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  • Just what are your rights with your devices? Fixing the DMCA


    After getting a petition passed (and rather favorably answered) to "make unlocking cell phones legal," 27 year old Sina Khanifar has teamed up with digital rights advocates and other organizations to go one step further and "fix the DMCA."

    The FixTheDMCA campaign, backed by organizations including the EFF, Y Combinator, reddit, mozilla, and saurik, is attempting to have section 1201 ("The Anti-Circumvention Provision") of the DMCA repealed. They note effects such as the clear and permanent legality of:


    • Unlocking cell phones
    • Jailbreaking phones, tablets, and game consoles
    • Screen reading software for the blind
    • Backing up DVDs


    Khanifar is a long-time unlocking champion, getting his early experience running a Motorola unlocking service (which we actually worked with him in regards to on our old site TheMotoGuide.com, and ModMyMoto.com). At that time, Motorola had approached him stating his actions were illegal, but after receiving only minor legal pressure back from Sina and help, Motorola backed down.

    While speaking about the campaign with Khanifar, he stated:

    I'm really glad we made it to the number of signatures needed and got such a great response from the White House. But I'm concerned politicians will fix unlocking without dealing with the root cause of the problem, which is the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions. I'm hoping FixTheDMCA will help move the conversation to the larger issues, and precipitate a bigger amendment to section 1201 that'll fix a lot of the parts of the DMCA we tinkerers have been complaining about since the bill was passed.
    Jailbreaking has put a lot of attention on the DMCA exemption process in recent years (with unlocking another recent focus, and backing up of purchased DVDs an earlier one), with Apple actually attempting to declare jailbreaking illegal in 2009. The Librarian disagreed (with great supporting arguments on the jailbreak side from mozilla, the EFF, and saurik among others), as they did again in 2012 (for phones, at least - not tablets). ModMyi.com also discussed the need for jailbreaking after the 2010 decision.

    It's interesting to note, while most major media outlets like to say things which didn't get exempted were "declared illegal," that is not actually true at all. "Not declared exempt" is quite different from "was explicitly declared illegal."

    In 2009 Fred von Lohmann of the EFF had this to say about Apple's "jailbreaking should be illegal" claims, and his words ring just as true today:

    One need only transpose Apple's arguments to the world of automobiles to recognize their absurdity. Sure, GM might tell us that, for our own safety, all servicing should be done by an authorized GM dealer using only genuine GM parts. Toyota might say that swapping your engine could reduce the reliability of your car. And Mazda could say that those who throw a supercharger on their Miatas frequently exceed the legal speed limit.

    But we'd never accept this corporate paternalism as a justification for welding every car hood shut and imposing legal liability on car buffs tinkering in their garages. After all, the culture of tinkering (or hacking, if you prefer) is an important part of our innovation economy.
    The whole thing doesn't pass the common sense test, and FixTheDMCA.org is an attempt to urge lawmakers to champion a better solution (fully repealing section 1201). From the website you can learn of their position, tweet your legislators, and email your legislators as well asking for change.

    ModMyi.com fully supports the efforts of FixTheDMCA.org - our community's name speaks to our tinkerer mindset; we love modifying our gear. Modifying, hacking, customizing - however you term it, the practice makes something we already love even more intensely ours. It's an approach which has driven innovation for ages.


    Source: FixTheDMCA.org
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Just what are your rights with your devices? Fixing the DMCA started by Kyle Matthews View original post
    Comments 38 Comments
    1. blkcadi's Avatar
      blkcadi -
      Tweeted and emailed my reps. Fingers crossed.
    1. Feanor64's Avatar
      Feanor64 -
      u can already unlock your iphone when u get done with the contract. what is the big deal here? jeez man if u dont want to wait, then buy a non subsidized iphone. lol although i do agree, u should be able to back up dvds u own. i guess people are just trying to get an unlocked iphone for 199....bottom line is that if u dont want to follow a carriers terms, then dont sign their contract. people need to stop acting like they are forced into this. you guys want it both ways, and the car analogy in the article doesnt really apply to this, because when u buy an iphone, u are using the carrier that helped u obtain it at a cheaper price. its around 60 percent off what the maker, which is apple says it should sell for. now when is the last time that u walked into a dealership and bought a brand new chevy silverado for 12000 dollars? it aint gonna happen stop complaining!!!! the only thing this is gonna do is make carriers raise prices so gee thanks guys...
    1. Roadw3's Avatar
      Roadw3 -
      Feanor64, this has been beat to death, burned, buried, dug up, beat again, burned again. Please don't comment you will change no ones mind let everyone think what they want and chose what they want. I don't think it's about jumping ship or boning carriers it's about choice.
    1. *T*'s Avatar
      *T* -
      ...backed by organizations including the EFF, Y Combinator, reddit, mozilla, and saurik...
      Saurik is not an organization.
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      Quote Originally Posted by *T* View Post
      Saurik is not an organization.
      SaurikIT LLC
    1. vinaygoel2000's Avatar
      vinaygoel2000 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Feanor64 View Post
      u can already unlock your iphone when u get done with the contract. what is the big deal here? jeez man if u dont want to wait, then buy a non subsidized iphone. lol although i do agree, u should be able to back up dvds u own. i guess people are just trying to get an unlocked iphone for 199....bottom line is that if u dont want to follow a carriers terms, then dont sign their contract. people need to stop acting like they are forced into this. you guys want it both ways, and the car analogy in the article doesnt really apply to this, because when u buy an iphone, u are using the carrier that helped u obtain it at a cheaper price. its around 60 percent off what the maker, which is apple says it should sell for. now when is the last time that u walked into a dealership and bought a brand new chevy silverado for 12000 dollars? it aint gonna happen stop complaining!!!! the only thing this is gonna do is make carriers raise prices so gee thanks guys...
      Here's the big deal: I buy an iPhone 5 from AT&T for $199 with a 2 year contract. One of my high school friend is getting married in India and I'm most definitely attending. For that one week in India, I want to be able to pop in an Indian SIM card and use it for a week. When I come back, I pop in my AT&T SIM card and keep on going with my contract. Currently I cannot do this.
    1. Kyle Matthews's Avatar
      Kyle Matthews -
      This is about much more than unlocking, which the previous petition was focusing on. This is about repealing section 1201 ("The Anti-Circumvention Provision") of the DMCA.
    1. Roadw3's Avatar
      Roadw3 -
      Exactly right, I understand and fully support staying in the contract you sign up for but I shouldn't have to pay 5 dollars a minute or 22,000 in data charges if and when I travel abroad.
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      I didn't sign the unlocking petition because it doesn't affect me in the slightest - but a petition to fix the DMCA? I'll definitely sign that.
    1. twitchee3's Avatar
      twitchee3 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Feanor64 View Post
      u can already unlock your iphone when u get done with the contract. what is the big deal here? jeez man if u dont want to wait, then buy a non subsidized iphone. lol although i do agree, u should be able to back up dvds u own. i guess people are just trying to get an unlocked iphone for 199....bottom line is that if u dont want to follow a carriers terms, then dont sign their contract. people need to stop acting like they are forced into this. you guys want it both ways, and the car analogy in the article doesnt really apply to this, because when u buy an iphone, u are using the carrier that helped u obtain it at a cheaper price. its around 60 percent off what the maker, which is apple says it should sell for. now when is the last time that u walked into a dealership and bought a brand new chevy silverado for 12000 dollars? it aint gonna happen stop complaining!!!! the only thing this is gonna do is make carriers raise prices so gee thanks guys...
      Who, exactly, are you talking to? This article is about the DMCA, and your rant is certainly not...

      Quote Originally Posted by vinaygoel2000 View Post
      Here's the big deal: I buy an iPhone 5 from AT&T for $199 with a 2 year contract. One of my high school friend is getting married in India and I'm most definitely attending. For that one week in India, I want to be able to pop in an Indian SIM card and use it for a week. When I come back, I pop in my AT&T SIM card and keep on going with my contract. Currently I cannot do this.
      Actually, to my understanding, all AT&T iPhone 5's are locked ONLY within the United States. Although I have yet to test this (I will in May, as I'll be in Europe all summer), iPhones from AT&T that are "locked" are only locked in the US. If you leave the country, you're supposed to be able to pop in the sim of your choice and it'll work just fine...
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      Quote Originally Posted by twitchee3 View Post
      Who, exactly, are you talking to? This article is about the DMCA, and your rant is certainly not...



      Actually, to my understanding, all AT&T iPhone 5's are locked ONLY within the United States. Although I have yet to test this (I will in May, as I'll be in Europe all summer), iPhones from AT&T that are "locked" are only locked in the US. If you leave the country, you're supposed to be able to pop in the sim of your choice and it'll work just fine...
      Nope. AT&T locked iPhone 5's are indeed fully locked. I am not in the US and know this first hand. They can easily be unlocked though.
    1. romeo_herman's Avatar
      romeo_herman -
      Quote Originally Posted by twitchee3 View Post
      Actually, to my understanding, all AT&T iPhone 5's are locked ONLY within the United States. Although I have yet to test this (I will in May, as I'll be in Europe all summer), iPhones from AT&T that are "locked" are only locked in the US. If you leave the country, you're supposed to be able to pop in the sim of your choice and it'll work just fine...
      Yeah "locked" to at&t it's mean if you leave the country is still ''locked'' to at&t, you can pop in the sim of your choice but it will say "no service".
    1. NewdestinyX's Avatar
      NewdestinyX -
      Quote Originally Posted by twitchee3 View Post
      Actually, to my understanding, all AT&T iPhone 5's are locked ONLY within the United States. Although I have yet to test this (I will in May, as I'll be in Europe all summer), iPhones from AT&T that are "locked" are only locked in the US. If you leave the country, you're supposed to be able to pop in the sim of your choice and it'll work just fine...
      Your "understanding" is incorrect, Twitch.
    1. vinaygoel2000's Avatar
      vinaygoel2000 -
      Now Verizon iPhone 5's are fully unlocked but I talk and surf simultaneously much more than I go abroad.

      Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
      They can easily be unlocked though.
      U talking about chronic unlocks?
    1. twitchee3's Avatar
      twitchee3 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
      Nope. AT&T locked iPhone 5's are indeed fully locked. I am not in the US and know this first hand. They can easily be unlocked though.
      Interesting. I forget exactly where I read this, but I think it was a service offering factory unlocks for the iPhone 5 (seems like the last organization that would tell you your phone is already unlocked for certain purposes, which is the main reason I didn't feel the need to confirm this with AT&T right away). Looks like I'm gunna have to pay for an unlock this summer... I'll call AT&T first just to make sure though.

      EDIT: Found the article, and I think it's something everyone might benefit from reading. When I originally read the article, it indicated that this was the stock format of all AT&T iPhone 5's (unlocked abroad by default), but since then they've apparently looked into the matter a bit further and discovered that you must contact AT&T to take advantage of in-contract overseas unlocks. According to these guys, you can call AT&T and they will unlock your iPhone 5 (while under contract) for use overseas, though it will remain locked to AT&T within the United States for the duration of your contract. Couldn't hurt to try I suppose, I'll be contacting AT&T about this shortly.

      Source: http://keys2iphone.com/blog/2013/02/...eady-unlocked/

      Quote Originally Posted by NewdestinyX View Post
      Your "understanding" is incorrect, Twitch.
      What's with the winky face? Sorry dude, I'm sure you think you're pretty clever, but you come off as a bit creepy.
    1. NewdestinyX's Avatar
      NewdestinyX -
      Quote Originally Posted by twitchee3 View Post
      Source: http://keys2iphone.com/blog/2013/02/...eady-unlocked/

      What's with the winky face? Sorry dude, I'm sure you think you're pretty clever, but you come off as a bit creepy.
      You never change Twitchey. Always predictable. But thanks for the article.
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      Quote Originally Posted by vinaygoel2000 View Post


      U talking about chronic unlocks?
      Among others, yes.
    1. NewdestinyX's Avatar
      NewdestinyX -
      The trick in all this is In understanding what you own and what you don't own with your phone. The only people that truly "own" their iPhones are people that pay full retail price for them to have no contract and be fully unlocked. Those people "fully own" their iPhones. People who pay the subsidized lower rate are truly only "leasing" their iPhone if you read the user agreements carefully. This is why they can tell us what to do with unlocking and even one day jailbreaking possibly.

      They are on less stable ground, legally, with the purchase of iPads. We "fully own" our iPads. They can't tell us "squat" to do with something we fully own. No legal case against someone jailbreaking their iPad could ever win in a court of law in United States.

      The unlocking a subsidized iPhone issue is much more ironclad legally on the part of the carriers with or without the DMCA rulings.
      Think of the $199, $299, $399 as a down payment on the lease of your leased car. It's just the same thing, gang. You don't own anything.
    1. twitchee3's Avatar
      twitchee3 -
      Quote Originally Posted by NewdestinyX View Post
      You never change Twitchey. Always predictable. But thanks for the article.
      Actually, we are all changing, constantly, in every moment. That is the only concrete aspect of this reality, constant change. Well, except you being able to predict my comments. You should be working on the Large Hadron Collider in Cern man, what are you doing on MMi if you can predict such things?! I guess it makes sense when you consider that everything is connected, and we are all one... This is the main reason I try not to take things too seriously, and just be happy in the moment, after all, this moment is all we'll ever have. Time is an illusion, and I love trolling

      But thanks for judging me, again, stranger I have never met...

      Best regards to you sir =)
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      Quote Originally Posted by twitchee3 View Post
      Actually, we are all changing, constantly, in every moment. That is the only concrete thing we know about this reality, constant change.

      But thanks for judging me, again, stranger I have never met...

      Best regards to you sir =)
      lol