If you have been following the saga, or rather crusade, against DMCA for the last month or so, you are likely aware that there was a petition started on “We the People” site. The aim of the petition is to get the US Government to notice and take action against the removal of the DMCA exemption protecting people who wanted to SIM unlock their GSM-enabled devices. Late last week, we pushed a second article on the issue, which presented some details regarding the originator of the petition and a somewhat unlikely ally who joined the cause. By the time the aforementioned article was published, there were about 60,000 signatures on the petition, which had stalled for a few weeks (in terms of number of signatures per day). Looks like the second article as well as support by many, many, many other tech news outlets (including PocketNow, PC Mag, AppleInsider, and several others), gave the final boost to the petition, which in all honesty, did not seem like it was going to make it before the February 23rd deadline. As of 7:36 am on Feb 21st, the petition had broken the 100,000 signature requirement.
The petition, as of the time of this article has a grand total of 104,659 signatures without any signs of this trend slowing down any time soon. It looks like many people simply woke up and decided to support the cause, regardless of their beliefs on whether these petitions are useful or not. The biggest question in everyone’s mind right now is likely now what? Well, the White House will have to look at the petition itself and acknowledge its existence (for starters). After that, the case will be reviewed and a decision will be made on whether the House will take action and request for the Librarian of Congress to put the exemption back in or not. Since we are talking about government, it is very likely that it will not be a speedy process. Having said that, the Government is obligated to respond and provide a resolution to the concern, whether the outcome is positive or negative.
Everyone’s efforts need not stop here. There are more things that you can do as a constituent. For instance, you can reach your House representative and bring this problem forward. Now, you have a petition with well over 100,000 signatures backing you up (so you do not sound like a whiny kid who had his toys taken away). This is bound to catch the eye of most politicians and put it as a talking point in their to-do lists. Also, Sina Khanifar has created a small site to support the cause without being limited by a deadline on a petition. The waiting game now begins, but luckily this has had major support from the vast majority of tech sites, so if nothing else it shows that we are not alone in our insanity.
Will this work? We don’t really know. Many go on the defensive stating that this has not worked in the past and is sure to fail yet again. Others go on to insult people telling them essentially that they are wasting their time. However, you cannot help but to wonder what if it does work? The Government will have to look at it, so your odds of the issue not being ignored have gone up exponentially. At this point, we can only hope that someone, somewhere in Washington looks at what is going on, and after analyzing the entire thing with the points of view provided by pretty much the entire tech world has a single reaction…. what the **** were we thinking?
So, to all those people who have nothing better to do but to criticize the proactive actions of a few that are being carried out to protect YOUR rights: Please, stop wasting our precious oxygen.
Thank you for reading.
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