All the salacious headlines are (mostly) true — as of today, you can’t unlock a carrier-subsidized smartphone on your own before the contract associated with it runs out without technically running afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Granted, I’d wager that the number of people who faithfully stick to their multi-year wireless contracts far exceeds the number of people who would unlock their phones and bail, but this is still a damned lousy turn of events for all you proponents of phone freedom out there (myself included).
But how did this actually happen? To more clearly understand the change that went into effect today, we have to flash back to the heady days of 2010.
In late July of that year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced on its blog that it had won three big exemptions to the DMCA. One of them dealt with the legality of using copyrighted…
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