Originally Posted by taustin
What forced you to buy those phones? Did someone put a gun to your head? Literally force you to? No. You chose to. You wanted that phone, and what it did, suffiently to accept the terms. So long as the majority of consumers are willing to do so, there is sufficient competition. If enough people refused to play that game, there would be other companies show up with more favorable terms.
So, it isn't monopolistic if you can choose to do without? Problem is, with many things now, it is such an ingrained part of culture that go with out at your own peril. That's why Germany just had a ruling that the internet is considered essential to the modern way of life. Some things you need to have if you want to take part in society. Cell phones can be considered part of that.
Now, the way things are in the US, you're pretty much limited to just a small small select number of devices that are unlocked. For smart phones, excluding foreign imports (which have a whole other mess of legal issues, such as potentially the lack of right of first sale), about your only options are the Nexus phones and select iPhones. And those are both relatively new options (iPhones weren't always available as unlocked, and Nexus phones have only been out for 2 or so years, and had technical carrier restrictions for much of that time). Much of my company is BYOD, but there are restrictions in place on what you can use, for compatibility reasons. So, in my case, the option would be go with the device (and by extension, carrier), my company requires, or find a new job. This ends up being akin to BWinmill's situation. Having an unlocked phone is handy, as if you go out of the country, or are in an area that your particular carrier doesn't cover well, you can pop in a sim card for another carrier that works where you are. Just seems silly that it was perfectly legal for me to unlock the phone I paid for last week, but not now. Part of the reason for the removal of the exemption?
the marketplace has evolved such that there is now a wide array of unlocked phone options available to consumers
Yeah, that's a direct quote from the ruling. I'd like to see where two choices are a "wide array of options".
In other, related funny business due to the DMCA and exemptions, the part of the exemption that wasn't struck down was the ability to unlock your phone's bootloader, aka rooting or jailbreaking. What's bizarre about that, is that only cellphones are exempt. It technically is illegal to root tablets. The reason for this, is the LoC Librarian stated that "tablet" was too vague of a term, so they didn't want to allow just anything to be rooted.
I'm rambling at this point, so I'll just end it for now.