As congress considers legislation to re-legalize cell phone unlocking, iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens argues at Wired.com that we should be allowed to unlock everything we own:
“The issue goes beyond cellphone unlocking, because once we buy an object — any object — we should own it. We should be able to lift the hood, unlock it, modify it, repair it … without asking for permission from the manufacturer.”
Wiens even recognizes that the right to unlock is rooted in property rights:
“This is a property rights issue, and current copyright law gets it backwards, turning regular people — like students, researchers, and small business owners — into criminals.”
Wiens concludes by stating that current proposals don’t go far enough, saying that “Congress must enact meaningful copyright reform.” Or, you know, abolish copyright altogether.
But that’s not going to happen, so any step in the direction of fewer copyright restrictions–no matter how small of a step–is a positive thing.
If congress passes one or more of the cell phone unlocking bills introduced this month, that will be a step in the right direction–even though, as always, much more could be done.