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Have you ever unlocked a smartphone without permission? Well, soon it will be illegal to do so without carrier permission.

There as been a change to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that makes it illegal for consumers to unlock their mobile devices, starting February 2. “Carriers lock smartphones — which they typically subsidize in the U.S. — as a way to prevent their customers from getting a cellular plan with a different company,” according to The Los Angeles Times.

Users unlock phones when they want to switch carriers, after the phone’s original contract has run out, or to use it when they travel abroad. But the Library of Congress determined that consumers have a number of alternatives to unlocking devices, including buying devices that come already unlocked, so a change was made to the act.

“In its latest ruling, the Library of Congress decided the software on a phone is only licensed to the end user, meaning they don’t own it, so therefore the software is not covered by fair-use rules,” writes CNN.

So if you want to unlock, do so by Saturday. Check out iFixit, which opposes the change and has a variety of links on how to unlock phones, reports The L.A. Times. IFixit posted on its blog the following statement: “For many users, unlocking a phone is a necessary fix, opening up a feature and freedom that people need to effectively use their devices. The Copyright Office’s decision to outlaw this right of ownership hurts users and further empowers carriers to trap consumers.”

Do you feel this new change is unfair to smartphone users?


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