Tech Companies Back Activist Calling for Fixes to the DMCA
A group of technology heavyweights including YCombinator, Reddit, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Internet advocacy group Fight For the Future and others have launched a new campaign called Fight for the Future. The roots of the campaign go back to a January petition on Whitehouse.gov calling for the U.S. government to make it legal to unlock cell phones. The petition arrived after The Librarian of Congress decided in October 2012 that unlocking of cell phones would be removed from the list of exceptions to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). At FixtheDMCA.org, you can find out much more about the new campaign.
Sina Khanifar launched the original petition campaign and is behind FixtheDMCA.org. On October 28th of last year, the U.S. Library of Congress decded not to renew an exemption for carrier unlocking of cell phones. Jailbreaking phones, of course, allows users to run whatever operating systems and software they want to run. Originally passed by Congress with the music and movie industries heavily backing it, the DMCA is viewed by many as draconian legsislation.
It should be noted that the Obama administration has actually expressed its support for the right to jailbreak phones. As CNet reports:
"In a post on the We The People blog, R. David Edelman, the White House senior adviser for Internet, innovation and privacy, said the administration agrees with those who signed the petition, and aims to support any legislation that would remedy the issue."
It sounds like we haven't heard the last of this debate. There may even be more of an official response from U.S. government officials this week.