RWA filed five petitions in response to the Copyright Office’s  Sixth Triennial Review of exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that allow consumers to unlock their mobile wireless devices. While Congress adopted a law in August that made it legal for subscribers to unlock their wireless telephone handsets, this law was only temporary and only covered wireless telephones, and not other wireless devices such as tablets and smart-watches.

In its petitions, RWA urges the Copyright Office to adopt an exemption that would allow consumers to unlock their wireless devices, including wireless handsets, tablets, wearable devices, air cards and mobile hot spots, so the devices can be used on another carrier’s network.

RWA’s Regulatory Counsel, Tara Shostek explained that, “copyright laws should not stand in the way of a consumer’s use of a legally acquired wireless device on the wireless network of her choice.  Unlocking provides a consumer with the ability to purchase a wireless device, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or smart watch, and use that device on whichever wireless network he or she chooses.  This kind of consumer choice is particularly important in areas where the small rural carrier provides superior wireless services.”