• Press Release

ISRI Calls for a Permanent Exemption for Bulk Unlocking of Mobile Devices

(Washington, DC) – The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), the Voice of the Recycling Industry™, recently submitted comments to the United States Copyright Office, a department of the Library of Congress, supporting a permanent exemption for mobile communications device unlocking as well as broadening the exemption to all types of mobile communication devices allowing lawful owners of these devices to use them with the service provider of their choice. The comments are in response to the Office’s Section 1201 Study, a part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA).

“ISRI does not see any need to limit the types of mobile communication devices that can be lawfully unlocked, since new types of devices through innovation, will continuously enter the market place.” said ISRI president Robin Wiener.

In May of 2015, ISRI testified before the U.S. Copyright Office in support of exempting from liability recyclers who engage in bulk “unlocking” of mobile phones. The testimony was included as part of hearings concerning exemptions to the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA). ISRI focused on the need for recyclers to be able to bulk unlock the devices they legally obtain. ISRI also proposed an exemption that was carefully drafted to avoid exempting traffickers from liability, while at the same time permitting legitimate recyclers who unlock and sell mobile communications devices to consumers.

“In addition, in order for the device-unlocking and other exemptions to be meaningful, the beneficiaries of such exemptions, as well as third parties assisting them, must be permitted to make and offer appropriate circumvention tools to accomplish the permitted, lawful unlocking,” said Wiener. “ISRI therefore supports a permanent exemption for mobile communications device unlocking and a reading of and/or amendment of Section 1201 to permit recyclers and others to rely on the assistance of others, including permitting the lawful manufacture of necessary tools, to exercise the right to lawfully unlock devices granted by the 2015 and future exemptions.”

ISRI’s comments are in line with the ISRI Unlocking Technological Devices Policy, approved by ISRI’s Board of Directors on October 23, 2013.


The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is the Voice of the Recycling Industry. ISRI represents approximately 1,300 companies in 21 chapters in the U.S. and 34 countries worldwide that process, broker and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, DC, ISRI provides education, advocacy, safety and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment, and sustainable development. Generating more than $105 billion annually in U.S. economic activity, the scrap recycling industry provides nearly half a million Americans with good jobs.

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