Zoe Lofgren

From the office of:

Zoe Lofgren


From: The Honorable Zoe Lofgren
Sent By:

Bill: H.R. 1123
Date: 2/25/2014

Join Reps. Lofgren, Eshoo, Massie & Polis in Bipartisan Opposition to the Unlocking Consumer Choice Act (HR 1123)

Dear Colleague:
We are writing to urge you to vote against the Unlocking Consumer Choice Act (H.R.1123) on the suspension calendar this week.
We very much support allowing consumers to unlock their wireless devices, enabling them to use their device on any wireless service they choose. But because of an agreement between the FCC and wireless service providers made last December, current wireless
device owners are already allowed to unlock their cell phones or tablets after their contracts have expired.
After this bill was marked up and reported out of committee, a new section was added to the bill without notice to or consultation with us. As a consequence of this late added provision, both the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge have withdrawn
support for the bill.
The new provision could have negative effects on consumer choice and could undercut an important court decision that protects consumer choice and prevents monopolistic practices. We cannot in good conscience support a bill that risks giving up so much for
so little gain.
In his concurring opinion in Lexmark v. Static Control Components, Judge Merritt wrote: “We should make clear that in the future companies like Lexmark
cannot use the DMCA in conjunction with copyright law to create monopolies of manufactured goods for themselves…” The court’s holding prevented Lexmark from using dubious copyright claims and an overbroad reading of 17 USC 1201–the same
section the Unlocking Consumer Choice Act alters–to prevent third-parties from creating competing printer ink cartridges. The issue is similar here.
Congress should work to roll back abusive practices that use copyright law to prevent owners from having control over the devices they lawfully own. What it means to “own” a device that has been purchased is what’s at stake here. The new addition to the
bill puts the effort to stand up for the property rights of the owners of technology devices at risk.
It is sad that the bipartisan consensus reached during mark-up in the Judiciary committee to improve the law has been destroyed by a secret decision of the majority after the bill was reported out.
We urge a no vote on the Unlocking Consumer Choice Act (H.R.1123) so that, in the future, we can develop consensus for legislation that provides real protection for consumers, promotes competition, and unlocks innovation.
Zoe Lofgren                Anna G. Eshoo           Thomas Massie            Jared Polis
Member of Congress   Member of Congress   Member of Congress   Member of Congress