On March 24, 2015, U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO) re-introduced the bipartisan Unlocking Technology Act, a bill that would permanently allow consumers to unlock their cell phones and also allow the opening of digital locks for other legitimate uses. LCA applauds the re-introduction of this legislation which would facilitate legitimate uses of digital media and technology.
This bill improves on the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, passed by Congress in July 2014, which renewed the previously granted exemption to allow consumers to unlock their cell phones after the Copyright Office failed to renew the cell-phone unlocking exception in its 2012 triennial rulemaking process. The Unlocking Technology Act permanently fixes a central flaw of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which can be interpreted to allow for liability for opening a digital lock even where there is no copyright infringement. The bipartisan bill would free non-infringing uses of digital media and technology and allow the creation and distribution of the tools necessary to facilitate such legitimate uses.