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You likely have a cellphone that you bought from a carrier, like AT&T, Verizon or Sprint, and that phone only works on that carrier’s cellular and data network — unless you “unlock” it.That is a software process that allows the phone to work on other carriers if you put in a new SIM card or want to take the phone to another carrier for service. If that’s something you’ve done before or have thought about doing, then you should know that starting Friday, January 25, 2013, it is illegal to unlock a subsidized phone or tablet that’s bought through a U.S. carrier. The U.S. Copyright Office and Library of Congress are no longer allowing phone unlocking as an exemption under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Now, it is illegal to unlock a phone from a carrier unless you have that carrier’s permission to do so. Of course, the carriers prefer the new rule because it ties your phone to their network. U.S. cellular carriers sell phones at a subsidized or discounted rate with a contract. You pay the network for service on a monthly basis and they give you the phone for a cheaper price than it actually is worth. When it was legal, people may have unlocked their phone to resell it when they upgraded to a newer model or to use it with an overseas carrier and take advantage of local rates when they traveled abroad. If your phone has already been unlocked, you are grandfathered in and won’t face any legal issues. But what could happen if you unlocked your phone now that it’s illegal? “Violations of the DMCA [unlocking your phone] may be punished with a civil suit or, if the violation was done for commercial gain, it may be prosecuted as a criminal act,” Brad Shear, a Washington, D.C.-area attorney and blogger who is an expert on social media and technology law, told ABC News. “A carrier may sue for actual damages or for statutory damages.” The worst-case scenario for an individual or civil offense could be as much as a $2,500 fine. As for those planning to profit off of the act or a criminal offense — such as a cellphone reseller — the fine could be as high as $500,000 and include prison time.”I don’t see carriers going aggressively after people, but bottom line is that I would not recommend violating this provision of the law,” Shear said.

Read the full story:-–abc-news-tech.html


  • Oh Dear says:

    This is crap and will only benefit the phone companies and not the consumer. So if you are being robbed blind by the phone companies and want to leave you have to pay off a supertab if thats what you are on, which means you have to pay off for the cost of the phone, and if you are on a contract you have to pay the penalties for breaking the contract, so with all that you cant transfer the phone to a preferred company and yuh a pay fah?, total rubbish, this law should be protested.

  • No Joke says:

    An dis naw go nuh weh…Cause there are so many nations livin in the US. When they travel they need a phone…and most of the reasonable phones need to be unlocked for cellphone services internationally. And as long as this need exist they won’t be able to put a stop to unlocking of phones

  • Hotstepper...formerly peeper says:

    nah stop people from unlock dem phone…mi have a iphone 5 from verizon and those come already unlocked, so at least fi now mi no affi worry bout dat

  • ... says:

    dis a foolishness, cause dem waan try lock ppl inna dem eediat plan weh nuh stop rob ppl. Dem mussi mean yuh cyaan carry it on the ave an unlock it cause if mi a go overseas dem (phone company)unlock it.

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