Help Explain Why Phone Unlocking Is Important To You And Why It Should Be Legal
from the share-your-stories dept
First I would like to thank readers of this site and others in the tech community for their support of our phone unlocking campaign. As you may know, that campaign culminated with 114,000 signatures on the White House petition website, an FCC and White House endorsement of unlocking and several bills introduced in Congress. Legislation is usually a slow process, but, here, Congress appears to be moving quickly on this issue — potentially even putting this legislation up through suspension meaning that it wouldn’t receive any debate or amendment but can be done much quicker.
On Thursday, Chairman Goodlatte’s legislation will be before the House Judiciary IP Subcommittee. Unfortunately, while the wireless industry and others who have been against unlocking will be represented, there will be no witnesses at the hearing who have been part of our campaign for unlocking (however, Consumers Advocacy may be an advocate for the consumer on this issue). This is very disappointing news.
I met with some of the Members and their staff on this unlocking issue – and I was asked to submit formal written testimony to the committee. This testimony will be available to all Members during the hearing to consider while they also hear from their witnesses. I have been writing up a thorough presentation on the facts and why unlocking is important for the mobile market, liberty and consumer choice. Now I’m asking for your help and perspective. If you have a story on how unlocking affected you, I’d like to hear it. If you have information that should be relevant to the testimony, I want to include it.
In particular, Chairman Goodlatte’s legislation would legalize unlocking, but only temporarily, allowing the Librarian of Congress to rule all over again. At the same time, it will keep this technology as illegal for businesses to develop or sell.
If you are an entrepreneur who would like to offer a service for consumers in this category I would love to hear your story. What is the actual impact of unlocking being illegal, and if it were legalized for consumers and businesses what new market models may flourish?
Does anyone have any information on the impact of this restriction upon the resale market? Has anyone been sued or prosecuted for this? I am particularly interested in stories from our service members who may have to unlock their phones abroad. Has anyone ever called their phone provider and asked to unlock after their contract expired and were told no? These are stories I want to include.
In the wake of my report on copyright reform, my last day on the Hill was January 6th. Since that time, I have dedicated the past five months to this campaign, which I believe is a critical post-SOPA battle. As I argued on Boing Boing, this is a test of our ability to move positive action for small, winnable battles. If we can win on this issue, we will be able to build on this coalition going forward. Here is another article on how to approach reforms to copyright law.
So again, I want to thank all of you, I hope to hear data and stories from you. And I want to give credit where credit is due. Many were involved in this campaign, including Public Knowledge and Sina Khanifar. Without Jennifer Grancik with Stanford Law there may never have been an unlocking exception to begin with. And without thorough coverage from Techdirt, this issue may never have risen to prominence.