ISRI supports passage of Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act

Congress passes legislation allowing recyclers and refurbishers to “unlock” used cellphones.

July 29, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
Electronics Legislation & Regulations
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, has applauded the July 25, 2014, passage of the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act (S.517/H.R.1123 ), which reinstates the exemption for recyclers and refurbishers to unlock used cellphones in bulk for refurbishment and resale.
The U.S. Senate approved the bill July 15, 2014, while the House of Representatives approved the bill July 25, 2014. The bill needs to be signed by President Obama to take effect.
ISRI says it appreciates the bipartisan leadership of Sen. Leahy and Rep. Goodlatte, who worked together to pass the legislation, which removes the competitive disadvantage to recyclers and refurbishers in the marketplace. Previously, electronics manufacturers and telecommunication carriers wielded the power of copyright to control access to information necessary to unlock, refurbish and resell used technological devices, such as cellphones and tablets, the association notes.
Last October, ISRI’s board of directors approved a cellphone unlocking policy that called for allowing consumers, including recyclers and refurbishers, the right to lawfully unlock technological devices. By allowing bulk unlocking, recyclers and refurbishers say they are able to put valuable and working devices back into the domestic and global marketplace where there is a strong demand, ISRI says. The newly passed legislation is consistent with ISRI’s policy.
“We are very pleased that the legal right for recyclers and refurbishers to bulk unlock cellphones has been restored,” says ISRI President Robin Wiener. “Copyright law should not stand in the way of advances in the legitimate reuse of cell phones and tablets or prevent innovations and competitive uses for such devices.”