Time and time again I made it clear how disgruntled am with the mobile phone industry and specifically the dreaded iPhone. Luckily, over here in Saudi Arabia, carriers haven’t yet discovered (or maybe don’t have AT&T’s clout) locking phones as a “business” model. So the issue doesn’t affect me directly – bar for phones exported from the States.
However, “liberating” the mobile industry in the States will have a domino effect that will be witnessed around the world. First off, mobile carriers will think twice before locking their consumers down. But most importantly, US companies will not longer have the motivation to export their draconian measures internationally.
This is what the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) wants to pull off. According to the EFF, telecommunication companies are locking down their phones to protect their business models rather than protecting copyrighted material.
So every 3 years the US Copyrights Office convenes to consider exemptions from DMCA’s ban on circumvention of “technical protection measures.” The EFF filed for an examption of the phone industry.
In a press release, EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann said:
“Apple locks its iPhone to AT&T and prevents users from installing any software that has not been pre-approved by Apple. Consumers need a DMCA exemption to lift the cloud of legal risk that otherwise serves only to reduce competition and consumer choice.”
EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick said:
“Companies are using the DMCA to threaten customers out of exercising their consumer rights. The Copyright Office needs to hear real stories about how these software locks frustrate consumers and developers.”
Simple, just visit FreeYourPhone.org and sign the petition. Also, make sure you share your cell phone frustrations. EFF will also help people officially submit those stories to the Copyright Office before the February 2 deadline. The Copyright Office will hold public hearings on the DMCA exemption requests in Washington, DC, and California in the spring, and the final rulemaking order will be issued in October.
Also, word of mouth is paramount! Tell your friends about this, blog it, tweet it…The shackles around your hands won’t break themselves!