlocking your phone on Saturday: legal. Unlocking your phone on Sunday: you probably just broke the law. As the EFF properly notes, this is not what copyright law is supposed to be about:
"Arguably, locking phone users into one carrier is not at all what the DMCA was meant to do. It's up to the courts to decide."
I don't even think there's anything "arguable" about it. Copyright law has no business being involved in deciding whether or not my phone can be unlocked. It's silly that this is an issue. It's silly that there needed to be an exemption in the first place. And it's silly that this exemption is being taken away. It's for things like this that people lose respect for copyright law.
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