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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reddit, mozilla, and saurik, is attempting to have section 1201 ("The Anti-Circumvention Provision") of the DMCA repealed.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. NewdestinyX's Avatar
      NewdestinyX -
      Quote Originally Posted by twitchee3 View Post
      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 =)
      LOL!!. I'm feelin' that Twitchee. No real disrespect intended. It's just of the '41' posts you've made on MMI.. Prolly 6 of them(hell, that's 14%) have been 'taunting' at something I've said. So we're hardly 'strangers'. That's what prompted my 'tongue in cheek response'. It's clear you love trolling. And of the trolls I've met - you're pretty harmless.

      On the topic at hand - I get pretty passionate because it ultimately has at its core - whether we think it's OKAY to STEAL from AT&T or not. As a person in the music biz professionally getting some part of my living from royalties I tend to find myself on the 'no stealing' side of issues like this.

      Now - from both a logical and legal perspective - taking out all 'immature emotionality' from analysis of the topic - when you want to take your 'in contract, LEASED' phone overseas and use it - part of the reason you got the subsidized lower price on the phone allows for AT&T being able to charge you $1.29 minute for a call overseas -a nd $0.50 per text. It's called 'business'. If you want that ALL to disappear - it's VERY simple to make happen - perfectly legally. Simply pony up the $549, $649, $749 for the full retail phone. Easy. No contract - factory unlocked - save all the $ you want.

      It's a very black and white issue to me when it comes to the in-contract unlock issue. And I don't like the idea of stealing anything. Hey -- maybe that's just me. But in these conversations the central issue ALWAYS gets lost in the emotion. There is only one real issue at hand..
      Question: Do you own your phone?
      Answer: No. You're leasing it if you paid the subsidized price and signed the new 2-year contract.

      ---Plain and simple. Unlocking during the lease period is 'getting over' on AT&T and 'stealing' from them when you're overseas using another SIM.

      I know we now live in this world of 'shades of gray' and 'moral relativism' - but I still believe in the "rule of law". It separates barbaristic from civil societies.

      Peace, my dear Twitchee,
      Grant
    1. tongxinshe's Avatar
      tongxinshe -
      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...
      The subsidized price is in exchange for my agreement to stay in a two-year service contract, has nothing to do with the ability of my phone. SIM-locking should never be legal at the first place.

      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...
      What a wishful thinking! I can tell you for sure ó you are wrong. Go solve the problem before your travel, donít wait till you hit the giant bump!

      Quote Originally Posted by NewdestinyX View Post
      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.
      Leasing doesnít make it reasonable for the dealer to make the car only capable of using the dealerís specific gas pumping gun, even if I also signed a contract with the dealer that I will buy at least $200 of gas from it every month.
    1. King_O_Hill's Avatar
      King_O_Hill -
      I have a Verizon world phone. Subsidized and unlocked

      AT&T sucks!
    1. NewdestinyX's Avatar
      NewdestinyX -
      Quote Originally Posted by tongxinshe View Post
      Leasing doesnít make it reasonable for the dealer to make the car only capable of using the dealerís specific gas pumping gun, even if I also signed a contract with the dealer that I will buy at least $200 of gas from it every month.
      False analogy by a mile. Nice try though.

      Quote Originally Posted by King_O_Hill View Post
      I have a Verizon world phone. Subsidized and unlocked
      AT&T sucks!
      But not subsidized all the way down to $199 for a 16GB.. right?

      By 'world phone', King, that means CDMA AND GSM on board with a SIM slot?
    1. tongxinshe's Avatar
      tongxinshe -
      Quote Originally Posted by King_O_Hill View Post
      False analogy by a mile. Nice try though.
      This reply of yours only illustrates your inability in logics.
    1. jwil736's Avatar
      jwil736 -
      How do you figure we are "Leasing" the phone? All we are agreeing to is a 2 year contract of service, PERIOD. It doesn't matter how you use that line whether it be a laptop network card, iPad data service, iPhone service, or a simple $10/month for added line.
      When you LEASE something, you turn it back in at the end if the lease.
    1. NewdestinyX's Avatar
      NewdestinyX -
      Quote Originally Posted by jwil736 View Post
      How do you figure we are "Leasing" the phone? All we are agreeing to is a 2 year contract of service, PERIOD. It doesn't matter how you use that line whether it be a laptop network card, iPad data service, iPhone service, or a simple $10/month for added line.
      When you LEASE something, you turn it back in at the end if the lease.
      Not in all leases. In all leases there's a 'buy out clause'. There is also such a thing for the iPhone- Your staying IN the contract for 2 years IS the 'buy out'. Then - after buy out you get the phone UNLOCKED at the end of the contract. But your staying IN the contract for 2 years IS the 'buy out'. After that - you OWN the phone and can put whatever SIM in it you want. Sell it to whomever you want, etc. If you sell it before the END of your contract you have to transfer ownership and pay 'full price' for your next phone. So it's not EXACTLY like a car lease. But the 'concept' is definitely akin to a LEASE more than any other analogy. You do NOT OWN an iPhone for $199. You're PAYING IT OFF - is kind of the way to think of it. It's better than 'LAYAWAY' since you can use it - but it's NOT fully yours. Again - CAR LEASE is the very closest analogy.

      Quote Originally Posted by tongxinshe View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by King_o_Hill View Post
      False analogy by a mile. Nice try though.
      This reply of yours only illustrates your inability in logics.
      King_O_Hill didn't say that. I did. And your inability to see that it's a false analogy shows you haven't studied the topic well enough. But I'm happy to agree to disagree. Otherwise we just go round and round in circles.
    1. King_O_Hill's Avatar
      King_O_Hill -
      Quote Originally Posted by tongxinshe View Post
      This reply of yours only illustrates your inability in logics.
      Wow! That was nice of you to try and pass this off as my quote! What is it I did to you

      Quote Originally Posted by NewdestinyX View Post

      But not subsidized all the way down to $199 for a 16GB.. right?

      By 'world phone', King, that means CDMA AND GSM on board with a SIM slot?
      Yes $199

      Yes both and with a sim slot!

      Once again AT&T sucks! First they throttle your speed, now they limit you to one network type!
    1. NewdestinyX's Avatar
      NewdestinyX -
      Quote Originally Posted by King_O_Hill View Post
      Wow! That was nice of you to try and pass this off as my quote! What is it I did to you



      Yes $199

      Yes both and with a sim slot!

      Once again AT&T sucks! First they throttle your speed, now they limit you to one network type!
      Wow, great! But from what I read today Verizon just started offering the deal you have now - more recently. And they also throttled in the past just like AT&T. So they "now" have bragging rights for those services and hardware. But they haven't always had those bragging rights. From what I hear customer service on Verizon is just short of a joke. Though I have no personal experience. The fully subsidized world phone thing with a Sim slot and unlocked from the jump is a very very powerful pull to consider changing service.
    1. tayman's Avatar
      tayman -
      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.
      You couldnt have done it weeks, or even months prior to the new law passing as there was no actual unlock for an i5. If you want to be able to use your phone abroad, all you have to do is call ATT and explain the situation. Yeah, you would still have to pay your contract even for the time you were out of country, but you expected that right? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for being able to do what you want to do with your product after you buy it. But in most cases, people are buying their cell phone(s) at a subsidized price, witch means you really arent paying in full for said product until your contract is up with said company. This is a road to end subsidies, witch in the long run will hurt everybody. Theres a only a small percentage of people willing to hack up the $600 + for a brand new iPhone every year.

      As far as this article goes, the only thing I disagree on is; they shouldnt have added DVD back ups. Piracy has been around forever, and ever since dvd burners have been around, you have always been able to find that guy at the corner store selling bootlegs. With things like digital copies, and companies like VUDU, thats all the back up you need.
    1. NewdestinyX's Avatar
      NewdestinyX -
      Quote Originally Posted by tayman View Post
      You couldnt have done it weeks, or even months prior to the new law passing as there was no actual unlock for an i5.
      Actually iPhone 5 permanent unlocks for ATT have been available from the day the iP5 launched. I know. Mine's "in contract" and unlocked. The unlock services (99% of them ) stopped offering the services when the law went into effect on 1/24/13.
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      Quote Originally Posted by NewdestinyX View Post
      Actually iPhone 5 permanent unlocks for ATT have been available from the day the iP5 launched. I know. Mine's "in contract" and unlocked. The unlock services (99% of them ) stopped offering the services when the law went into effect on 1/24/13.
      I don't know of any of the unlocking services that stopped after that date.
    1. NewdestinyX's Avatar
      NewdestinyX -
      Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
      I don't know of any of the unlocking services that stopped after that date.
      My three favorite ones stopped doing i5's after the date. I looked up '30' just yesterday on eBay Simon. All but one listed No ip5. Check again - you'll see.
    1. Simon's Avatar
      Simon -
      Quote Originally Posted by NewdestinyX View Post
      My three favorite ones stopped doing i5's after the date. I looked up '30' just yesterday on eBay Simon. All but one listed No ip5. Check again - you'll see.
      eBay? I wouldn't use eBay for unlocking. All the unlocking sites I know about and use were not affected in any way. I could name 6 off the top of my head right now.

      Did an ebay search to humor you:att imei unlock | eBay

      Looks like there are still tons of people doing it on ebay too. May want to retract your 99%.
    1. vinaygoel2000's Avatar
      vinaygoel2000 -
      Quote Originally Posted by NewdestinyX View Post

      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.
      "In 2012, the Copyright Office renewed the jailbreaking exemption for phones but declined to approve a new exemption for tablet computers such as iPads, due to the vague definition of "tablet" in the proposed exemption."

      Taken from: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/IOS_j...king#section_4

      Jailbreaking an iPad (fully paid for) is not legal in United States. You can read about other countries on the wiki page.
    1. NewdestinyX's Avatar
      NewdestinyX -
      Quote Originally Posted by vinaygoel2000 View Post
      "In 2012, the Copyright Office renewed the jailbreaking exemption for phones but declined to approve a new exemption for tablet computers such as iPads, due to the vague definition of "tablet" in the proposed exemption."

      Taken from: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/IOS_j...king#section_4

      Jailbreaking an iPad (fully paid for) is not legal in United States. You can read about other countries on the wiki page.
      You missed the point. I know every word of the law. What I'm saying is that the legal precedent upon which it rests is flimsy and a case brought against an individual would never stand. I've run this by a couple of lawyer buddies and understand just enough about the legal-eze to follow their reasoning.
    1. vinaygoel2000's Avatar
      vinaygoel2000 -
      Quote Originally Posted by NewdestinyX View Post
      You missed the point. I know every word of the law. What I'm saying is that the legal precedent upon which it rests is flimsy and a case brought against an individual would never stand. I've run this by a couple of lawyer buddies and understand just enough about the legal-eze to follow their reasoning.
      I believe you just because u said u know every word of the law and u have a Wells Fargo looking like avatar.
    1. NewdestinyX's Avatar
      NewdestinyX -
      Quote Originally Posted by vinaygoel2000 View Post
      I believe you just because u said u know every word of the law and u have a Wells Fargo looking like avatar.
      Lol!!