Re: Binary Drivers

From: Scott Preece
Date: Tue Dec 26 2006 - 20:30:07 EST

On 12/26/06, David Schwartz <davids@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

You buy a phone for $200. The manufacturer only represents that it works
with CarrierCo. ...

You have the right to do what you like with the phone, of course. It's a
great doorstop and a reasonable paper weight. The manufacturer didn't
promise the phone's configuration wouldn't become obsolete or that you would
be able to change the configuration. Lack of documentation is not an
imposition on your rights, and you had no specific promise of documentation
from the seller.

I have to say, it honestly astonishes me that would people would make
arguments like these. Are we so used to these kinds of one-sided
arrangements that we've lost our common sense?

If the manufacturer knew about the forthcoming configuration change,
you might have a fraud claim. Otherwise it's just bad luck, which
happens sometimes.

I'm not familiar with any situations where the manufacturer locks the
phone. Locks are usually applied by the carrier in return for a
subsidy. Once any contract restrictions are over, you would have the
right to attempt to unlock the phone or to find someone who could do
so. For most phones in the market today, I understand that to be a
relatively easy thing to find. In the US, the Copyright office
recently ruled that there should be an exception to the DMCA so that
circumventing the lock would not be a DMCA violation.

I don't know why you think of this as a particularly unfair situation.
There's at least a chance that the phone might be reconfigurable. The
phone might as easily have been physically unable to work with the new
configuration. If you bought, for instance, an Iridium phone (which
worked only on the Iridium satellite network and had no other useful
function), it became a paperweight when the network ceased operation.
You could sell the device on ebay or attempt to salvage parts of it
for other purposes, but otherwise you're just out of luck.

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