Yesterday we told you about the software unlocking of the iPhone performed by two different companies. One of them, Uniquephones.com, was to go live with its solution today on its www.iphoneunlocking.com site. However, after a threatening call from an AT&T lawyer, they have delayed the release.
The man informed McLaughlin that if he posted the unlock code, he could
be sued for copyright infringement and for dissemination of Apple's
intellectual property (IP).
McLaughlin is concerned that fighting a lawsuit with AT&T or
Apple would sink his small company, which does a modestly successful
business unlocking wireless handsets in the U.K. and Europe.
really annoys me," he said. "We have the solution sitting there and we
have the customers there, but if you connect the two you could lose everything."
There's an exemption in the DMCA that allows unlocking of phones. It exempts:
"Computer programs in the form of firmware that enable wireless telephone handsets to connect to a wireless telephone communication network, when circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network."
In English: as long as the locks are bypassed so that you can legally connect to a cellular network (i.e., you aren't doing it to get free service), it's fine. So it doesn't seem like AT&T has much of a case. That said, they are huge, and they could bleed Uniquephones.com dry.