Unlocked Phones and the DMCA

The DMCA

There’s a lot of hub-bub around the whole unlocked phone issue and the DMCA in the States. I’ve broken it down for you here.

There’s a lot of confusion around unlocked phones right now. Recently, the Library of Congress Librarian, who has jurisdiction over expectations in the DMCA removed an exemption related to removing a carrier lock on a cell phone; but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here are a few important factoids around the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA.

  • Put into effect 12-Oct-1998
  • Portions adopted by the EU in the Electronic Commerce Directive 2000. The Copyright Directive 2001 implemented the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty in the EU.
  • Amends Title 17 Copyright Laws in the States and criminalizes the circumvention of DRM protecting copyrighted works.
  • It also criminalizes the act of circumventing of DRM or other controls regardless of  whether or not copyright is actually infringed.
  • Heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet[citation needed].

When you think of the DMCA, think MP3’s and digital music. That’s what legislators had in their heads when they wrote the law. The whole Napster fiasco had the RIAA spitting nails and they were a powerful enough lobby to get Congress to pull together modifications to copyright law that addressed pirating digital music Well, that and software, which is where the whole locked phone thing comes into play.

IMG_20130311_121205

Previously in 2006 and again in 2010, the Librarian of Congress exempted the circumvention of methods around removing the carrier lock in a cell phone’s firmware.  This lock is nothing more than software preventing the use of that phone on a competing wireless network.  As of 27-Jan-2013, it is now illegal to unlock any cellphone purchased after that date without the expressed permission of the device manufacturer, the wireless carrier, or both.

Jailbreaking a device, or removing the lock preventing sandboxing of applications is still permitted.  So, you don’t have to worry about your rooted Android phone/tablet or jailbroken iDevice violating the law. You can still do that for now.

Come back next time and I’ll dive into some of the details around what you can and cannot do, and what many – myself included – recommend you do.

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GIGABYTE Announces 3TB+ Unlock Utility

Gigabyte 3tb unlock utility

Gigabyte announced the availability of the 3TB+ Unlock Utility that allows GIGABYTE motherboards without Hybrid EFI Technology to recognize and use unallocated space on new 3TB and larger hard disc drives (HDDs). The utility is freely available from the utilities page of the official GIGABYTE website.

GIGABYTE 3TB+ Unlock optimizes HDD storage space by allowing the user to create a virtual drive with space that exceeds 2048GB, the maximum amount of storage recognized by 32bit versions of operating systems such as Windows XP. The virtual drives are limited to 2048GB, and the user can create up to 128 partitions, as long as there is additional unallocated space on the HDD. 3TB+ Unlock supports both GPT (GUID Partition Table) and MBR (Master Boot Record) partition styles, however with MBR the number of partitions are limited to 8.

3TB+ Unlock currently supports new high-end motherboard models based on the Intel® X58, Intel® 6 series and AMD 8 series chipsets, and is in the process of being ported to older chipset models so that it will support all motherboards that are currently shipping.

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