Humberto Saabedra is the Editor-in-Chief of and an occasional columnist for He can also be found musing on things at @AnimeNewsdotbiz

4 responses to “Third-Party Phone Unlocking Illegal In The US As Of January 26th”

  1. jimmc

    to further clarify the exemption, second-hand purchases should be safe for a while. to quote the ruling, it applies to phones “originally acquired from the operator of a wireless telecommunications network or retailer” on or after January 26 2013.

    At least for the time being, this means most phones purchased second-hand on or after Jan 26 should also be exempt.

  2. Tom S

    Just because there’s no longer a DMCA exemption, doesn’t make it illegal. The courts have only convicted those who have unlocked devices for the purposes of resale.

    It is now, however, a gray area.

    An exemption from DMCA does not mean that the exempted behavior was necessarily illegal, simply that the Library of Congress wanted to avoid the concern.

  3. John

    I haven’t read the original text of the ruling, but it sounds like this puts only grey-market resellers and hands-on unlock services out in the cold. It seems to me that end users are still legally entitled to unlock their devices themselves, and third parties could simply package and sell tools to simplify the process for the user. Even T-Mobile could work around this by providing a software suite which accesses and streamlines the use of extant unlocking software and mechanisms from the interwebs. After all, they are only selling SIM cards and airtime in such a situation. The customer’s use of freely available software is the customer’s own responsibilty. Anyway, the more US carriers try to tighten the noose around their market, the more that market will look to imports, clones, independent manufacturers, etc. to get what they want. Oh yeah, and US law won’t keep anyone from sending a phone to another country to get unlocked and sent back. This will only hasten the demise of companies like AT&T and Sprint and the stooges that serve them in Washinton.

  4. jose avila

    The US goverment always protecting the major wireless companies, why? Because all the money they collect…they like$$$$$. They do not protect the consumer in no way. But ironically yes phone unlocking will be done outside the US. The phone companies squeeze every cent they can out of us by overcharging for the services. Is this a joke Mr President??