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Unlocking New Cell Phones After Tomorrow Will Be Illegal

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Unlocking any new phones without your carrier’s permission will be illegal after tomorrow. The ruling came from the Librarian of Congress on October 28, 2012: 

Computer programs, in the form of firmware or software, that enable a wireless telephone handset originally acquired from the operator of a wireless telecommunications network or retailer no later than ninety days after the effective date of this exemption to connect to a different wireless telecommunications network, if the operator of the wireless communications network to which the handset is locked has failed to unlock it within a reasonable period of time following a request by the owner of the wireless telephone handset, and when circumvention is initiated by the owner, an individual consumer, who is also the owner of the copy of the computer program in such wireless telephone handset, solely in order to connect to a different wireless telecommunications network, and such access to the network is authorized by the operator of the network.

Carriers like Verizon offers iPhones already unlocked and AT&T unlocks smart phones at the end of a contract. The decision would most likely hinder companies like T-Mobile whose promotions include “bring in your own device.” Obviously this new law has plenty of opponents, there’s already a White House petition with thousands of signatures.

The same decision also makes it illegal for you to jailbreak your iPad, but not your iPhone. Confused yet? These “exemptions” are all under the Library of Congress’s authority per the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) passed in 2008. Since then, the Library has been “granting” exemptions to users of copyrighted products from eBooks to DVDs. Until the ruling on October 20, 2012, unlocking cell phones was allowed.

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Key Milestones In Social Media Law [Infographic]


It’s the Wild West out here on the Internet.  While individual social media companies face lawsuits over copyrights, privacy and antitrust violations, Washington debates bills like SOPA and PIPA to help redefine the law for the Digital Age. This infographic from the Socially Aware blog examines the key moments that led us to what can only be described as a hot, electrically-charged mess.

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Is YouTube Right To Take Down Hitler Parodies?

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Hitler YouTubeIn honor of Hitler’s birthday yesterday, news spread on the Internet that YouTube has started taking down Hitler parody videos. Constantin Film, makers of the 2004 film Downfall, have requested that YouTube remove all videos using clips from their film and YouTube is doing just that. Since the film’s release six years ago there have been literally hundreds of parodies uploaded, with creators re-subtitling scenes of the film. Popular clips include ‘Hitler Responds to the iPad‘ and ‘Hitler Reacts to the Kanye West Incident at the VMAs‘. The end of an era is approaching as YouTube takes these videos down.
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