Bill introduced into Congress to amend the DMCA

After the White House came out in favor of unlocking mobile phones in the US, there were some halfhearted attempts in Congress to bring this about.  But the main problem is a section within the DMCA which prevents removal of any type of encryption.  Four members of the House are taking the DMCA on head first.  Representatives Zoe Lofgren, Thomas Massie, Anna Eshoo, and Jared Polis propose to rework this section of the DMCA entirely.

The bill they are backing is called the Unlocking Technology Act of 2013.   Their basic premise is that if you are circumventing a digital lock, and are not engaging in copyright infringement, you will be allowed to bypass such barriers legally.  In their words:

It shall not be a violation of this section to circumvent a technological measure in connection with a work protected under this title if the purpose of such circumvention is to engage in a use that is not an infringement of copyright under this title.

Circumvention tools would be allowed if this bill becomes law.  But only if their primary use is clearly meant for non-infringement of copyright protected materials.

The bill as written has backers from both parties, which is rare in this day and age, but if ever a bill was necessary to undo the mess made by an earlier law, this is it.  I suspect the MPAA and RIAA will weigh in heavily to derail it, but for the time being, a bit of sanity has broken the surface in the US Congress.

You can read quite a bit more on the details of the bill at Techdirt.

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