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Thread: Unlocking Cell Phones Now Illegal In The US

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    Unlocking Cell Phones Now Illegal In The US

    "Unlocking Cell Phones Will Be Illegal In The US Starting Saturday
    Yannick LeJacq | January 25 2013 11:58 AM


    The practice of configuring a mobile phone to avoid specific carrier network restrictions known as “unlocking” will become illegal in the U.S. on Saturday. (1-26-13)................

    The Librarian of Congress has the power to determine what exemptions can be allowed to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA. But as Mashable reports, technology activists are beginning to question the law and the amount of discretion that the Librarian of Congress was granted to determine its application.

    "Unlocking" a phone essentially involves removing security features that keep the phone locked into a particular mobile carrier network; once unlocked, a phone can therefore work across multiple carrier networks. ...for users travelling internationally, it allows them to use their phones across different networks without racking up exorbitant carrier fees."

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    Re: Unlocking Cell Phones Now Illegal In The US

    It's important to note that this isn't really a "new" rule. It just took the courts this long to rule on whether carrier unlocking counted as modifying the software in a method not in compliance with the licensing or whatever. Once the decision was made, there was a grace period that just ended.

    It's also bull****. I own that flipping phone, I can modify it however I damn well please. The carrier's interest ends at the cell phone tower, the worst they should be able to do is cancel my service and charge whatever termination fee is in the contract I sign.
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    Re: Unlocking Cell Phones Now Illegal In The US

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce View Post
    It's important to note that this isn't really a "new" rule. It just took the courts this long to rule on whether carrier unlocking counted as modifying the software in a method not in compliance with the licensing or whatever. Once the decision was made, there was a grace period that just ended.

    It's also bull****. I own that flipping phone, I can modify it however I damn well please. The carrier's interest ends at the cell phone tower, the worst they should be able to do is cancel my service and charge whatever termination fee is in the contract I sign.
    You are wrong unless you bought the phone unlocked which very few American's do.

    In the US almost all phones are subsidized, hence you are paying for the phone over your contract... it is especially relevant for the expensive iPhones.... unless you actually believe that the nice shinny iPhone 5 actually only costs 200 dollars..... if so, then I have a bridge in San Francisco I want to sell you.

    However saying that I am not sure if this ban continues after the end of the contract period or not.. if it does, then it is idiotic to say the least. In Europe there is no such ban after the end of the contract and you can get the phone unlocked during the contract period if you pay for the phone.
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    Re: Unlocking Cell Phones Now Illegal In The US

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteEU View Post
    You are wrong unless you bought the phone unlocked which very few American's do.

    In the US almost all phones are subsidized, hence you are paying for the phone over your contract... it is especially relevant for the expensive iPhones.... unless you actually believe that the nice shinny iPhone 5 actually only costs 200 dollars..... if so, then I have a bridge in San Francisco I want to sell you.

    However saying that I am not sure if this ban continues after the end of the contract period or not.. if it does, then it is idiotic to say the least. In Europe there is no such ban after the end of the contract and you can get the phone unlocked during the contract period if you pay for the phone.
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    Re: Unlocking Cell Phones Now Illegal In The US

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    You don't own that bridge.
    We may own the phone, but we do not own the infrastructure it runs on. Take away the infrastructure, and the phone does not work. Therefore, those who own the infrastructure have a right to determine the terms and conditions for those who access and use that infrastructure.

    Which is unfortunate for us, but that's the way it is. And is also why you cannot compare a cell phone, by itself, to a bridge. But, even in using a bridge, we must abide by the rules set up by those who do own the bridge. Of course, nobody is forcing us to drive over the bridge. Neither is anybody forcing us to use a cellphone, or to access the infrastructure that cellphones use.
    Last edited by danarhea; 01-31-13 at 04:47 PM.
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    Re: Unlocking Cell Phones Now Illegal In The US

    Quote Originally Posted by danarhea View Post
    We may own the phone, but we do not own the infrastructure it runs on. Take away the infrastructure, and the phone does not work. Therefore, those who own the infrastructure have a right to determine who uses that infrastructure, and what rights they have while using that infrastructure.....

    Which is unfortunate for us, but that's the way it is. And is also why you cannot compare a cell phone to a bridge. But, even in using a bridge, we must abide by the rules set up by those who do own the bridge. Of course, nobody is forcing us to drive over the bridge. Neither is anybody forcing us to use a cellphone to access the infrastructure it uses.
    You own the phone (if indeed you do own the phone) and the SOFTWARE instance that, among other things, makes it connect to that infrastructure. There are a number of different softwares that use connections to that infrastructure. Unlocking doesn't affect that dynamic.

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    Re: Unlocking Cell Phones Now Illegal In The US

    My problem is that for as much as they charge you for a telephone, even if it is at "special rate", then it is your phone regardless of what their fine print says. The next time mine breaks after I am out of my contract I am switching to straight talk or one of those jobbies. I am sick of AT&T already.

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    Re: Unlocking Cell Phones Now Illegal In The US

    Quote Originally Posted by clownboy View Post
    You own the phone (if indeed you do own the phone) and the SOFTWARE instance that, among other things, makes it connect to that infrastructure. There are a number of different softwares that use connections to that infrastructure. Unlocking doesn't affect that dynamic.
    Unlocking changes the way you access the infrastructure, and if you are under contract (which you are, if you use a cellphone), then you have broken the contract.
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    Re: Unlocking Cell Phones Now Illegal In The US

    Quote Originally Posted by danarhea View Post
    Unlocking changes the way you access the infrastructure, and if you are under contract (which you are, if you use a cellphone), then you have broken the contract.
    Agreed. As a side issue, I don't believe it's in the public's interest to allow the phone giants to lock in exclusivity like that. If they wish to give away a free phone in exchange for you exclusively using their network, fine. But it should always be the case that, if you buy the phone, own it outright, you can choose to use whatever network you wish.
    Last edited by clownboy; 01-31-13 at 05:01 PM.

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    Re: Unlocking Cell Phones Now Illegal In The US

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce View Post
    It's important to note that this isn't really a "new" rule. It just took the courts this long to rule on whether carrier unlocking counted as modifying the software in a method not in compliance with the licensing or whatever. Once the decision was made, there was a grace period that just ended.

    It's also bull****. I own that flipping phone, I can modify it however I damn well please. The carrier's interest ends at the cell phone tower, the worst they should be able to do is cancel my service and charge whatever termination fee is in the contract I sign.
    The contract you agree to when you subscribe to a carrier makes such modifications an abrogation of your contractual duties.
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