Cell phones now unlockable...sort of

Copyright Office
Well, hello there Gadgetboxers. It's been a while, eh? Bout a week, by my reckoning. I could tell you that I'd be kidnapped by militant turkeys, determined to eradicate the barbaric practice of humans eating their kin every fourth November Thursday, but it's simply not true : They were really just demanding ranasom from my employers. However, my utter worthlessness meant that the only thing they got was a barrage of hysterical laughing from my superiors, so it's back to a life of blogging for me.

Turkey insurgency (inturkegency?) wasn't the only highlight of the last week. The Copyright Office of the US Library of Congress recommended, as they do every three years, a list of exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and this crop is a winner . For one thing, they said that college professors ought to be able to bypass DVD copy protection to show clips in their classes. But the big one is for consumers to be able to unlock their cellphones and take them to different networks.

Of course, it's not quite as easy as all that. Gearlog has a sum-up of the exemption where they explain that the ruling really only benefits those on the T-Mobile and Cingular networks, who can now take phones back and forth between the two (a feature they allowed in some cases prior). Sprint and Verizon customers are out of luck, as access is controlled not by those companies' handsets but by their network. And, of course, you can't move from Cingular/T-Mobile to Sprint/Verizon because they use incompatible technologies.

While we're certainly thankful for what the Library of Congress did do, it's worth noting that they refused several other permissions that many consider within the realms of fair use: ripping DVDs to watch on your iPod, watching DVDs on Linux (which requires breaking the encryption), and bypassing the region coding on DVDs all still remain technically illegal under the DMCA. Oh, well, see you in three years.

  
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