House panel to take up cellphone unlocking bill

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The decision was based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which bans people from circumventing a "technological measure" to gain access to a copyrighted work. 

The library's decision to ban cellphone unlocking sparked an outcry from consumer advocates, and more than 114,000 people signed an online White House petition opposing the ban. 

Supporters of cellphone unlocking argue that consumers should not have to buy a new phone if they want to switch carriers. They argue that legalizing the practice would boost competition and provide more choices for consumers. 

The cellphone industry argues that many phones already come unlocked.

Goodlatte's bill, which is co-sponsored by subcommittee Chairman Howard Coble (R-N.C.) and ranking member Mel Watt (D-N.C.), would overturn the library's decision but would not amend the underlying copyright law. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has introduced companion legislation in the upper chamber.  

Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) have sponsored a more aggressive bill that would amend the DMCA to permanently legalize cellphone unlocking.