Nick Gillespie of Reason says: "We have an interview with Derek Khanna, the guy who got bounced from the Republican Study Committee last fall for publishing (with full approval by his boss) a memo critical of current copyright law and one of the folks pushing a White House petition to allow users to legally unlock their cell phones."
"Who owns your phone at the end of the day?" asks Derek Khanna, a visiting fellow at Yale Law and former staff member at the Republican Study Committee.
Last fall, Khanna earned notoriety - and a pink slip - for a public memo urging GOP members of Congress to rethink their stance on copyright law.
More recently, in a column for The Atlantic, Khanna blasted a new ruling that criminalizes the unlocking of cellphones under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). Unlocking the phone simply means that a person could use a phone designed for one carrier on another carrier, assuming they had switched his plan. In addition to civil penalties, breaking this law could land you in prison for up to five years and force you to pay a fine of up to $500,000.
"In 1998 a poorly written statute, the DMCA, was passed and it prohibited a wide swath of commonly used technology in the name of defending copyright," Khanna explains. "If this is allowed to stand, then the answer is you don't own your phone."
A White House petition to change the law recently reached the 100,000 signature threshold, which means the Obama administration will have to give an opinion on the matter.
Khanna sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie to discuss the unlocking your cellphone, the flaws in the DMCA, and why he was fired from the Republican Study Committee after writing a paper condemning current copyright law.
BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music. has been trying to enlist Cox Cable as an accomplice in a copyright trolling scheme, demanding that the company pass on copyright infringement notices that accuse users of downloading music and order them to pay large sums of music or face punishing lawsuits.
Motherboard’s Jason Koebler follows Kyle Wiens around the Electronics Reuse Conference — Burning Man for the service-people who fix your phones, laptops, and other devices — in New Orleans. Wiens is founder and CEO of Ifixit, whose mission is to tear down every single thing you own, write a repair manual for it, and source […]
Every three years, the Librarian of Congress allows the public to request exemptions to a law that makes it a felony to break a digital lock, even on on a device that you own, and which you are breaking for a lawful purpose. For the past year, public interest groups have been spending their scarce money and resources writing petitions to the Copyright Office, arguing that people who own devices with computers in them should have the same property rights as they do in their non-computerized devices: the right to open, change, and improve the things they own in lawful ways.
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