AT&T’s DMCA Unlock Response Misses the Point

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AT&T released a statement this morning on its Public Policy Blog, in response to the recent grass-roots efforts seeking legislative action to remove the DMCA prohibition on carrier-unlocking smartphones. AT&T contends that such action isn’t necessary, as the current situation permits carriers to unlock phones at their customers’ request, which AT&T says it’s more than happy to do. The problem is, that totally ignores a significant, legitimate class of users looking to unlock phones.

AT&T says that it will happily unlock phones for “any customer whose account has been active for at least sixty days; whose account is in good standing and has no unpaid balance; and who has fulfilled his or her service agreement commitment.”

What about subscribers who sell their used, locked phones to people that aren’t interested in using them on AT&T? From what the carrier’s saying, these new owners would have to become AT&T subscribers themselves for at least two months before it would acquiesce to their unlocking requests and free them to take their phones elsewhere.

It’s all just a stunningly short-sighted response. No, the existing unlocking laws don’t generally have a negative effect on current AT&T subscribers. The problem is that the group of people who might be interested in unlocking AT&T-locked phones is a whole lot larger than just current subscribers.

Source: AT&T
Via: MobileBurn

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bitsRead more about Stephen Schenck!