Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Backer of Cellphone Unlocking Petition Sets Sights on Modifying Copyright Act

The man behind the petition to re-legalize unlocking of cellphones now has a broader target: The Digital Millenium Copyright Act itself.

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It’s that law that the Library of Congress used to rule that cellphone unlocking was illegal in the first place, and that’s the law that ultimately needs to be changed, said Sina Khanifar.

Khanifar, whose petition prompted the White House to reexamine the cellphone unlocking issue, said he was pleased at the response his effort generated, but said changing the law itself is his next project.

“While I think this is wonderful, I think the real culprit here is Section 1201 of the DMCA, the controversial ‘anti-circumvention provision,'” Khanifar said in an email interview. “I discussed with the White House the potential of pushing to have that provision amended or removed, and they want to continue that conversation.”

Khanifar, a San Francisco-based entrepreneur and founder of, promised more news on that next effort shortly.

In a post on his personal website, Khanifar said that it was a legal battle with Motorola that prompted his interest in ensuring that consumers have the right to unlock their cellphones.

“Locking cellphones also prevents consumers from freely choosing their cell carrier,” Khanifar wrote. “If you decide to change your network, say from AT&T to T-Mobile, the DMCA regulations mean that unless your carrier agrees to unlock your phone, you’ll need to buy a new device. As a result, manufacturers like Motorola and Apple are keen to keep devices locked so that they can sell more phones.”

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