Cell Phone Unlocking, Game Emulators Legalized
The American government, although actively seeking the destruction of file-sharing site AllofMP3, is getting soft on other patent matters. It was recently revealed that the U.S. Copyright Office has OK'd the "unlocking" of cell phones and the use of game emulators. Although they're very different cracks, each had been previously considered illegal.
Cell phone "locking" has been the business of network providers for a long time. Companies build in a chip that prevents the owner from using the network of any other service provider. Breaking this restriction has been termed cell phone "unlocking", and has now been legalized by the otherwise tightly-wound American government. On the flip side, cell phone carriers can still elect to "lock" their devices before shipping them to retailers.
In addition, game emulators have also been given the green light. If you're unfamiliar with the term, emulators allow a user to download a program that masks a PC as an older console, such as an NES, SNES, Genesis, etc. That allows a computer to play many of the games from yesterday, including Blades of Steel, Street Fighter II, and Road Rash. It's been a popular (albeit illegal) way for gamers to reacquaint themselves with old hits from consoles long stashed under stairs or in attics.
The trick? The consoles must no longer be available. Considering how fast previous systems go out of production, that means most anything before the Playstation 2 is good-to-go.