Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed several pieces of legislation focused on improving next-generation wireless networks and broadband infrastructure deployment, ensuring that rural areas have reliable voice services and protecting consumers from spoofing.
At a hearing on unlocking phones, some suggest that
Congress added laws against circumventing access controls not just to fight
piracy, but in order to protect particular business models. Businesses use this
argument to justify using copyright law to criminalize activities that don't
actually infringe copyright.
Up until last year, unlocking a cell phone so that it could
be used with a different carrier was perfectly legal. That changed when the
Librarian of Congress decided no longer to include it in a list of exceptions
to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which forbids the circumvention
of technology that controls access to copyrighted works. The Librarian's
decision has sparked a great deal of controversy, and lead to several proposed
bills that would once again make it legal to unlock cell phones. In a hearing
before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and
the Internet last Thursday, Congress heard testimony about one of these bills,
and about the practice of unlocking phones.
Subcommittee Vice Chairman Tom Marino began the hearing by
framing the considerations on each side in terms of their effect on the market
and existing business models, pitting the promise of a more competitive
marketplace that phone unlocking allows against the ability of carriers to
recover the cost of subsidizing phones.
Every now and then, somebody responds to something we did or said with such an inappropriate bullet point that we can only laugh. These often read like someone tried to use some application for picking key words and matching to bullet points, but the App is clearly still in Beta.
The response of CTIA-The Wireless Association to our White Paper on Usage Based Pricing, aka bandwidth caps, surpases even these usual whacko responses. It ought to win some kind of prize. Perhaps the "Please Check your Magic Eight Ball Again" Award, given for a response that not only demonstrates that you failed to look at the executive summary and conclusion, but actually confuses people who did.