Public Knowledge Suspends Support for Goodlatte Cell Phone Unlocking Bill


On February 19, the House Judiciary Committee released an amended version of H.R. 1123, the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, to be voted on by the full House next week. 

The following can be attributed to Sherwin Siy, Vice President of Legal Affairs for Public Knowledge:  

"While the bill still allows a number of consumers to unlock their own devices, the amended version fails to address the flawed law at the root of the unlocking problem: the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  

"The new language specifically excluding bulk unlocking could indicate that the drafters believe that phone unlocking has something to do with copyright law. This is not a position we support. Even if Congress believes that bulk unlocking is a problem, it's clear that it's not a copyright problem, just as individual unlocking is not a copyright problem. A bill designed to scale back overreaching copyright laws should not also endorse an overreach of copyright law. 

"Consumers should be able to unlock their phones without fear of liability, and for many of them, this bill will restore that ability. But as it stands, H.R. 1123 represents the need for further change to the DMCA, as represented in HR 1892, the Unlocking Technology Act sponsored by Rep. Zoe Lofgren."

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