posted on Jan, 28 2013 @ 10:27 PM
Is it really 'illegal' in the sense that we will be fined and/or jailed or 'illegal' in the sense that your carrier will be able to deny you a
warranty (meaning you'll have to pay for it to be serviced, etc)?
Pre-post edit, I found this midway through this post so wanted to give that answer:
The penalties for unlocking a subsidized wireless phone without carrier consent can be severe. Civil penalties are based on the carrier’s actual
damages and any additional profits of the violator, or a court can award statutory damages of not less than $200 or more than $2,500 per individual
act. Criminal penalties are even more severe: any person convicted of violating section 1201 willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or
private financial gain (1) shall be fined not more than $500,000 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, for the first offense; and (2)
shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both, for any subsequent offense.
Also, remember that most of the time when you get your phone you are getting it under a contract stating you won't unlock it. When you sign that
contract and getting a locked phone you are paying a subsidized price for having it locked, otherwise you can pay more for an unlocked phone. Once you
spend those two years on that contract the carrier (at least AT&T, Verizon apparently will do it at the start of your contract) you can have them
unlock the phone for you. You won't have a price decrease, but you will be able to use that phone on other carriers where the contract price will be
cheaper. When that contract ends on a subsidized phone, that's when it's actually yours and not the carriers (as you're paying it off during the
A simple solution to this law is to buy an unlocked phone, as the reason this is no longer being exempt from DMCA is because unlocked phones are so
easy to come by now. Also it is unfair that people buy the unlocked phones on contract for $200, unlock it for free and then sell it for $600+. You
can still jailbreak your iPhone or do whatever other modding. You just can't unlock it from one carrier to another, unless of course you bought the
phone before the exemption ran out.
Honestly, I can't see anything too terrible with this. You can still do stuff to your phone after you buy it. If it being locked and illegal to
unlock yourself is a problem then go with an unlocked one.
Now if they were going to make jailbreaking illegal, then I'd have a problem with it.