New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Digital Fair Repair Act into law on December 28, 2022, and the law goes into effect on July 1, 2023 — a full year after it was originally passed by the New York State legislature. The bill provides that consumers and independent repairers have the right to obtain manuals, schematics, diagnostics and parts from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to repair their own devices. However, the bill was meaningfully compromised at the last minute by amendments that give OEMs some useful exceptions and loopholes to get out of the obligations many right-to-repair advocates had hoped for.
One of the most controversial changes in the signed law is that it allows OEMs to sell assemblies of parts rather than individual components if they choose. The bill also doesn’t require OEMs to provide “passwords, security codes, or materials” to bypass security features, which are sometimes necessary to salvage a locked but otherwise functionally fine device.
Hochul claims in her signed memorandum that the bill was amended to reduce the risk of bodily harm or security issues while making repairs, an amendment Rossman calls “nonsense” and is expected to be abused by manufacturers to destroy the spirit of the bill. bypass the bill.
The bill casts a wide net on the suitability of protected devices, using the term “digital electronic equipment.” However, it completely exempts certain industries, including home appliances, motor vehicles, medical devices, and off-road equipment. It also exempts business devices that schools, hospitals and data centers rely on, writes iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens in a statement on the company’s blog.
Another major amendment referenced in the governor’s memorandum includes which historic devices are covered by the law — or the complete lack thereof. The memo states that July 1, 2023 is the date on which devices “first manufactured and first sold or used in New York” are eligible for coverage, implying that the right to repair protection does not apply to anything . made before the effective date of the invoice. We still need to see the full text of the final amended bill for full analysis.
Still, many supporters of the bill are celebrating after years of fighting to get legislation passed. Nathan Proctor, senior right-to-repair campaign manager at the US Public Interest Research Group, shared in a statement:
“I’ve pushed for reparation reform in dozens of states, and I’ve been told by industry lobbyists that we’ll never see a vote on the floor, we’ll never pass a bill, a governor will never sign it. And while it’s not everything we wanted, it’s the first of its kind in the country and just the beginning.”