Selling of carrier-locked smartphones could soon be banned in the U.S.: Report

In late October, United Kingdom imposed a ban on carriers to sell locked phones in the country. The communications regulator of UK, Ofcom has announced this decision which will take effect by 2021. With this move, the consumer advocates have won who was fought for a long time to make it easier for consumers to switch networks, resell their phones, or even just give them to someone else.

According to Wired, a complicated combination of corporate interests and pre-smartphone era legislation has resulted in more than two decades of back and forth about the legality of phone locking in the US. It’s looking like that battle could ramp up again next year.

“It was passed at a time when things looked really, really different in the consumer electronics market, It was passed really to address issues like DVD piracy, and not to address issues like software-enabled refrigerators or internet-connected home systems. Unfortunately, the place we find ourselves in is a world where software is in everything, and software is covered by copyright law.” Said a repair policy lead at iFixit.

According to section 1201 of the constitution of the United States, device manufacturers and wireless carriers have argued that the digital locks they place on devices are protected by Section 1201 of the DMCA. But advocates say that argument hasn’t aged well.

The US Library of Congress and Copyright Office holds a rulemaking proceeding that takes public comment. It’s a chance for advocates to make their case for amending Section 1201.

If citizens want to urge the government to amend Section 1201, the first round of comments is required to be in by December 14. Responses and additional proposals will go back and forth through the spring of 2021.

As you can see the proceeding may not happen so fast and likely to take time, only if it comes into effect.


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