The Digital Fair Repair Act, which had been approved by a resounding majority in both houses of the New York legislature, was finally signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul on April 1. The measure was enacted in June but finally delivered to Hochul’s desk earlier this month; she had until the end of the day on December 28 to either sign it, reject it, or let it become law without her signature.
Right-to-repair advocacy organisations like iFixit have praised the passage of the Digital Fair Repair Act as “precedent-setting” since it is the first right-to-repair measure to pass via a state legislature rather than be imposed by executive order. Companies will be obligated by law to make available to customers the same diagnostic resources, repair instructions, and replacement components that they make available to their own service experts.
The measure as approved by Hochul has even more restrictions and exclusions, although lobbyists and trade organisations for the technology sector, such as TechNet, had already pushed to weaken the legislation throughout its journey through the state assembly.
The rule only applies to items sold in New York after July1,2023, meaning that those who already possess things that may need repairs in the future are exempt. Equipment marketed “business to business” or “business to government” but not directly to consumers is also not included. On the one hand, this is great news for the anti-theft capabilities that Apple and other companies give for stolen phones, but it’s awful news for users who have locked themselves out of their own perfectly usable smartphones because they’ve forgotten their password or can’t find their recovery key.
When “the danger of faulty installation heightens the risk of damage,” it may be preferable for manufacturers to give “assemblies” of components rather than individual pieces. If you needed to replace the screen or battery on your phone, for instance, a corporation might ship you a new screen or battery that also came with a number of wires and other components that you probably wouldn’t need. This might increase the price of repairs, decreasing their attractiveness.
These concessions are in addition to the original bill’s extensive exclusions, which did not apply to things like medical gadgets, automobiles, off-road equipment, or household appliances.
Right-to-repair advocates are pleased with the bill’s passing, but they say it’s not as strong as it might be because of concessions.
An important win for customers and a giant leap for the right to repair movement “Kyle Wiens, founder and CEO of iFixit, penned the company’s manifesto. “My hope is that other states will follow New York’s lead and enact laws comparable to theirs.
Activist Louis Rossmann stated in a video detailing Hochul’s amendments to the measure, “The right-to-repair bill that I’ve spent seven years of my life trying to get approved in my home state got wrecked.” “And it got wrecked in exactly the way that I knew it would… Because it being approved without being contaminated or interfered with would really be beneficial for society, and that’s not something that [the] New York state government is going to let to happen,” the author writes.
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