The Music Industry Wants The Digital Copyright Law Reformed

First, we had live music, then we got vinyl records, then cassettes and CD’s and now we can enjoy our music anywhere we like in the palm of our hand thanks to Digital music. The problem is that being able to share and copy music so easily isn’t for everyone and the American music industry wants the Digital Copyright Law Reformed.

Why does someone want the Digital Copyright Law reformed? The American music industry argues that the approach of issuing takedown notices to people who upload content illegally just doesn’t work when combating the number of web addresses and options people have for uploading music. They claim that the safe harbor passages of the Digital Copyright Law actually protect those who benefit from piracy, such as google with its search engine and YouTube videos.

As part of the reform, the music industry is looking at technology like audio fingerprinting to spot piracy before something is even uploaded. They are also asking that a takedown notice for say a song on YouTube, would affect all illegal copies of the song on that site. While the music industry may argue that issuing takedown requests at the moment doesn’t help enough, Google would argue that after a recent study as many as 30 percent of the takedown requests they received were dodgy.

People currently argue that the Digital copyright law is a guilty-until-proven-innocent piece of legislation, that often ends up with videos and content that use music for legal reasons are flagged up on systems. Asking for copyright law to be reformed, especially around its safe harbor passages, could result in the law being relaxed, or entirely new measures being put in place to combat the onslaught of takedown requests sites and search engines receive for both genuine and ‘dodgy’ reasons.

Google Receives 1500 DMCA Takedowns Per Minute

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act gives copyright holders the ability to make takedown requests for any content they deem a breach of copyright law. During the last month, Google received 5,609 takedown notices spanned across 65 million links. This translates to 1,500 demands per minute or 25 per second! According to TorrentFreak, takedown requests have doubled compared to the same time last year. The graph below outlines the huge rise of DMCA requests per week:

Back in 2011, Google only received a few hundred takedown requests each day but this figure has now grown to more than two million. On another note, Google last year changed its search algorithm to downrank websites which hosted pirated content or received copyright notices. Despite this, the MPAA and RIAA believe Google isn’t doing enough to deter piracy and remove content in a quick fashion. However, the huge amount of takedowns only makes the system appear quite flawed and impossible to manage effectively. Perhaps copyright holders should focus on the serial offenders and not simply a site hosting the odd illegal file here and there.

I can see the upward trend continuing and takedown requests per day reaching 3000, then 6000, and 12000. This seems ridiculous and surely there is a better way of protecting copyrighted material without going on a crusade through the DMCA.

DMCA Exception Makes Smart TV Hacking Legal

Every three years, the US Copyright Office listens to petitions to make revisions and exemptions to the anti-circumvention protections of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The Software Freedom Conservancy used the most recent review as an opportunity to make jailbreaking smart TVs legal under the DMCA, an exemption which, surprisingly, was granted by the Librarian of Congress on Tuesday (27th October).

While Hollywood studios protested against any amendment to the DMCA over fears that it would facilitate the installation of software, such as Popcorn Time, that could be used to watch pirated content, the Copyright Office ruled that hacking a smart TV to utilise legal software constitutes fair use, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The ruling reads [.pdf]:

“The Register also found that the prohibition on circumvention is adversely affecting legitimate noninfringing uses of smart TV firmware, and that the proposed alternatives to circumvention, such as connecting a laptop computer to the TV, are inadequate, because they would not allow installation of software on the smart TV to improve its functioning as a TV, such as facilitating more prominent subtitles. The Register also concluded that no evidence was submitted to illustrate opponents’ claim that jailbreaking of smart TVs will make it easier to gain unauthorized access to copyrighted content, or that it would otherwise undermine smart TVs as a platform for the consumption of expressive works.”

Other DMCA exemptions allows DVD and Blu-Ray footage to be used and edited for educational, critical, or documentary purposes under fair use, which should hopefully stymie some of the more spiteful DMCA takedowns of such works on YouTube.

TTP Could Outlaw Filesharing Sites

WikiLeaks has been releasing secret documents from the recently-signed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which ties a cabal of Pacific countries, including the US, Canada, and Australia, to an intercontinental trade agreement, over the last week, and the latest papers, related to intellectual property, could threaten the existence of filesharing websites.

TTP is designed to unify rules and laws that govern business practices across all member countries, meaning that the harshest laws become uniform across every nation signed to the agreement. So, the United States of America’s notorious DMCA takedowns can be applied to all 12 TPP member states.

The leaked documents require all TPP members to adhere to a law that says that ISPs must “remove or disable access” to a website found sharing infringing content. Note: it is not the content that is disabled, it is the site itself. Canada, which has always been laissez-faire when it comes to content takedown will now be obliged to reprimand websites upon a single complaint.

There is still hope, though. The document released by WikiLeaks is merely the current wording, not the final draft, so with months still to go during the drafting process, we may see the rulings become less draconian.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

‘Pixels’ Copyright Notices Removed the Studio’s own Trailer

Pixels is an atrocious video game-themed movie and less endearing than a swarm of angry wasps. The film has gained notoriety for its sheer incompetence and it has received an astonishingly low score of 18% on Rotten Tomatoes. Not content with ruining the childhood memories of many iconic arcade games, Columbia Pictures has attempted to copyright the term “Pixels” and instigated a wave of copyright take-downs.

According to TorrentFreak, an anti-piracy group called Entura, hounded a number of independent filmmakers and removed their work from Vimeo. This includes a film from 2006 produced by NeMe, a non-profit organization and ‘Independent Museum of Contemporary Art’. In a forum post, the company said:

“Our NGO has just received a DMCA notice for a video we produced in 2006 entitled ‘Pixels’,”

 “The video was directed by a Cypriot film-maker using his own photos and sounds/music on a shoestring budget and infringes no copyright.”

“Please somebody do check the video in question and confirm for yourselves that it breaks no copyright laws and that it has nothing to do with the latest multi-million blockbuster which prompted this notification.”

Unfortunately, the video no longer exists and the URL displays a redirect error. Once again, this illustrates how absurd the DMCA algorithm is and how often it affects legitimate pieces of content which have nothing to do with an automatic copyright claim; the copyright legal framework is absurdly outdated and needs radical reform.

In a hilarious twist, a DMCA takedown actually removed Pixels’ trailer from the official account designed to market the film. This should serve as a lesson to companies who attempt to copyright a widespread term and bully content creators. The current DMCA policy is flawed and constantly abused to remove critical videos or fan-made creations containing a copyrighted music score. Columbia Pictures, Adam Sandler and Entura should be ashamed of themselves.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Twitter Sued Again for Failing to Comply with Takedown Request

It has happened before that someone sued Twitter on the grounds of failing to remove copyrighted material upon request and now it is happening again. This time it is the award-winning photographer Kristin Pierson that has filed a lawsuit against the social-media giant Twitter after she claimed that they failed to respond to a takedown request on one of her photographs and equally failed to remove it.

User-generated sites can generally not be held accountable for copyright infringement done by their users, as long as the have a takedown policy and responds to the requests made. This is the same for twitter and they’re taking down a lot of links and images based on that, but this time it must have failed.

This week Kristen Pierson filed a complaint against Twitter at a California District Court where she accuses Twitter of hosting or linking to one of her works without permission.

“A Twitter user or users copied the Infringing Image without license or permission from Pierson and on information and belief sent one or more Tweets publicizing and linking to it. The Infringing Uses were hosted either on Twitter or on third-party servers,” the complaint reads.

This isn’t the first time that this has happened and Twitter got sued by a photographer. Christopher Boffoli previously sued the company for the same offense and that case was settled outside of the courtroom.

Pierson didn’t mention whether she sent any follow-ups on the original request and TorrentFreak couldn’t find the takedown notice in question on Chillingeffects.com where Twitter publishes its takedown notices. Pierson wants to prevent Twitter from hosting or linking to her work and in addition she demands both statutory and actual damages which could very well exceed $150,000 USD.

The photo in question was still online available until yesterday, but it has since been removed and can’t be found on twitters twimg.com URL anymore. The original takedown request was sent on March 4th last year.

Thank You TorrentFreak for providing us with this information

WordPress Dismisses 43% of Piracy Takedown Notices

Automattic, the company behind WordPress, has published the number of DMCA takedown requests received during the last few months. Between January to June, there was a total of 4,679 copyright claims submitted but only 57% were successful. Why? A large proportion of these were inaccurate and more than 10% of cases contained an abusive agenda. Interestingly, the figures below show that over 50% of requests were rejected during February and April.

 

A representative from the company said,

“We work hard to make our DMCA process as fair, transparent, and balanced as possible, so we stringently review all notices we receive to quickly process valid infringement claims and push back on those that we see as abusive,”

While WordPress do not currently publish the specifics of each request, they are considering making an example out of those who abuse the system. Sifting through thousands of DMCA submissions is an extremely time-consuming task and becoming more unbearable as each month progresses. Copyright holders are taking a proactive approach to remove illegitimate content from a variety of websites. This is extremely problematic with websites which host user-created photos, videos and other material. There’s still a legal ambiguity in regards to who the onus for illegal content is on. Additionally, the internet is an open ecosystem and fixating on removing content is a lost cause.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of WordPress.org.

Hollywood Issuing DMCA Takedowns for Content on Their Own Computers

Are you familiar with this message?

“In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org.”

It appears at the bottom of Google search results, usually when looking for pages related to an intellectual property, and comes as a result of DMCA takedowns issued by the copyright holder. Say you’re searching for The Avengers: Age of Ultron; it’s likely that the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has found instances of piracy related to the movie, and submitted DMCA takedown notices to have the infringing pages removed from Google searches.

A recent DMCA takedown sent to Google, related to dino blockbuster Jurassic World, looks like any other.

Except, on closer inspection, one of the infringing URLs is listed as http://127.0.0.1 which, as I’m sure most readers will know, is the localhost address of the person sending the DMCA. That means that the DMCA takedown includes materials on the submitter’s computer.

NBC Universal made the same mistake when issuing a DMCA takedown for 47 Ronin:

While Workman Publishing also had the infringing content – in this case, the Life of Pi audiobook – on their computers:

A search through ‘Chilling Effects’, Google’s database of DMCA notices, will present a plethora of infringing 127.0.0.1 URLs. Maybe Hollywood should be held to account for its role in online piracy, too.

Thank you The Next Web for providing us with this information.

Google Fiber Users Receiving Automated Fines for Piracy

Google is sending customers of its fibre service that are suspected of illegally downloading copyrighted materials automated fines. Google Fiber users have received fines, sent through automated e-mails, of up to hundreds of dollars. Other automated messages from the internet provider include takedown notices to users thought to be hosting pirated data.

Google, though its search engine, usually has a good record at protecting users from DMCA takedown notices from copyright holders, so the company’s use of automated fines as a first point of contact is surprising. Settlement fees send through such e-mails tend to range from anywhere between $20 and $300. Even ISPs such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T protects its customers from such settlement demands, which makes Google allowing these e-mails, though copyright enforcers such as Rightscorp and CEG TEK a real concern.

According to Mitch Stoltz, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), ISPs are no required by law to forward DMCA notices to users, and should be obliged to carefully review any such notice before taking action.

“In the U.S., ISPs don’t have any legal obligation to forward infringement notices in their entirety. An ISP that cares about protecting its customers from abuse should strip out demands for money before forwarding infringement notices. Many do this,” Stoltz says.

“The problem with notices demanding money from ISP subscribers is that they’re often misleading. They often give the impression that the person whose name is on the ISP bill is legally responsible for all infringement that might happen on the Internet connection, which is simply not true,” he adds.

Google has so far refused to comment on the matter.

Thank you Torrent Freak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Techno Buffalo.

New Halo Online Mod is Fully Playable; Video Shows Multiplayer Action

Despite being hit with DMCA takedown notices from Microsoft, modders of Russia-only MMO Halo Online have been clear that they are not to be deterred, and a new build of the region-bypassing mod offers players the full Halo Online multiplayer experience for the first time.

Video of the mod comes courtesy of YouTube user GamingPranks, and shows the multiplayer function in action in 1080p at 60fps (though the uploader does apologise for lag, citing an unstable P2P network):

http://youtu.be/61QfaRjv89I

Source: Dark Side of Gaming

Publishers Want to Make Old Game Archiving Illegal

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) wants archiving of abandoned video games, such as Internet Archive’s ever-growing library, illegal, calling the practice “hacking”, which is “associated with piracy”.

The ESA’s statement follows a move by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to have abandoned games exempted from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions (Section 1201) by the Copyright Office in order to allow those games to be archived as historical artefacts.

The EFF claims that Section 1201 is routinely abused by the entertainment industries to “control markets and lock out competition,” rather than prevent copyright infringement as it was designed to do. The ESA is now formally opposing the EFF’s exemption application on the grounds that it would “undermine the fundamental copyright principles on which our copyright laws are based,” and that it would send a message that “hacking—an activity closely associated with piracy in the minds of the marketplace—is lawful.” Way to obfuscate the point, ESA.

The EFF maintains that its position is to protect and preserve cultural works that would otherwise become abandoned when they cease to become profitable to the developers. The ESA’s stance against this smacks of childish spitefulness – ‘If we can’t make money out of these games, then you can’t not make money out of them, either!”

The US Copyright Office is still considering any potential exemption to DMCA Section 1201.

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation

Sony Tries to Stop Email Leaks with DMCA Claims

There are always some people that become citizen journalists when the mainstream media fails to pick up on something or cover it as deeply as they would like, and the musician Val Broeksmit is one of them. Not satisfied with the media coverage, he started to tweet (@BikiniRobotArmy) small excerpts from the hacked Sony emails that he felt overlooked or uncovered.

In return, Sony issued legal threats to him and twitter on the 22nd December, but without any effect and the tweets remained online. Two days later Sony then instead claimed copyright infringement on the 20 tweets and tried to get them removed that way. A week later only two of the 20 tweets had been removed and Twitter doesn’t seem to budge further.

Twitter in itself has been a key player before when it came to freedom of speech and citizen journalists, and thankfully it looks like it takes a bit more than a takedown notice from Sony UK to have them act in blind and in haste. And honestly, given twitters character limitation, the published information is severely limited.

Thanks to Ars Technica for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of John Savageau’s

Google Updates Search Algorithm, Demotes Piracy in Favour of Legal Content

We’ve all been told time and time again that the internet has the capacity to be the Wild West of all digital content, potentially harming the back pockets of media groups and movie studios. Google today took new steps in measures against pirated content available on the web, and has updated its search algorithm to systematically remove and demote rankings of illegitimately sourced content in favour of legal content. The changes come in addition to steps Google took back in 2012 to down-rank companies and sites which received a large quantity of valid DMCA notices.

Whenever a user inputs terms such as “free” or “watch” and searching – Google’s algorithm will now point toward legally obtainable sources of the material. The testing for the update is currently live and running in North America, but the company says it’s expecting to push an international expansion of the updated algorithm worldwide sometime in the near future. On top of this, Google says it’s also removing a number of auto-complete terms from the engine as well  that are similarly aimed at demoting any auto-complete topic that directs towards pirated content.

Thanks to Google for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of The Times.

Movie Company Asks Google To Remove IMDB Links And Official Trailers From Its Listings

By now most of us know that the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown service has been abused by companies and business interests. In the past we’ve seen companies try to get the Pirate Bay homepage delisted from Google for no valid reason, something Google rejected, we’ve seen Microsoft send Google a DMCA takedown request for removing its own links and we’ve seen GoPro use a DMCA take down on DigitalRev to remove an unfavourable review from their site. These are but a handful of examples that show the DMCA takedown procedure is often abused, misused or simply misunderstood.

The latest example comes from TorrentFreak who report that movie company Magnolia Pictures submitted a DMCA takedown notice to Google. The request asked Google to remove IMDB links, Rotten Tomatoes links and official trailer links, to several of its own movies, from Google’s search engine. Yes you heard that right Magnolia Pictures want IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes and Official trailer links, to their own movies removed from Google. The movies in question were “I Give It a Year”, “Mr Nobody”, “Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie” and “Prince Avalanche”.

Of course Google was not stupid enough to process their requests and Google rejected them all on the basis of them being invalid. What this latest incident shows is that DMCA takedowns are a complete and utter joke and are being consistently abused and misused to the point where companies are so over-zealous they now attack their own products on legitimate sites. It also shows that Google are expected to be the copyright police of the internet as companies just dump a bucket-load of DMCA takedown notices on Google and expect them to determine which ones are valid requests and which ones are not.

Come on Hollywood. It’s time to grow up.

Image courtesy of Google

Google Ignores Requests To Delist Pirate Bay Homepage

Torrent Freak reports that the BPI, British Phonographic Industry/British Recorded Music Industry, has failed in a request to Google to get them to delist the Pirate Bay’s new domain thepiratebay.sx. The BPI submitted more than 2000 allegedly infringing URLs to Google including the Pirate Bay’s homepage. Despite the staggering number of submissions Google still managed to filter out the homepage DMCA takedown as an invalid request. Why? Because Google did not believe that the Pirate Bay homepage infringes on the rights of the BPI’s music in any way. The BPI can successfully have the webpages holding the torrent files to their music delisted but the Pirate Bay homepage itself is another matter.

Google continues to maintain the principle of not delisting an entire website domain because the website hosts some infringing URLs. This presumption follows the principle that websites, particularly ones with search engines, cannot be held responsible for providing links to content that is infringing. Of course if Google didn’t follow that principle Google itself would be one of the biggest violators in the world because it provides access to millions of URLs that host infringing content through its search engine.

Image courtesy of Google (via eTeknix)

Microsoft “Accidentally” Tries To Remove Open Office Download Links

A few weeks ago we brought you the news that Microsoft had sent Google DMCA takedown notices for its own product pages and website, now TorrentFreak reports that Microsoft has sent out DMCA takedown notices for download pages of Open Office, a competitor to Microsoft’s Office software.

The Open Office suite is a freeware so it being shared on torrent websites is totally legal and not breaking any copyright laws. Microsoft requesting a DMCA takedown for Open Office download pages is therefore not justified, especially since they are not even the copyright owner in the first place. That said, it is likely that it was just an unfortunate accident and Google did not respond to the DMCA takedown notices by removing the pages. All are still up and Google clearly spotted the mistake which it does tend to do most of the time. Ultimately this incident is just another reason as to why there needs to be a more transparent and regulated DMCA takedown procedure to help weed out false, unjustified and incorrect DMCA takedown requests.

Image courtesy of TorrentFreak

Microsoft Sends Google DMCA Takedown Notice For Its Own Web Links

Google is bombared with Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take down notices everyday, but it isn’t everyday that Microsoft submits one trying to get its own web links de-listed from Google’s search engine. According to TorrentFreak Microsoft did exactly that.

The reason for such an “epic fail” is that Microsoft affiliates have automated systems which often end up requesting DMCA take downs on perfectly legitimate content, legitimate websites and sometimes even on their own content as this example shows. Luckily for Microsoft Google didn’t comply with the request and the Microsoft links still remain listed in the Google search engine.

Invalid DMCA take downs are becoming a problem for small legitimate companies as demonstrated a few weeks ago when media giant HBO filed a DMCA take down against the search engine listing for the VLC Media Player website. This was done in an effort to combat piracy of their Game of Thrones TV show.

It remains to be seen how much longer DMCA take downs can continue to go through unregulated. With Google dealing with millions every week it is only a matter of time before they end up delisting something unjustly.

Image #1 courtesy of nethope.orand Image #2 courtesy of TorrentFreak.com

GoPro Sends a DMCA Takedown Notice to DigitalRev Over Images Used In The Review

DigitalRev removed the review of GoPro Hero 3 and replaced it with the text of a DMCA takedown notice that they’ve received from GoPro. DigitalRev also tweeted a message ‘@GoPro is bullying us with DMCA. We’ll have to remove this article soon”. This created an unwanted attention towards GoPro almost instantaneously.

DigitalRev is a blog/photography store/Youtube channel/photo sharing social network community which made a review of GoPro and compared it with Sony HDR-AS15. But they claimed a foul over GoPro as the company claims that DigitalRev illegally used the trademarks “GoPro” and “Hero”. Tweets started pouring in by angry fans and non DigitalRev fans alike, promising that they’ll never buy a GoPro product.

These messages also ended up in relevant sub-Reddit sections as well.

But GoPro quickly clarified (or tried to) that they weren’t trying to take down the review- which showed the product in a positive light. The problem is that the company didn’t want them to use the images that they’ve put up on the e-commerce part of  the website, which doesn’t really make sense for many.

GoPro posted a reply on Reddit:

The letter that was posted next to the review on DigitalRev was not sent in response to the review. Obviously, we welcome editorial reviews of our products. This letter was sent because DigitalRev is not an authorized reseller of GoPro products and they were using images and had incorrect branding and representation of our product in their online commerce store. As part of our program – we ask merchants who are selling our product to use authorized images. That is why DigitalRev was contacted. But – our letter did not clearly communicate this and that is something we will correct.

It didn’t explain why was the review was asked to be taken down via a DMCA notice rather than simply asking to correct the image on the e-commerce part of the site using a friendly email?

GoPro tried to do damage control by posting their links that expressed their detailed clarification on Reddit, although (and as expected) turned out to be a futile attempt. The company even replied to tweets of many angry commenters:

Whatever the case, its obvious that reviewers will take photos of products as we fit to show the device to its readers and not just use media shots all the time.

DigitalRev stated that its most likely because GoPro didn’t like to be compared with Sony AS15 and implied that the DMCA takedown is an excuse to make sure the comparative review was removed. They mentioned:

It appears that our friend at San Mateo doesn’t like us comparing their latest product to the Sony AS15. Earlier today we have received a DMCA take down notice from GoPro for mentioning their trademarks “GoPro” and “Hero” without their authorisation. They say “you learn something new everyday”, and this is clearly an eye-opener for us here. It appears that we’ll need their authorisation to review their products.

While GoPro tried to link the e-commerce part of DigitalRev and sidebar pictures and the actual content, it shows that throwing the DMCA notice as a weapon to product your brand to “protect” it can do more harm than good (if there was any good at all in the first place). Hopefully, GoPro’s lawyers will go easy before they start tossing around DMCA takedown notices unless they want their client’s brand look bad.

Via: Techcrunch

The White House responds to phone unlock petition, agrees that it should be allowed

After collecting a total of 114,322 signatures via an online petition on The White House’s website to remove DMCA exemptions for unlocking cellphones which was implemented by the Librarian of Congress, The White House has given a response: You should be able to unlock your phone with no legal penalty as long you own the phone.

It should be noted that the term “unlocking” should not be confused with the term “jail-breaking”, but unlocking was made illegal without carrier permission during late January, a decision made just after removing a DMCA exemption that lets users go ahead with it. This caused anger among many phone owners and eventually a petition was filed on The White House’s page where they’ll have to give an official response once 100,000 signatures are collected.

The White house made it clear that unlocking should be allowed, so long as the phone is not under contract. The response also said that it should apply for second hand or any other mobile devices where you buy or receive it as a gift and wish to activate the wireless network of preference or need, even if it isn’t the one which the device was first activated with. All consumers deserve that flexibility.

The White House also said that Librarian of Congress have made this decision against the advice that came from the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) who is The President’s advisory organization for such matters in hand.

The response also added that The Obama Administration would support to address this issue to make it clear that neither criminal law or technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer under a service contract or any other obligation. It also noted The Chairman of Federal Communication Commission Genachowski voiced his concern about mobile phone unlocking. Therefore, NTIA will be formally engaging with FCC to address this issue.

Although it maybe a while before this is discussed upon, having The White House’s official response should boost some pressure to reverse the decision eventually in the people’s favour.

Via: Gizmodo

FCC to Investigate Smartphone Unlocking Ban

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission mentioned about the Library of Congress’s controversial decision to stop allowing consumers to unlock their cellphones so that they can switch to their preferred wireless carriers.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski gave an interview to techcrunch, where said that the “ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns.” during the CrunchGov event in their San Francisco headquarters.

The Digital Millennium Copyright act allows the congress the power to make exemptions to the anti- circumvention process. During its latest rulemaking process, the congress cancelled the exemption for cellphone unlocking. Up till now, these provisions were in effect for the last six years.

It’s because of this decision, that unlocked cellphones that were purchased after January 26 to switch to preferred wireless carriers will lead to civil and maybe criminal penalties.

Last week there was a petition filed on the White House’s website which attracted 100,000 signatures viz. a bare minimum signups where an official white house response is supposed to be given.

While the FCC may be investigating the change and will try to bring more clarity into this issue, it’s unclear if the FCC has the authority to resolve this on behalf of the people. Genachowski however said that they will be looking at ways to see if they can reverse this decision. He said,”It’s something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones.”

Derek Khanna, an online activist and a former staff member in the Republican party was the one responsible to publicize this issue. He did say that the FCC’s decision to look into the matter as terrific development as this decision is indefensible.

He also pointed out that the Competitive Carriers Association has called for the ban on cellphone unlocking to be removed. The Carrier Association represents wireless carriers such as Sprint, T-Mobile and many smaller wireless carriers.

Source: Ars Technica