YouTube home #DearMe


Should You Go to Jail for Unlocking Your Phone?





The interactive transcript could not be loaded.



Rating is available when the video has been rented.
This feature is not available right now. Please try again later.
Published on Feb 21, 2013

"Who owns your phone at the end of the day?" asks Derek Khanna, a visiting fellow at Yale Law and former staff member at the Republican Study Committee.

Last fall, Khanna earned notoriety - and a pink slip - for a public memo urging GOP members of Congress to rethink their stance on copyright law.

More recently, in a column for The Atlantic, Khanna blasted a new ruling that criminalizes the unlocking of cellphones under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). Unlocking the phone simply means that a person could use a phone designed for one carrier on another carrier, assuming they had switched his plan. In addition to civil penalties, breaking this law could land you in prison for up to five years and force you to pay a fine of up to $500,000.

"In 1998 a poorly written statute, the DMCA, was passed and it prohibited a wide swath of commonly used technology in the name of defending copyright," Khanna explains. "If this is allowed to stand, then the answer is you don't own your phone."

A White House petition to change the law recently reached the 100,000 signature threshold, which means the Obama administration will have to give an opinion on the matter.

Khanna sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie to discuss the unlocking your cellphone, the flaws in the DMCA, and why he was fired from the Republican Study Committee after writing a paper condemning current copyright law.

Derek Khanna on Twitter:
Nick Gillespie on Twitter:

About 17 minutes.

Shot by Amanda Winkler and Meredith Bragg. Produced by Bragg.

Visit for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube channel to receive automatic updates when new material goes live.


Uploads from ReasonTV

  1. 591

    "I Can't Take the Loss of Liberty" or, How to Radicalize a Suburban Mom

  2. 592

    CPAC: Rand Paul, Libertarians Rising

  3. 593

    Thank God for Pope Francis - and Budget Gridlock!

  4. 594

    Matt Ridley on How Fossil Fuels are Greening the Planet

  5. 595

    How To Save America's Zoos: Privatize Them

  6. 596

    Is Homeschooling a Universal Human Right?

  7. 597

    How to Build Infrastructure During an Age of Sequester: Reason Foundation's Robert W. Poole

  8. 598

    Judge Alex Kozinski: From Communist Romania to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

  9. 599

    #StandWithRand: Rand Paul, Barack Obama, Drones, and Presidential Kill Lists

  10. 600

    Implementing Pot Legalization in Colorado and Washington

  11. 601

    Amateur Beats Gov't at Digitizing Newspapers: Tom Tryniski's Weird, Wonderful Website

  12. 602

    Hollywood meets Wall Street: Author William Stadiem talks Moneywood

  13. 603

    Why Obama's Crackdown on Medicare and Medicaid Fraud Will Fail

  14. 604

    Ron Paul Banned from DC! Roommates Banned in NY! (Nanny of the Month, Feb '13)

  15. 605

    Justin Amash: Any Sequester Alternative Must Cut at Least as Much

  16. 606

    5 Sequester Facts to Know Before Committing Suicide

  17. 607

    It's Hard to Gross Out a Libertarian: Jonathan Haidt on Sex, Politics, and Disgust

  18. 608

    Crony Capitalists vs. Value Makers: Q&A w Max Borders

  19. 609

    Loving Hayek and Partying with Milk: Q&A with Dorian Electra

  20. 610

    Cutting Back City Hall: Reason Foundation's Adrian Moore and Julian Morris

  21. 611

    Former Gov. Ben Cayetano on Hawaii's Fiscal Mess and Stupid Rail Plan

  22. Should You Go to Jail for Unlocking Your Phone?

  23. 613

    How Patent Trolls Kill Innovation

  24. 614

    Can California Survive?: Reason's Carl DeMaio and Adrian Moore

  25. 615

    Weed Country: Pot Grower Mike Boutin on Discovery Channel's Newest Reality Show

  26. 616

    3 Reasons to Build the Keystone XL Pipeline

  27. 617

    Wendy McElroy on The Art of Being Free

  28. 618

    Would Hayek Have Approved Obamacare?

  29. 619

    The Problem with E-Verify - The ACLU's Chris Calabrese on Immigration Reform

  30. 620

    Why America Should Default and You Should Live Abroad: Q&A with Doug Casey

  31. 621

    Marc Randazza on Steubenville Rape, Defamation, and the Limits to Free Speech

  32. 622

    School Choice with Reason's Lisa Snell

  33. 623

    LAPD Had "No Idea" Who They Were Shooting At In Dorner Pursuit, Says Victims' Attorney

  34. 624

    Drugs, Guns, and the Fiscal Cliff: Emily Ekins on New Reason-Rupe Poll

  35. 625

    LA's New Crack Epidemic: Sidewalks

  36. 626

    Sex and Punishment: Eric Berkowitz Talks 4,000 Years of Judging Desire

  37. 627

    Three Flushes for American Capitalism!

  38. 628

    The Plight of the Alpha Female: Kay Hymowitz

  39. 629

    National School Choice Week Lights Up Chicago

  40. 630

    Gov. Scott Walker Welcomes National School Choice Week to Wisconsin

  41. 631

    Prison for Smokers, Permits for Strippers! (Nanny of the Month, Jan '13)

  42. 632

    Ai Weiwei's First Major U.S. Show Has Everything but the Dissident Artist Himself

  43. 633

    Can Medical Tourism Save Us From Obamacare?

  44. 634

    Jonas Brothers Headline National School Choice Week 2013

  45. 635

    Lewis Lapham on Legalizing Drugs, Hating the Facebook, and Curating the Past at Lapham's Quarterly

  46. 636

    National School Choice Week 2013 Kicks Off in Los Angeles

  47. 637

    Two Cheers for the Coming Collapse of the U.S. Economy!

  48. 638

    Sex, Violence & Satan: 6 Unbelievably Dumb Congressional Hearings

  49. 639

    Andrew Campanella on National School Choice Week 2013

  50. 640

    "FEMA Won't Let Us Rebuild Our Home"

  51. 641

    Fitness Crackdown: Santa Monica Gets Tough On Trainers

  52. 642

    "Blowhards Chronicling Blowhards" - Mediaite's Andrew Kirell and Noah Rothman

  53. 643

    Obama Inaugural Rewind: Rhetoric vs Reality

  54. 644

    Nassim Taleb Talks Antifragile, Libertarianism, and Capitalism's Genius for Failure

  55. 645

    3D Printing and the Future of Shopping: Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen

  56. 646

    Feds Hounded 'Net Activist Aaron Swartz, Says EFF's Parker Higgins

  57. 647

    The War on Fast Food: Can a D.C. Suburb Fight Fat with Zoning?

  58. 648

    Gay Marriage, Drunk Driving, and Property Rights: 3 Supreme Court Cases to Watch in 2013

  59. 649

    Q&A: Eyal Press on Beautiful Souls, Nonconformists Who Stand Up to Power

  60. 650

    Information Liberated: Jeffrey Tucker on How Digital Media Subverts Government Power

  61. 651

    The Problem with Hurricane Sandy Aid

  62. 652

    5 Facts About Guns, Schools, & Violence

  63. 653

    Joe Kennedy: Not a Bootlegger or a Nazi, But a Hardcore Non-Interventionist

  64. 654

    Awesome at 85: Block Island's Mary Donnelly and the Power of Private Charity

  65. 655

    Feds Sentence Aaron Sandusky to 10 Years for Medical Marijuana

  66. 656

    Lanny Ebenstein: The Indispensable Milton Friedman

  67. 657

    Ying Ma on Life Under Mao and China's Economic Miracle

  68. 658

    38 Studios: Curt Schilling's Crony Capitalism Debacle

  69. 659

    Sex, Lies, Jazz: Feb. Reason Preview w Matt Welch and Kennedy

  70. 660

    Craig Whitney on Living With Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment

  71. 661

    I, Tomato: Morning Star's Radical Approach to Management

  72. 662

    Busting Bikinis and the Cop Who Wants to Fine Cursing! (Nanny of the Year 2012)

  73. 663

    Check out Reason's New LA Headquarters!

  74. 664

    Remy: I Saw Daddy Pat Down Santa Claus (A Very TSA Christmas Song)

  75. 665

    The Fall Of Tam's #6: How LA Regulated A Burger Stand Out of Existence

  76. 666

    Grover Norquist on Fiscal Cliff, Tax Pledges, & Being the GOP's "Rasputin"

  77. 667

    How Indianapolis Fixed Its Parking Problems

  78. 668

    The Best and Worst Christmas Films (Libertarian Edition)

  79. 669

    A Great Year For Pot, Freedom, and Ending the Drug War: Q&A with MPP's Rob Kampia

  80. 670

    Marijuana Is Legal in Colorado...Now What?

  81. 671

    Why Copyright Law is so Mickey Mouse - And How to Fix It: Q&A with Jerry Brito

  82. 672

    Judge Napolitano: How Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson Destroyed Constitutional Freedom

  83. 673

    Can an Undocumented Immigrant Become a U.S. Lawyer? California High Court Will Decide

  84. 674

    How Dewey Bartlett Balanced Tulsa's Budget without Raising Taxes

  85. 675

    James Payne on Six Political Illusions

  86. 676

    Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard: Making City Government Work

  87. 677

    Guns, Football, Macho Culture Didn't Kill Jovan Belcher's Girlfriend. Jovan Belcher Did.

  88. 678

    Censorship and "Unlearning Liberty" at College: Q&A with FIRE's Greg Lukianoff

  89. 679

    Reason Webathon 2012 w Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch, Kennedy, and more!

  90. 680

    Meet Congress' Favorite Bootlegger: Prohibition, Hypocrisy, and "The Man in the Green Hat"

  91. 681

    Reason Mag Preview w Matt Welch & Kennedy: APOCALYPSE 2013!

  92. 682

    "I escaped a North Korean prison camp" - Shin Dong-hyuk's Survivor Story

  93. 683

    LP Candidate Bruce Majors vs. D.C.'s One-Party System

  94. 684

    Texas Schools Track Students with RFID Chips! (Nanny of the Month, Nov '12)

  95. 685

    1000 Wrongfully Convicted and Counting: New Registry Checks Justice System's Power

  96. 686

    "The idea that you could openly sell things that help women achieve orgasm is pretty new."

  97. 687

    David Friedman on How to Privatize Everything

  98. 688

    The Future of Financing the Arts: An Interview with Adam Huttler of Fractured Atlas

  99. 689

    3 Reasons to Kill The Dept. of Homeland Security: It's Unnecessary, Inefficient, & Expensive.

to add this to Watch Later

Add to