Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, is sponsoring a bill that would let mobile phone users unlock their devices in order to switch from one wireless carrier to another.
Goodlatte, who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is joining with senior Democrats on the committee to sponsor the bill.
The legislation also asks the Copyright Office to report on whether similar treatment should be given to other wireless devices.
“This bipartisan legislation is focused on protecting consumer choice,” Goodlatte said. “By restoring the cell phone exemption, the power is put back in the hands of the consumer.”
The bill, H.R. 1123, restores an exemption in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that allowed people to freely unlock their phones once they had fulfilled their contracts. The exemption was allowed to expire for phones purchased after Jan. 26, 2013.