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Cell phone unlocking: a legal primer

unlocking, via flickr user ArvidOn March 4th, the Obama administration commented on one of the most wacky parts of copyright law–the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provision and its mandated triennial rulemaking proceeding–by agreeing with the signers of a White House petition that “consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties.” You may be wondering what your cell phone has to do with copyright law, so here’s a primer (PDF) on the issue prepared by ALA’s copyright legislative counsel, Jonathan Band.  This is as wonky as it gets, so put on your nerdiest glasses before reading.

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Carrie Russell

Carrie Russell is the Director of the Program on Public Access to Information in the Office for Information Technology Policy. Her portfolio includes copyright, international copyright, accessibility, e-books and other public policy issues. She has a MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a MA in media arts from the University of Arizona. She can be reached via e-mail at

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