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H.R. 1892 (113th): Unlocking Technology Act of 2013


The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 is a United States proposed bi-partisan bill that aims to allow circumvention of digital rights management as long as there is no intention of copyright infringement. The bill would legalize actions such as cell phone unlocking and creating versions of copyrighted works specifically designed to be accessible to blind (visually impaired) users. Section 2 of the bill would also require the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information of the Department of Commerce to issue a report on the impact of 17 U.S.C. 1201 on consumer choice, competition, and free flow of information. The bipartisan bill introduced by Zoe Lofgren(D-CA) had three cosponsors: Thomas Massie (R-KY), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO).

On 8 May 2013, the bill was assigned to two committees House Judiciary and House Ways and Means. As of December 18, 2013, House Ways and Means had taken no action on the bill. House Judiciary reassigned the bill to the Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet subcommittee which has taken no action on the bill. Since being introduced the bill garnered four more co-sponsors: Peter DeFazio (D-OR4) (joined May 16, 2013), Rush Holt (D-NJ12) (joined May 16, 2013), Steve Israel (D-NY3) (joined Jul 08, 2013), and Sam Farr (D-CA20) (joined Jul 30, 2013).

Numerous organizations have endorsed the bill, including Public Knowledge, Generation Opportunity, R Street, Cascade Policy Institute, Harbour League, and Let Freedom Ring.

On March 24, 2015, the bill was reintroduced as H.R. 1587.

This summary is from Wikipedia.

Last updated Oct 11, 2018. Source: Wikipedia

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.


5/8/2013--Introduced. Unlocking Technology Act of 2013 - Amends the prohibition under federal copyright law on the circumvention of a technological measure that controls access to a copyright-protected work to require that such prohibition apply only to circumventions carried out in order to infringe or facilitate infringement of a protected work.

Declares that it shall not be a violation to: (1) circumvent a technological measure if the purpose is to engage in a use that is not an infringement of federal copyright law; or (2) use, manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part primarily designed or produced to facilitate noninfringing uses of protected works by circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to such work, unless the intent is to infringe or facilitate infringement of a copyright.

Declares that it is not an infringement to copy or adapt the software or firmware of a user-purchased mobile communications device for the sole purpose of enabling the device to connect to a wireless communications network if: (1) the copying or adapting is initiated by, or with the consent of, the owner of that device or the owner's agent; (2) the owner or agent is in legal possession of the device; and (3) the owner has the consent of, or an agreement with, the authorized operator of such wireless communications network to make use of its network. (Thus allowing the "unlocking" of mobile devices without requiring an owner to obtain the consent of the initial carrier network before switching to a new carrier.)

Directs the President to ensure that applicable bilateral and multilateral trade agreements are modified to be consistent with this Act.