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Thread: U.S. Copyright Office Says OK to Cell Phone Unlocking, Game Emulators

  1. #1
    Hairbautt's Avatar *haircut
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Starting Monday, feel free to unlock that cell phone and play some very old console games

    With number portability already possible in the U.S., cell phone users are freely allowed to carry their numbers to whichever carrier they choose. Taking your handset with you to a new carrier, however, is a completely different story.

    Many cell phone carriers “lock” their phones specifically to their network, meaning that any phone bought from one network cannot be freely used on another network using the same technology. Carriers often do this in an effort to prevent consumers from taking advantage of special subsidized phone pricing and then jumping to another service provider.
    Today, the U.S. Copyright Office changed all that, and is legally allowing cell phone users to break the software locks that cell phone carriers place in their phones. However, carriers are still permitted to software lock their phones.

    Also added to copyright exemptions today allow film professors copy sections from DVDs for educational compilations and let blind people use special software to read copy-protected electronic books, reports AP.
    Computer programs and video game software that no longer have available the original machines required to run them on are also exempted, thus validating the use of select emulators. A bit of a monkey wrench in the emulator legality issue is that the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii all include some form of classic library emulation, possibly taking any game playable on current consoles, new or old, off the list of copyright exempted material.

    "I am very encouraged by the fact that the Copyright Office is willing to recognize exemptions for archivists, cell phone recyclers and computer security experts," said Fred von Lohmann, an attorney with the civil-liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Frankly I'm surprised and pleased they were granted."

    Not everything is beer and skittles with the new copyright laws, however, as certain exceptions were rejected by the Copyright Office. For example, the allowance for owners of a DVD movie to convert its content for use on a portable video player, such as an iPod, remains prohibited.
    Before heading straight into copyright exception territory with reckless abandon, it must be noted that the new rules are effective starting November 27, and will expire in three years.
    Two days old, but new rule takes effect tomorrow. Interesting to see...

    Last edited by Alien5; Jun 6th, 2006 at
    06:36 PM..

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  3. News (Archive)   -   #2
    suprafreak6's Avatar Suprafreak6 is Back!
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    Apr 2005
    thats sweet

  4. News (Archive)   -   #3
    gamer4eva's Avatar Torrent_King BT Rep: +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35BT Rep +35
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    Apr 2006
    I never knew phone unlocking was illegal in the first place......
    Temptations The Ultimate Flaw In Humans

  5. News (Archive)   -   #4
    lynx's Avatar .
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Yorkshire, England
    Quote Originally Posted by gamer4eva View Post
    I never knew phone unlocking was illegal in the first place......
    It isn't the great advantage you might think.

    Although the software lock is broken, you'll find that all the software links still point to the services provided by the original carrier, and if you no longer have a contract with them then those services won't work.

    That means that you have to download and install a new set of software relating to your new carrier's services. If your new carrier doesn't supply that model it probably won't be possible.

    Where it does prove useful is if you are going to another country. Using your phone within that country is expensive because they change you for a call to your country of origin, and another call back to the country you are already in, even though your call never leaves the country, only the charging information. If your phone is unlocked you can buy a local PAYG card and make local cost calls.
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.


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