It’s Now Illegal to Unlock Your Phone in the US.

Padlocked Phone
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Avatar of Aaron Richardson
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on January 26, 2013
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Padlocked PhoneBig news today is that the U.S. Copyright Office and Library of Congress are no longer allowing people in the US to unlock their phones. Before today there was an exemption in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that allowed new phones to be unlocked within 90 days. This exemption has now been removed and it is now illegal to ‘unlock’ your phone and use it with another carrier without the original carriers permission.

Here in the UK we don’t have a sim locking law which is great for us, but not so great for those across the pond. The great thing about the ability to unlock your phone is partly due to the freedom of not being stuck with one phone network and partly down to the ability to use multiple sim cards with one phone. That freedom has now been snatched away from people in the US and for those that now get their phones illegally unlocked could get a $2,500 fine slapped onto them and for the individual or re-seller that’s profiting from unlocking handsets could get fined $500,000 and possibly earn themselves some prison time.

This decision is welcomed by carriers in the US such as Verizon and AT&T because this ties the individuals to their network. But some people aren’t so happy with this decision.

It’s not all bad news though because phone users can request to get their phones unlocked depending on certain conditions, or you can purchase unlocked handsets from the particular carrier you’re interested in, but expect it to be at a higher price and “”Legacy” or used handsets purchased before today can still be unlocked without any finger-wagging from federal courts.” according to Engadget.

What are your thoughts on the US Copyright Office and Library of Congress removing the exemption to unlock phones? Leave a comment below!