Goodlatte Introduces Legislation to Restore Consumers' Ability to Unlock Cell Phones

Press Release

By:  Bob Goodlatte
Date: March 14, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), along with Representative Howard Coble (R-N.C.), Chairman of the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee, and Representative Mel Watt (D-N.C.), Ranking Member of the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee, announced the introduction of legislation to restore consumers' ability to unlock their mobile phones in order to switch from one wireless carrier to another. This bill also directs the Copyright Office to determine whether similar treatment should be given to other wireless devices.

"This bipartisan legislation is focused on protecting consumer choice," said Chairman Goodlatte. "By restoring the cell phone exemption, the power is put back in the hands of the consumer."

The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act (H.R. 1123) restores the exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that permits consumers, once they have fulfilled their contractual obligation, to unlock their cell phones without the approval of their wireless provider. The DMCA rulemaking was announced in October and continued the exemption for cell phones purchased on or before January 26, 2013. The exemption was allowed to expire for cell phones purchased after that date.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate earlier this week.

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