The US state of New York has passed right-to-repair legislation that broadly refers to ‘digital electronic products’. For this, tools, parts and instructions must be made available to consumers and independent repairers.
New York is according to The Verge the first US state to enact a right-to-repair law so broadly applicable to electronics. Other states came up with the same laws, but focused on cars or electric wheelchairs. The obligation applies to any manufacturer who sells goods in the state.
The legislation is partly thanks to President Joe Biden, who last year issued an executive order to the FTC to write new rules to address repair restrictions that tech companies impose on third parties.
Although the law applies in a state far away, its effect may still be felt here. The main impact will be in the area of repair manuals. These will no doubt be made available in digital form in the state, after which it will be child’s play to distribute them all over the world. The only alternative for companies against the call of duty is to stop selling their goods in New York, which has a population of nearly 20 million.
Another potential global advantage is that the law contains a provision on facilitating the undoing of the software binding between, for example, a motherboard and a smartphone screen. This is also seen as ‘DRM on parts’. These tools may also find their way outside of New York. However, Europe will not be completely dependent on New York: the European Parliament has also been pushing for a right-to-repair for some time.
The legislation is not yet definitively valid. The New York Senate has passed the bill and now it’s up to Governor Kathy Hochul to sign it, which she says. according to iFixit ‘expected to do’. One year after that signature is signed, the law is then officially in force.
Exceptions to the legislation are household appliances, medical equipment, ‘public safety equipment’ such as police radios, agricultural equipment and ‘off-road equipment’.
Samsung Galaxy S22 (source: iFixit)