The House passed the legislation after the bill passed the Senate last week. The bill reverses a decision by the Library of Congress that made cell phone unlocking illegal. Unlocking a cell phone was actually legal until a decision by the Library of Congress in 2012 declared that such unlocking was a copyright infringement.
A petition on the White House website demanding the action collected 114,000 signatures thus prompting action.
When it comes to technology legislation or any legislation, it is rare to get action of any kind. But it seems that the both Republicans and Democrats saw a common ground and common sense on this issue and the bill was passed.
Led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and his counterpart in the House Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) the two men took action on the petition. Both men believed that the issue was a basic consumer demand that made sense in the marketplace. Although there were several versions of the bill with some lawmakers attempting to use the bill to instigate broader copyright reform the bill finally passed.
The White House has not said when the president will sign the bill.
Public Knowledge Staff Attorney Laura Moy said in a statement. The bill will “make it easier for consumers to switch from one provider to another, improving competition in the wireless market. It will improve the availability of free and low-cost secondhand phones for consumers who cannot afford to purchase new devices, and it will keep millions of devices out of landfills.”
Breaking It Down
Imagine buying a car and the car company puts a lock on the gas cap so that you can only buy gas from them. Well that’s what the cell phone companies have been doing! This was a rip off and the corporations know it. The deal worked pretty well in the beginning. You get a free cellphone if you sign up for their service. OK. But you can’t use that cell phone if you move to a different carrier.OK. But did anyone notice how the cell phone market changed? The first thing that happened was that cell phones got better and smarter. They could do more. And the carriers stop giving away the best cell phone for free. They instead gave you discounts on the best phones. You got the phone and they added a little to your bill each month until it was paid for. You signed up for their service, you paid for the phone but you still could not take it to another carrier. Wait; discount or no discount, didn’t you pay for that phone? Its yours! Why can’t you use it on another service? Because the cell phone companies were forcing you to buy another phone! Now guess what? You got a phone sitting in your closet, in the glove compartment of your car or in your desk drawer (that’s where mine is) that is perfectly fine but it won’t work. Why? Because the cell phone companies forced you to buy another phone! Well it looks like the president is putting an end to that and justly so. How many phones are the corporations going to force the American consumer to buy? Its gone on for too long! We have a right to use the cell phone we paid for on any service we choose. After the cell phone companies have bled us for two years we have a right to move to a pre-paid or no contract service if we choose. Yeah, now its our choice.