Apple sued over software lock on AT&T iPhones

Apple has become the target of a new lawsuit this weekend. iPhone owners Zach Ward and Thomas Buchar filed a putative class action lawsuit against the company on Friday over the handset’s software lock.

The two plaintiffs are claiming that Apple violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and Digital Millennium Copyright Act by not obtaining customers’ permission to have their iPhones locked to AT&T’s network…

CNET reports:

“The plaintiffs claim that Apple violated the Sherman Act’s prohibition on monopolization by not obtaining consumers’ contractual consent to have their iPhones locked when the tech giant entered into a five-year exclusivity agreement with the wireless carrier in 2007.

To enforce the terms of its agreement, Apple installed software locks on the iPhone that prevented buyers from taking their devices to a competing wireless carrier, the lawsuit claims. That activity violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which includes an exception that allows handset owners to modify their phones for use on the wireless network of their choice, the plaintiffs said.”

Ward and Buchar are seeking monetary damages, as well as an order banning Apple from programming iPhones to prevent consumers from unlocking their SIM cards. They also want Apple to provide unlocks on request.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard controversy over the iPhone being locked to a wireless provider either. In fact, earlier this year, AT&T was pressured to start unlocking off-contract customer’s handsets.

Luckily, unlocking your iPhone isn’t near as difficult as it used to be. As aforementioned, there’s a good chance that AT&T will do it for you. And if not, there’s a number of vendors that’ll do it for cheap.