Even USA Today Is Wondering Why Copyright Law Is So Broken That It Locks Up Mobile Phones
from the speak-out dept
You know the issue of the broken anti-circumvention rules in the DMCA are going mainstream when even USA Today is writing editorials condemning the whole thing as an archaic bit of copyright law that makes little sense today. It is, of course, focusing mainly on the question of unlocking mobile phones that has brought the issue forward lately, but USA Today's editorial board doesn't just focus on the unlocking question, but notes how ridiculous our copyright laws are that lead to this result:
Even more than criticism, the announcement prompted bewilderment. Just what is the Library of Congress doing regulating cellphone service, anyway?Indeed. They go further, though, in noting that the use of the anti-circumvention clause to lock up physical goods is a clear bastardization of copyright law, and should be fixed.
Good question. There really isn't a good answer, other than that wireless providers have managed to get the Library of Congress, which oversees the U.S. Copyright Office, to do their bidding.
A better answer is to take the Library of Congress out of the business of being the industry's contract enforcer.
When Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, the goal was to help digital content providers — such as musicians, filmmakers and software companies — prevent illegal pirating of their works.CTIA (representing the mobile industry), who has been pushing against exempting mobile phone unlocking, hit back with a weak retort that "people like discounted phones." Well, fine, then offer discounted phones. You can still do it. That doesn't give you an excuse to abuse copyright law to lock up phones.
To state the obvious, people don't unlock phones to steal copyrighted material. They do it to allow their phones to work on other networks.
[....] When Congress' librarian starts behaving like the new sheriff in town, consumers have good reason to suspect the law is stacked against them.