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Binghamton, NY

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how is the White House "punting"?

My understanding is it's the Librarian of Congress that determines the exemptions. He holds the job until he decides he no longer wants it. President Obama took an oath to uphold Federal Law and has no authority to change the DCMA unless Congress passes new legislation that he can sign.

What can the White House do about this issue, within the boundaries of Executive Authority and the United States Constitution?
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Pittsburgh, PA
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reply to Crookshanks

Re: how is the White House "punting"?

The White House can make a statement and ask someone in Congress to sponsor the bill.

The president can then lobby for changes.

Or he can sack the Librarian of Congress and find someone that is more open to the idea.
"If something about the human body disgusts you, complain to the manufacturer" - Lenny Bruce
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Purcellville, VA
reply to Crookshanks

Re: how is the White House "punting"?

said by Crookshanks:

What can the White House do about this issue, within the boundaries of Executive Authority and the United States Constitution?

For starters, the President as Chief of the Executive Branch could instruct all executive agencies (CIA, FBI, NSA, etc.) to not prosecute any cases against cell phone unlockers for DMCA violations for the present time. He would be well within his rights to do so, and would not be breaking his oath or any laws.

His oath was to uphold the Constitution and our laws; instructing agencies under his control to hold off on prosecuting cases until a later date doesn't mean that the law isn't being enforced; it just means that determination of guilt or innocence for charges related to cell phone unlocking is postponed to a later time.

Secondly, the President does have the authority to grant pardons at his sole discretion. Technically there would be nothing stopping him from announcing that any criminal convictions for DMCA violations will be automatically pardoned as long as he's in office. That, of course, wouldn't stop civil proceedings from being filed - but would keep people out of jail.

Thirdly, the President could use back channel communications to put a stop to this. I'm sure that a number of companies who would file civil suits and push for convictions of cell phone unlockers depend upon relationships with government agencies and "access" for favorable legislation and findings. As Chief of the Executive Branch, the President could issue policy for all agencies that they are to immediately cut all ties with any company that pushes for any prosecution of cell phone unlockers. The loss of "access" and influence would far outweigh the loss that any unlocker could create, thus creating a significant disincentive for companies to push for prosecution.

Were I the President, I'd probably opt for some combination of all 3 of the above.
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Brighton, MA
awesome civics lesson


Cypress, CA
reply to Crookshanks
He actually took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution.
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
That being said I do agree that the president has no authority to legislate or change law. He shouldn't even be suggesting things to congress. His job is to execute the laws that congress passes and act as commander in chief after war has been declared.

Torrance, CA
said by He shouldn't even be suggesting things to congress. [/BQUOTE :

tell that to the other side, they seem to think he is responsible for all the lack of legislation