• Unlocking Cellphones Becomes Illegal Saturday

    It looks like starting today it's going to be illegal to unlock your phone in the US. Apparently, the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) prevents American from doing this.

    Now you need to ask your carrier first before you can unlock.

    Unlocking a phone has been part of the phone industry for years. I remember unlocking my Nokia 5190 around 10 years ago. So, it's a bit of a joke that it's now illegal.

    Mind you, in the US there isn't a great deal of mobility between carriers because each carrier uses either a slightly different technology and or frequency. Still, it prevents you from moving to a carrier's MVNO.

    So, if you unlock your phone now will some Jack Bauer type kick down your door?

    If you think this is wrong/ridiculous/stupid/outrageous/etc make sure you sign the petition here.

    May God help us all. Thoughts?

    Thanks berry_lthird!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Unlocking Cellphones Becomes Illegal Saturday started by wlo8 View original post
    Comments 68 Comments
    1. hwertz's Avatar
      hwertz -
      Quote Originally Posted by wlo8 View Post
      Hmm... http://www.technewsdaily.com/16514-u...s-illegal.html

      If you do buy a new phone and want to unlock it before the deadline, you must first ask your carrier if the company will unlock your phone for you. The DMCA only permits you to unlock your phone yourself once you've asked your carrier first.
      The DMCA can <expletive deleted>.

      Sent from my SCH-I405 using HowardForums
    1. AutoUnion's Avatar
      AutoUnion -
      <expletive deleted> is this?
    1. kneedragger32's Avatar
      kneedragger32 -
      Quote Originally Posted by AutoUnion View Post
      <expletive deleted> is this?
      😂Lol 10 char
    1. Jordan T's Avatar
      Jordan T -
      If you're opposed to this, here's a couple petitions you can sign on the White House website, the first one specifically unlocking related and the second one addressing the CAUSE of the problem - the broken DMCA and the clueless Librarian of Congress:

      https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/pet...legal/1g9KhZG7

      https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/pet...t-act/phXh0RSQ
    1. Morphling27's Avatar
      Morphling27 -
      I think the real issue is the fact your phones don't come unlocked anyway. Its your phone, you purchased it. Even counting in the signing a contract for a subsidy, you own the phone. There isn't a lein against your phone nor does the contract specifically reference your phone. So, they sell you something, yet they lock it down.

      All while using airwaves that are a public resource.
    1. veriztd's Avatar
      veriztd -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morphling27 View Post
      All while using airwaves that are a public resource.
      The airwaves aren't truly "public". You can't setup a radio station and legally broadcast without buying a license to broadcast from the FCC. The cellular carriers pay the FCC millions of dollars annually. It's more like a leased resource.

      A true public resource wouldn't have an annual fee. You can't even fish in most states legally without a license.
    1. the_hustleman's Avatar
      the_hustleman -
      This law is a load of bull.
      I'll just get someone overseas to unlock it

      sent from the best smart phone (not phablet) on the worst network- the galaxy S III unfortunately on T-Mobile
    1. XFF's Avatar
      XFF -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morphling27 View Post
      I think the real issue is the fact your phones don't come unlocked anyway. Its your phone, you purchased it. Even counting in the signing a contract for a subsidy, you own the phone. There isn't a lein against your phone nor does the contract specifically reference your phone. So, they sell you something, yet they lock it down.

      All while using airwaves that are a public resource.
      I would have to agree with you there. Contract and locked equipment sure seems like double dipping. Either one or the other would be acceptable in exchange for a subsidy, but leveraging both sure smells of unfair practices.

      The future is in doing away with subsidies, locking, and contracts altogether, like where T-Mobile is heading.
    1. Droiiiiiiiiid's Avatar
      Droiiiiiiiiid -
      Breaking News!

      Man arrested for unlocking his cell phone! Faces multiple fines and possible jailtime!



      Yeah not gonna happen.
    1. veriztd's Avatar
      veriztd -
      I think this only means that cell phone companies won't offer unlocking of devices any longer. I don't think that unlocking services will be going anywhere.
    1. tracyh's Avatar
      tracyh -
      I suppose some will unlock their phone after this date but I'm curious - does anyone know if this goes into effect tonight or midnight last night? btw, I did ask my carrier - Verizon - to unlock my phone. That wasn't a pleasant conversation.
    1. berry_lthird's Avatar
      berry_lthird -
      Thank you @howard and @wlo8 for helping get the word out!
    1. cmstlist's Avatar
      cmstlist -
      The petition is 12% of the way to its goal after two days. It should take no more than a week.

      While I'm sure unlock codes will still be easily available from international sellers on eBay etc, the question is whether eBay will crack down.

      Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using HowardForums
    1. every1nosme's Avatar
      every1nosme -
      Quote Originally Posted by Droiiiiiiiiid View Post
      Breaking News!

      Man arrested for unlocking his cell phone! Faces multiple fines and possible jailtime!



      Yeah not gonna happen.
      One of the articles I read did mention the penalties for this. Didn't see any jail time mentioned and most of them seemed aimed at the third party unlockers and not the end consumer but the monetary fees involved looked pretty heavy. Most consumers wont be in danger of being charged with this and so it wont discourage people from wanting to unlock their phones but the problem will be in finding someone who will do it for them. From the way I read things it seems like the manufacturers were the ones that were supposed to be "protected" from the unlockers rather than the carriers so it will be interesting to see if companies like samsung or motorola will respond by allowing consumers to go directly to them for unlocking. The logic seems to be that by unlocking the phone you are altering the software which is copyrighted material that you don't own but the question I have is that since android is open source and people already alter it thru custom roms and whatnot does that mean android phones would be excluded from this? Who technically owns the android software?

      Sent from my XT862 using HowardForums
    1. RogersUser1's Avatar
      RogersUser1 -
      This should make for a massive boon to international phone retailers.
    1. Scottish Skyedance's Avatar
      Scottish Skyedance -
      This will create a lot of e-waste because the phone is USELESS outside of the carrier.
    1. cmstlist's Avatar
      cmstlist -
      Quote Originally Posted by RogersUser1 View Post
      This should make for a massive boon to international phone retailers.
      And a huge influx of forum newbs who bought an incompatible unlocked phone to use in the USA ;-)

      Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk HD
    1. Nokia E7's Avatar
      Nokia E7 -
      Does anyone know if this includes the simple changing of settings that is required when placing Straighttalk SIMs into At&t devices?
    1. millept's Avatar
      millept -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nokia E7 View Post
      Does anyone know if this includes the simple changing of settings that is required when placing Straighttalk SIMs into At&t devices?
      No, that doesn't involve unlocking from the network. You're still using an AT&T phone on the AT&T network. However, if you were trying to put an AT&T sim into a T-Mobile phone, then you would need to unlock it first.

      And I've always unlocked my phones by requesting a free unlock code from the carrier instead of paying some 3rd party for a code.
    1. RogersUser1's Avatar
      RogersUser1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmstlist View Post
      And a huge influx of forum newbs who bought an incompatible unlocked phone to use in the USA ;-)

      Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk HD
      I bet the noobs will mostly be the ones who buy the locked local phones. The more interested parties will do the research and go to the effort of acquiring unlocked phones IMO.