Right to Repair has gained a lot of attention but didn’t see much legislative progress through the Senate or House in 2016.
However, 5 states including Nebraska, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts and Kansas have announced their intent on addressing potential bills that would require OEM’s such as Apple & Samsung to provide documentation and services to 3rd party repair shops attempting to repair consumers broken devices.
Thankfully, these proposals appear bi-partisan with Republicans and Democrats signing off as Sponsors and Co-Sponsors on the same legislation.
Such bills would strongly encourage consumers to have their device repaired, potentially at a 3rd party shop, instead of dropping hundreds on a new one.
It’s not a done deal though.
So just what exactly is in these bills, how likely are they to pass and when might these new laws go into effect?
If you’re in cell phone repair, the Bills have lots of positive implications should they become law.
All 5 states have similar clauses which is a good indicator that other states will adopt the same principles later down the road.
First off is the Justification for the bill which clearly gets straight to the point in a bold way.
This bill will protect consumers from the monopolistic practices of
digital electronics manufacturers. Manufacturers’ current practices
prohibit the repair services marketplace from thriving. Nothing
prevents third party repairers from being technically competent to
complete digital repairs other than the lack of information being
withheld by manufacturers. This legislation will require manufacturers
to make their non-trade secret diagnostic and repair information
available for sale to third party repairers. It will also require
manufacturers to produce clear contracts on what firmware is legally
owned by the consumer and is retained by the manufacturer. This
distinction is necessary for third party repairers and consumers to
stay properly informed of their ownership rights.
Currently, repair of digital items are intentionally limited by the
manufacturer. Manufacturers will require consumers to pay for repair
services through their repair division or manufacturer-authorized
repairers. The practices by manufacturers essentially create a
monopoly on these repair services. These limited authorized channels
result in inflated, high repair prices and high overturn of electronic
items. Another concern is the large amount of electronic waste created
by the inability to affordably repair broken electronics. Lack of
competition in the digital repair industry creates high costs to
consumers, businesses and government operations. This bill will open
the market of digital repair to competition.
Next is about spare parts availability at reasonable prices.
This section requires manufacturers of digital parts
sold or used in New York to make available manufacturer diagnostic and
repair information and tools for purchase by independent repair
facilities. This section prohibits manufacturers from requiring
independent repair providers to purchase diagnostic information in a
propriety format unless such information is not available in a
standard format. Manufacturers would not be responsible for the
content and functionality of aftermarket diagnostic tools or service.
Service/spare parts also must be made available
Of course, this would most likely lessen the strict control of available parts in the grey market, less seizures would take place and parts would become available through manufactures or authorized 3rd parties.
They move on to indicate that manufactures are required to provide the same documentation, software and technical knowledge as they do their own authorized service providers.
Make available to independent repair facilities or owners of products manufactured by the manufacturer diagnostic and repair information, including repair technical updates, diagnostic software, service access passwords, updates and corrections to firmware, and related documentation, free of charge and in the same manner the manufacturer makes available to its authorized repair providers;
Bi-Partisan Politicians & Lobbyist
The New York State Bill is sponsored (created) by Republican Phil Boyle with 4 Republican and 8 Democrat co-signers.
Massachusetts is sponsored by Democrat Michael Brady.
It’s really positive to see this isn’t one political parties idea and something both sides can agree on.
And why not?
Helping small businesses succeed against monopolistic corporations is good for their local economies and surely holds over well with registered voters.
So what stands in the way of passing this Bill when Politicians are on the same page?
They gum up and slow down any chance these bills have to pass within a legislation session.
We [The Huffington Post] spoke with politicians in two states who support such legislation, and confirmed through government filings that Apple has lobbied on the issue.
And later reported:
It has certainly come to my attention that Apple is opposed to this bill. – Massachusetts Representative Claire D. Cronin, a “right to repair” advocate
Other tech giants such as IBM, Xerox and Cisco have joined in with Apple against Right to Repair initiatives.
TechEye hit the nail in the head.
The Corporate oligarchs who have rule the US since the country revolted against its lawful constitutional monarch, oppose right to repair legislation because it would relax their total control over their products.
Getting the Bill Passed
They all have a ways to go.
All 5 states besides New York State have their bills in the very first “Introduced” stage while New York State’s Bill is only through the second stage of “In Committee”.
Fact check: ~86% of Bills die after being introduced and only ~3.3% make it all the way through to become laws.
Those that do make it through average ~215 days to pass into law.
Thankfully this time around the proposed Bills include specifics that minimize the broad interpretations Lobbyist use to defend their stance.
Sub-Section 6. Excludes motor vehicle manufacturers and motor vehicle dealers
Sub-Section 3. This legislation does not require the disclosure of
This will defiantly help as Apple’s main argument concerns unauthorized access to proprietary information via iOS software.
They give the argument about intellectual property concerns,” Boyle told HuffPost. “To me, it’s not the strongest argument. It’s more about dollars and cents to me. It would cost them a lot of money in repair work.
The good news is States like New York haven’t given up and were the first to reintroduced the Bill for 2017. Awareness from the previous session won’t be forgotten and are likely to expedite the process.
They threw enough doubt into the minds of legislators that Fair Repair was not put out for a vote,” Gordon-Byrne told HuffPost in an email, referring to the legislation by its title, the “Fair Repair Act.” “Four companies against 19 million [New York] consumers.
To me, it’s a good indicator that politicians are actually sincere about progressing the Bill instead of making it a one-hit-wonder to please outside constituents.
Overall, a victory in any State would greatly help those other States with similar Bills and motivate States with no Bill proposed to jump on the bandwagon.
More states = more chances of overall victory.
As reported by Motherboard
It just takes one state, then the rest will fall like dominoes, – Gordon-Byrne , Executive Director of Repair.org
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