Freedom Rings: Cellphones Must Be Unlockable

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

Kind of good news coming out of the Library of Congress regarding our digital rights, especially relating to our cellphone use. Copyright laws were amended to allow customers to unlock the software on their cellphones so they can take their phones with them from wireless carrier to wireless carrier. The ruling is also good for..

independent software developers who want to develop software for cellphones without having to go through the corporate red tape. Also in the ruling is the permission for educators to use snippets of movies for educational purposes and for blind people to use special software to read copy-protected e-books.

Several things come to mind with this ruling. Firstly, I'd like to thank the government for giving us small pieces of fair use once again. (Of course, the implicit indication is that now all other forms of fair use are illegal and can only be made legal by the granting of more exceptions. Oh DMCA, how we love thee.) It's also nice to see that blind people need to get special permission to use something that they've purchased. Secondly, how many people are going to claim to be educators know when they rip and snip DVDs? Laws are fun to sidestep.


U.S. Copyright Office issues new rights [AP/Yahoo! News]

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There are a couple of reasonable U-turns to the DMCA in this ruling, and I think the most powerful are the Cell-phone one you mention and the 'if DRM broke my computer I'm allowed to break it' one.

But, as someone pointed out yesterday on Slashdot, this is really just like a Cop (the Govt) standing there and watching while you're beaten stupid by a couple of Mob guys (the **AA) and once they're done handing you an ice-pack.

The cop should have never allowed the beating to occur in the first place.