Senators Leahy and Grassley Move Forward on Cell Phone Unlocking Bill


Today, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) moved forward on new language for the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. The updated version of the bill restores the exemption granted by the Copyright Office under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) allowing customers to "unlock" their cell phones. 

The following can be attributed to Chris Lewis, Vice President of Government Affairs at Public Knowledge:

"Senators Leahy and Grassley's revised phone unlocking bill is important reform that responds to hundreds of thousands of Americans who called for the restoration of their right to unlock phones that they legally own. Consumers have been without this ability for almost 18 months since the Copyright Office failed to renew the cell phone exemption to the DMCA. There has been overwhelming bipartisan push in Congress and from the President for a legislative correction to the Copyright Office's decision.  Public Knowledge supports the revised bill and encourages the Senate to pass it quickly.

"Not only does the Leahy/Grassley bill restore the right to unlock phones, but it includes provisions that allow for third party help in unlocking a device, as we saw in the House-passed version of this bill. This is important for consumers who don't possess the technical skills to unlock their device and need assistance. The bill is also silent on the subject of bulk unlocking.

"Restoring the right to unlock cell phones serves as an example of other circumstances when circumventing technological protection measures doesn't infringe on copyrights and should be permitted. Public Knowledge continues to encourage Congress to explore these examples in future legislation and in a fuller discussion around DMCA reform."

You can view the testimony here.

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