New York Congressman Introduces Federal Right to Redress Bill • The Register
A member of Congress from New York introduced a federal right to redress bill, just a week after the state Senate passed a bill addressing the same issue. This state bill has not progressed, it should be noted.
Proposed federal legislation, however, would require original equipment manufacturers to provide consumers and independent businesses with access to the tools, diagrams and parts needed to repair broken devices.
Dubbed the Fair Repair Act and proposed by House Representative Joe Morelle (D-NY), the bill would provide an equal basis for all consumers and independent repair shops. While great strides have been made in pushing similar legislation to the state level, with bills introduced or passed in 27 states alone this year, the progress has not been equally divided.
In a statement, Congressman Morelle said: “For too long, big business has hampered the progress of small business owners and ordinary Americans by denying them the right to repair their own equipment.
“This common sense legislation will help make technological repairs more accessible and affordable for items ranging from cell phones and laptops to farm equipment, finally giving people the autonomy they deserve.”
If passed, the bill would empower the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the rules, either through financial penalties or by reforming existing contracts. The same powers would also be granted to state prosecutors.
Unlike other bills passed previously, this would extend to all varieties of electronic devices. By contrast, the Massachusetts Right to Repair Bill passed by referendum in 2020 was limited to cars.
The bill has been well received by advocacy groups. Kerry Sheehan, Head of US Policy at iFixit, said, “Big tech companies shouldn’t be able to dictate how we use the things we own or prevent us from fixing our things. We congratulate Representative Joe Morelle for taking up the fight for the right to redress. in Congress and for standing up for consumers, farmers and independent repair shops across the country. “
Kit Walsh, Senior Counsel and Deputy Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, added, “This important bill will help Americans keep our technology in good shape and will help small repair companies compete on a level playing field with manufacturers. ‘devices. Ultimately, that means better quality. appliance repairs for lower prices, less environmental waste and a safer Internet of Things.
“The bill is also important because it recognizes that device owners have rights, that you are allowed to understand and repair your devices even though the manufacturer would prefer them to be the only one.”
It will likely face fierce competition from industry groups, who have fought hard against similar initiatives at the state level. Groups like TechNet (not to be confused with the old Microsoft IT support forums) and the Consumer Technology Association have repeatedly touted the right to repair as a weakening of intellectual property rights and a risk to security and safety. consumer privacy. In addition, the proposed law must remove all obstacles in the House and the Senate.
According to OpenSecrets.org, TechNet spent $ 270,000 on lobbying efforts in 2019. The Consumer Technology Association spent $ 4.93 million in 2018. ®