House and Senate Judiciary Committees to Work Together to Restore Consumers Ability to Unlock Cell Phones
Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) announced, in conjunction with Representative Howard Coble (R-N.C.), chairman of the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee and Representative Mel Watt (D-N.C.), ranking member of the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee, that the House and Senate Judiciary Committees will work together to find a solution that would restore consumers ability to unlock their cell phones, in order to switch from one wireless carrier to another. They expect to introduce legislation in the immediate future.
Chairman Goodlatte: “As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I intend to work closely with members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to ensure that cell phone users have the ability and freedom to use their cell phone with the carrier of their choosing.”
Ranking Member Conyers: “It is important that we work on a bipartisan basis to address the issue of cell phone unlocking to provide consumers with greater choices and affordability in this vital marketplace.”
Background: In October 2012, the exemption that permitted consumers to unlock their cell phones without the approval of their wireless provider expired. This change officially took effect on January 26, 2013. The House and Senate Judiciary Committees have jurisdiction over all copyright law including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).