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Old 01-28-2013, 09:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unlocking Your Cell Phone Will Soon Be Illegal

Unlocking Your Cell Phone Will Soon Be Illegal | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

Starting Saturday, it will be illegal for you to unlock your phone without permission from your wireless carrier.

The rule change dates back to an October decision from the Library of Congress's Copyright Office, which gave consumers a 90-day window to unlock their phones without carrier permission. That 90-day period, however, ends this weekend.

The Copyright Office reviews the rules on unlocking (and jailbreaking) every three years, as required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This time around, regulators found that "there are ample alternatives to circumvention. That is, the marketplace has evolved such that there is now a wide array of unlocked phone options available to consumers.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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is it illegal to own an unlocked phone, then?
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Seems like they are attacking a non issue. Only reasons to unlock your phone are 1) you'll pay the ETF and leave the carrier or 2) your contract is over or you want a hardware upgrade and to sell the old phone. IIRC someone has already made an argument about the law coming into effect. Something about the 2nd amendment IIRC. Basically the argument made was that once you've fulfilled the obligations of your contract whether by the ETF or simply the contract expiring the phone is your property either way regardless of whether the carrier subsidized it or not.

Personally the only reason I see this law being passed is the cell phone company lobbyists going to capital hill and arguing that people are simply walking away from their contracts unlocking their phones and going to another carrier. Which frankly should not be a criminal matter. It's breach of contract at best which is a CIVIL matter in just about every country on the planet. Why the government should now try and heavy hand that point is beyond me. I'm betting some palms were greased to get this one through.

Thank god in Canada it's still legal to unlock your cellphone as our supreme court has the sense to realize that the contract you sign is simply for service and has NOTHING to do with the handset other than the subsidy for agreeing to be with a provider for now standard is 3 years.

On the jailbreaking/rooting point that is a separate argument that this law wouldn't have jurisdiction over as unless I'm wrong rooting/jailbreaking does NOT unlock your phone from the carrier it simply allows you to run usigned code or code that needs to access the hardware directly in a specific manner.

TL;DR Government is being too heavy handed imho in legislating what is a civil mattter. Thank God for Canada and this still being legal and jailbreaking/rooting would still be legal under this AFAIK or can tell.

@martix_agent I don't think that law means it will be illegal to own an unlocked phone but rather than if you get a phone on a contract it would be illegal to unlock it while still bound by contract to the carrier unless the carrier agrees. I know personally up here in Canada i'm on Koodo (Telus budget brand) and if your account is in good standing for 3 months they will unlock your phone if requested for $50 and your warranty is still valid. If you do it through a 3rd party warranty is void according to their terms. With that said if they wouldn't warranty my phone I'd simply take it up with Samsung directly vs going through my carrier. As long as I had the stock Koodo ROM on my phone I doubt Samsung would care whether it was locked or not.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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One of my biggest petpeeves, being told you cant do something to your own property. Wasnt there something similar to this on the PS3 side of things?
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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One of my biggest petpeeves, being told you cant do something to your own property. Wasnt there something similar to this on the PS3 side of things?
yup that was the jailbreak dongle that allowed backup games huge fiasco
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This doesnt touch on rooting/jailbreaking. So you can still load your custom roms on android phones and such. That is good for another 3 years since that was passed earlier this year.

If you buy a phone outright, or you meet your contract time I hope that companies wont give you any kind of pushback and not allowing you to unlock your phone from their carrier.

Im just glad I can continue to flash custom roms onto my phone .

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Old 01-28-2013, 11:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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yes it sad day for all people usa. you can not take old phone with you to new carrier if services are bad. from what i got is this. they do not want someone who does not like there services. be able to jail break the phone to move to new carrier. they say by jail breaking it you make twice as much value for item too. i got the story of Flipboard Android. but had to find story online about this. for some reason they said people make twice as much for phone when they jail break it. also put remark about how people will jail break the phone to leave on carriers for bad services. they want to stop people from taking phone to a new carrier. not sure why the old Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998 came in to play.
also came down to this too.
That's likely because there are currently a variety of options when it comes to unlocking your phone. Verizon CDMA phones, for example, have unlocked SIM card slots. The 4G LTE Verizon iPhone 5 also includes an unlocked SIM. Last year, AT&T started allowing non-contract iPhone users to unlock their devices for use on other GSM networks. You can also opt to buy unlocked phones for a higher price.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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At the end of the day only 2 things will stop this law from working. First just get rid of subsidies just say ok here's the phone price outright and that's that. Once that's done contracts are basically not worth bothering with anymore since that's the only reason people get on them with cell companies. Secondly is have the manufacturers say to the cell companies we WILL NOT sell you handsets unless YOU sign a contract stating they CANNOT be locked to you. They MUST be sold UNLOCKED PERIOD!. That last sentence is the exact stance Google took when they launched the Nexus. For a provider to carry the Nexus there is a contract stating that it MUST be sold UNLOCKED from the provider by default.

I guess though if everyone wasn't signing contracts and was simply paying full price for their phones there would be no need to lock them since it would make 0 sense. I wish the laws in North America were more like Europe TBH where it's plainly obvious that the rights lie with the people and not with the corporations.
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Last edited by Falcon16; 01-28-2013 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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One of my biggest petpeeves, being told you cant do something to your own property. Wasnt there something similar to this on the PS3 side of things?
If you got a phone as a part of signing a contract, you don't own that phone outright. The sticker price on an iPhone is something like $600 without a contract. You get it for $200 or whatever because you will make up the rest over the life of the contract. Til then, it's only mostly yours
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