Earlier this week, we saw another example of manipulating copyright laws to control what consumers can do with our own property. A new regulation that went into effect this week will make it illegal for consumers to “unlock” their mobile devices.
Until recently, individuals could unlock their mobile devices to use them on other wireless networks. Yet under pressure from the big wireless carriers the U.S. Copyright Office and Librarian of Congress recently determined that the copyright exemption for unlocking cellphones would no longer be allowed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA).
The DCMA was intended to protect copyrighted works. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, “no creative work is involved here: Wireless carriers aren’t worried about ‘piracy’ of the software on their phones, they’re worried about people reselling subsidized phones at a profit.”
We believe that the DCMA is being misused to reduce competition in the mobile device market.
This decision is not only detrimental to consumers; it also threatens markets for used goods. Businesses that resell used cellphones, even if the contract is expired, could now face lawsuits, with penalties of up to $500,000 or five years in prison.
This kind of rule-making under the guise of copyright protections, makes us question whether we truly own what we purchase.
Are you fed up with this constant assault on owners’ rights? Sign the Citizens’ Petition for Ownership Rights today to fight for the guarantee that if you bought it, you own it.