Copyright Office rules that consumers can legally unlock cellphones

Evan Blass
E. Blass|11.23.06

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Copyright Office rules that consumers can legally unlock cellphones
Looking for a reason to be thankful today (besides the fact that Engadget writers snubbed their families in order to toil through the holiday and bring you your daily dose of gadget news)? Well look no further than Librarian of Congress and copyright czar James H. Billington, who has bequeathed a wonderful gift upon millions of cellphone users by granting an exemption wherein consumers may legally break the software locks on their handsets in order to transfer service to another carrier. That's right, starting on Monday you'll be able to say screw you to Cingular or ta ta to T-Mobile and keep rocking your precious RAZR even after you've jumped ship and signed up with a new provider. The exemption is one of a record six granted by the Copyright Office on Wednesday, and was announced so unexpectedly, that even the EFF's Fred von Lohmann admitted that he was "surprised and pleased" by the development. So go forth, friends, and use this new info to either make the switch or squeeze a better deal out of your current provider -- just remember, no matter how hard you try, you're just not gonna be able to get that unlocked GSM phone to play nice with Sprint or Verizon.

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