Locked Up for Unlocking GSM Phones?
There has been a lot of buzz lately about the legality of unlocking phones. There is a good reason for this, as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act recently suspended the right of U.S. citizens to unlock phones bought after January 26, 2013. A lot of people and retailers were not thrilled by this decision– especially when unlocked GSM cell phones are more valuable.
Wait, hold up. What are “unlocked” phones and why is there such a fuss over them?
Great question. A phone that is “unlocked” is not tied to any particular wireless carrier or service. Which means that you can change your phone service as you please- whether through prepaid SIM cards or GSM wireless carriers. As things stand in the U.S., many cell phones come “locked” into a single wireless carrier, forcing folks to use that service and use exclusively the phones that the carriers sell, change phones, or “unlock” their phones to be able to use with the new carrier.
Enter the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which passed with a provision intended to protect the creative powers that be against copyright infringement. But the wording was vague enough that big businesses were able to put the kibosh on individuals unlocking phones to switch carriers– even when they had no intention of stealing media. As such, as the (lack of) legality stands, consumers can technically be sued or fined for unlocking.
However, you have another option. Many phones, like all of Unnecto’s GSM cell phones, already come unlocked. So you can get the perks of an unlocked phone– without the dangers of being locked up yourself– because if the mobile GSM phone comes unlocked and ready to use in any carrier there is no infringment.