At the last minute, New York managed to smash the first promising law that would give consumers the right to repair their electronics themselves using genuine parts.
The governor of the US state of New York has signed into law the United States’ first “Right To Repair” law, reports The Verge, among others. In the course of this official act, however, the law was changed even after the decision of the Senate a year ago that it is likely to have lost almost all of its effect.
The original text of the law raised high hopes
Electronics manufacturers should be pleased, of course, while advocates of the “right to repair” couldn’t be more disappointed. Originally, it was intended that the law would require suppliers of electronic products and other products to be obliged to make individual components available to their customers for purchase if required.
In addition, the so-called Digital Fair Repair Act stipulated that manufacturers must make manuals, circuit diagrams, and diagnostic tools available to enable customers to repair previously purchased products themselves. But nothing will come of all this. The law was made “toothless” at the last moment.
No more compulsion to sell individual components
Strange as it may seem, the governor signed the law into law in a modified form, making it law, even though the New York State Senate had previously ruled on the original text, which was different. The changes that have now been added ensure that the device manufacturers have all sorts of loopholes and are practically no longer subject to any obligations. The governor’s reasoning apparently comes from the catalog of arguments put forward by industry lobbyists.
According to the amended version, device manufacturers can continue to offer so-called “assemblies”, i.e. component packages. Manufacturers such as Apple or Microsoft can therefore continue to pre-assemble packages from the mainboard, battery, or display and do not have to offer the components separately from each other. Customers would therefore have to purchase the expensive overall package instead of just the component that is really defective.
Governor follows the reasoning of the device manufacturers
In addition, device manufacturers are no longer forced to provide customers with passwords or codes to bypass potential security features intended to prevent repair. Governor Kathy Hochul justifies the changes in the law she has approved with statements that have been used in the same form for years by manufacturers such as Apple when they argue against the possibility of free repairs for their products.
Hochul points out that the changes were necessary to “avoid security problems and physical damage to customers”. Exactly the same thing Microsoft, Apple, and other electronics manufacturers had repeatedly claimed without being able to produce a single piece of evidence for their arguments.
Advocates of the “right to repair”, such as the US YouTuber and repair specialist Louis Rossmann, who has been active in this area for years, understandably lost their heads when faced with such a, albeit not unexpected, turn of events. Hochul managed to get the first law on the “Right To Repair” in the USA lapsed after all after he and others had fought for it for many years.
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