Groups across America call on Congress to fix DMCA

Boing Boing is a co-signatory to an open letter (PDF) to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, calling on them to fix the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's ban on jailbreaking and unlocking your devices. This laudable effort was spearheaded by Public Knowledge:

"It is important for Congress to remember that people are waiting on them to solve this problem once and for all. We've seen that Congress wants to ensure that consumers can unlock their phones, but consumers, entrepreneurs, academics, and public interest organizations all agree that we need lasting solutions to make sure that people can use their wireless devices without fearing copyright laws.

"A minor change to the law is all it would take to end this controversy for good. Beyond that, though, this situation shows there are deeper problems with the anticircumvention provisions of the DMCA, and the time is ripe for hearings investigating the harms that come from this law."

Public Knowledge Asks Congress for a Permanent Fix to Cell Phone Unlocking


  1. Copyright law in general is broken.  That the words to “Happy Birthday” are still copyright protected boggles the mind.

    “The Chicago-based music publisher Clayton F. Summy Company, working with Jessica Hill, published and copyrighted “Happy Birthday” in 1935. Under the laws in effect at the time, the Hills’ copyright would have expired after one 28-year term and a renewal of similar length, falling into public domain by 1991. However, the Copyright Act of 1976 extended the term of copyright protection to 75 years from date of publication, and the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 added another 20 years, so under current law the copyright protection of “Happy Birthday” will remain intact until at least 2030.”

  2. In Congress-speak, “fixing a bad law” means “make it worse.” Seriously. Open the DMCA to renegotiation and every special interest group that thinks the current law is too weak will jump into the game waving campaign contributions around as incentives to make the law worse than what it is now. So you might well get jailbreaking legalized but find a whole lot of other less welcome stuff coming with it.

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