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Cellphone Unlock Proponent Moves Forward With Attack Against DMCA

Sina Khanifar, who earlier this week managed to get the White House behind his effort to re-legalize cellphone unlocking, has formally launched his push to reform the Digital Millenium Copyright Act itself.

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Khanifar said Wednesday that he has launched FixTheDMCA.org with a number of high-profile supporters, including Firefox creator Mozilla, Reddit, Y Combinator and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

More than 30 tech companies are already behind the effort, Khanifar said, with more expected in the coming days.

“The site helps people directly contact their representatives about the DMCA through multiple channels,” Khanifar said in an email. “Since there’s a lot of talk in DC about bills that would fix the unlocking issue, we want to move the conversation towards discussing and taking action on the source of the problems, and not simply address one of the symptoms.”

It was the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and specifically its anti-circumvention provision, that the Library of Congress used in determining that cellphone unlocking should be considered illegal.

However, in taking on the DMCA, Khanifar is likely to face some powerful opponents. Although the law’s critics are many, so, too, are its backers, which number among them content creators of all stripes, including Hollywood and the music industry.

As for the new website, Khanifar said it was built in just 72 hours with limited connectivity and only 10 hours of sleep while he was taking part in the StartupBus trip from San Francisco to SXSW in Austin.

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