As of yesterday, it is now illegal to unlock a carrier-subsidized phone for use on another network. Doing so before your contract expires now puts you in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The move is meant to protect carriers from losing the money they spend to subsidize phones before they have a chance to earn it back through their service plans. There's already a We The People petition to reverse the decision, but is it worth trying to overturn this law?
Digital Millenium Copyright Act
The content sharing site Pinterest has experienced a meteoric rise in the last few weeks, making it the hot new social media platform to watch. Along with that success have come mounting concerns over copyright violations on Pinterest boards, which the company addressed by introducing a line of "no-pin" code which blocks the Pinterest bookmarklet on websites which implement it. A few days after the code's release, the venerable photo storage and sharing site Flickr has locked down all of its copyrighted images.
In what could become a landmark court decision, New York district court Judge William Pauley has ruled that music locker service MP3Tunes does indeed qualify as a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) "safe haven," thwarting attacks by music labels against the service. In their reporting, Ars Technica says that the ruling could bolster the arguments of other music locker services like Google and Amazon that their activities are legal, pending an inevitable appeal. For those unaware, music lockers are online services that allow users to upload their digital music to remote servers and then stream that music from a computer or mobile device. MP3Tunes, the brainchild of Michael Robertson, gives users this uploading and streaming ability, but also a service called sideload.com to search for tracks already available online and transfer them into the users' lockers. In their suit, lead plaintiff EMI maintained that streaming user-uploaded tracks without a license from the music's copyright owner is illegal. Furthermore, they claimed the sideload.com service gave users access to music they had not paid for, thus perpetuating piracy. The suit also attacked MP3Tunes' use of a process called "deduplification" where instead of hosting thousands of copies of a song, such as Richard Harris' MacArthur's Park, the service hosts one copy and streams it to multiple users.
Whistleblower site Cryptome's ISP, Network Solutions, has just shut down Cryptome.org for posting a leaked copy of Microsoft's 22-page guide detailing surveillance services Microsoft will perform for law enforcement agencies on its various online platforms; Microsoft attacked the post under the guise of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Network Solutions has also locked the domain, preventing it from being transferred to another ISP.
Previously, Network Solutions had set Cryptome's ultimatum for removing the file at February 25th; upon receiving Cryptome's DMCA counter notification, Cryptome editor John Young says they pulled the plug.
Read more about it in our most recent update to the Cryptome saga.