AIPLA Quarterly Journal Looks at DMCA Exemption for Protecting iPhone Unlock

The American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA)'s latest Quarterly Journal includes an article entitled Apple's iPhone: The Case For Broadening Exemption Five To 17 Usc 1201 To Ensure Continued Non-Infringing Use Of Wireless Communication Handsets.

The introduction begins provocatively enough by spotlighting an American who, in August 2007, received an AT&T data roaming bill for $4200 after he took his iPhone on a trip to Europe. They do this to point out users who are "angered and frustrated" by carrier lock-ins, and threats that Jailbreaking and unlocking could void their warranties and brick their devices in the future.

The iPhone was chosen to draw a sharp example in support of their arguments in favor of expanding the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act exemption to "better protect non-infringing use" of wireless devices of all types.

We previously heard about the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asking for a DMCA exemption for Jailbreaking and Apple coming out against that idea. As ubiquitous data access becomes more important to more people, however, the real cross-network costs of roaming and the subsidy-based, handset exclusivity business model of big telcos will have to be carefully weighed against users not having to worry about bankruptcy when crossing a geographic border (or standing too close to a cruise ship).

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

AIPLA Quarterly Journal Looks at DMCA Exemption for Protecting iPhone Unlock


I have no idea where you were going with that last sentence, and I suspect you didn't either, but I commend you for your persistence in fighting tooth and nail to arrive at a period.
Lets stay on topic:
The issue here isn't the cost of data roaming.
Save that rant for another post - long overdue IMHO.
The issue here is the current RIGHT (as it stands today) to hack your phone to remove carrier locks.
By logical extension this also allows you to run a totally different OS on the phone if you have one. It certainly does not allow you to jail break your phone because jailbreaking is a modification of Apple's OS, and
arguably a clear copyright violation.
But Carrier Locks have enjoyed a DMCA exemption since the DMCA was enacted. It allows you to Unlock your iPhone (by what ever means) so you can move from the USA(att) to Canada(rogers) without having to buy a new phone.
The cited article is in support of preserving the status quo, not some new raid upon Apple's IP.
Personally, I think Carrier Locks should be outlawed, such as they are in several EU countries. If ATT can't figure out how to hold on to customers in a No-Lock environment maybe the Italian carriers will help them out.