In the context: After years where the maintainability of electronic devices has been undermined by anti-consumer design decisions and increasingly closed ecosystems of devices and components, things are finally starting to change for consumers. The supporters of Right to Repair, a movement that argues that corporations aren’t the only ones who should have access to information, parts, and repair tools, have just won a major victory.
It’s been a long road, but the movement managed to convince the New York Senate to introduce a new bill and pass it. The bill in question, “Bill S4104A”, was passed by both the Senate and the New York Assembly; the latter’s vote has just ended today with an overwhelming majority of 145 votes in favor and only one against.
So what’s next? As usual, S4104A still needs to be delivered to the governor’s desk, where it will await Kathy Hochul’s signature. Assuming she doesn’t veto the bill (which is unlikely), the Right to Repair movement will have another victory.
You can read the full bill in the New York Senate. Web site. Briefly, however, S4104A requires hardware manufacturers to provide parts, tools, and information needed to repair their various electronic devices to independent repair shops and individual owners. Companies must sell these goods at rates that match the “best” terms they already offer to so-called “authorized service providers.”
In addition, OEMs may not “retaliate or interfere” with any authorized repair provider’s ability to sell parts, tools, or documentation to third party repair shops or individuals. It’s a key part of the bill, and it takes the claws off companies that have historically been aggressive when it comes to punishing ASPs for inappropriate behavior. By “bad behavior” we mean, of course, Any an authorized service provider who dared to sell parts or circuits to third party repair shops under the table.
If you do not live in New York, but somewhere else, do not worry. By adopting this legislation in one state, New York legislators provide access nationwide, if not the world. Because companies are not allowed to retaliate against ASPs for selling parts and tools to third parties, it would be difficult to stop the distribution of these items to other areas.
Ultimately, companies may be forced to choose between trying to stop the global spread of repair needs or simply loosening their grip on the repair market. The latter may prove to be a cheaper alternative in the long run.
We at TechSpot are fans of a good showdown, so we’re glad this bill passed. If that means longer device life, happier consumers, and a thriving third-party device repair ecosystem, what’s not to love?
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