Originally Posted by pdurrant
Perhaps companies should only offer subsidised phones with a lengthy contract with substantial penalty clauses for early termination. Simple contract law can cover this situation perfectly well, without tying phones to a single network when there are no technical limitations.
Problem is, contract law can't always cover the situation. If the law says that you can unlock your phone, a contract to the contrary may not be enforceable, in the same way that a contract can't supersede fair use under copyright law, like the first sale doctrine. Until a few days ago, the law (as interpreted by the Library of Congress) said you could unlock your phone, whether the contract allowed it or not. The only way around that would have been a real lease, where it is spelled out that you are not the owner of the phone. And nobody is going to do that on a personal phone.