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).