Savings Tips

Illegal to Unlock and Sell Your Phone (US Only)

geckoThis will be old new for some…

I’m selling my unlocked cell phone on eBay where I came across this warning:

Due to a recent change in US law, eBay sellers can no longer sell unlocked cell phones unless they were unlocked by the manufacturer or unlocked prior to January 26, 2013. There are also restrictions on unlocked phones sold before the carrier contract expires.

Turns out, it is now illegal to unlock carrier phones in the US. A bunch of corporations lobbied their interests and made this into a LAW, can you believe it? Unlocking a phone will be considered a violation of copyright law – specifically, subsections concerning circumventing DRM (digital rights management).

I always felt that unlocking phones had a somewhat borderline criminal vibe about it, but then it was MY phone I was hacking, wasn’t it? When it comes down to it, when buying anything with software, we agree to the Terms and Conditions that are never read, and it may turn out that we don’t even own the phone.

Wonder if Canada will pass the same law. And will Craigslist follow Ebay’s example?