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Cellphone unlocking bill passes House, includes limits on reselling

US House of Representatives passes bill to allow cellphone unlocking, leaves in controversial limit on bulk reselling though.

@CharlesJGantt
Published Wed, Feb 26 2014 8:27 PM CST   |   Updated Sat, Aug 8 2020 10:29 AM CDT

Today the US House of Representatives passed a bill that makes it legal for consumers to unlock their cell phones if they wish to take it to another carrier. The bill passed with a vote of 295 to 114, and is now headed to the Senate where it is also expected to pass. If the bill does make it through congress, then it will let consumers unlock their phones without fear of legal ramifications, something that has been illegal since a supreme court ruling in 2012.

Cellphone unlocking bill passes House, includes limits on reselling | TweakTown.com

The practice was deemed illegal based on wording in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that prevents circumventing of content protection systems, something that was intended to protect DRM on music, video games, and other digital media. Unfortunately the supreme court and lawmakers twisted these words around to include cellular phones under the DMCA's "protection." If passed, this bill could set precedence on who legally owns the cellphone, and if subsidization of devices can legally ban the use of that phone on a network it was not subsidized for.

Unfortunately this bill, even if passed and signed into law, will have to be reexamined in just two years, and it also includes an add-on bill that would limit the bulk reselling of any smartphones that have been unlocked. This makes it hard for aging smartphones to be recycled back into the market as cheaper alternatives to those who want a phone but not necessarily an expensive flagship.

NEWS SOURCE:theverge.com

A web developer by day, Charles comes to TweakTown after a short break from the Tech Journalism world. Formerly the Editor in Chief at TheBestCaseScenario, he now writes Maker and DIY content. Charles is a self proclaimed Maker of Things and is a major supporter of the Maker movement. In his free time, Charles likes to build just about anything, with past projects ranging from custom PC cooling control systems to 3D printers. Other expensive addictions include Photography, Astronomy and Home Automation.

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