Copyright Office: Unlocking phones is legal

Last Wednesday, just as many in the U.S. were packing their bags and heading home for a big Thanksgiving meal, the U.S. Copyright Office was hard at work: The Office ruled that consumers can legally unlock their cell phones in order to use them with competing carriers. The ruling is seen as an exemption for cell phone users (the same is not true for other consumer electronics devices, like MP3 players) since the Copyright Office "determined that consumers aren't able to enjoy full legal use of their handsets because of software locks that wireless providers have been placing to control access to phones' underlying programs." Since it's been deemed legal to unlock, does that mean it may become illegal to lock? The gripes of many have finally been answered. I'm interested to see if this decision makes any kind of difference here, especially since carriers are beginning to give, ever so slightly, on early-termination fees.

For more on the Copyright Office's decision:
- see this AP article